To many fans when you mention B – Movies the name Roger Corman comes to mind. Since the 1950’s Corman has been a mainstay in the art of B – Movies and has entertained the masses with movies as diverse as Valley Of The Dolls, Death Race 2000 and Battle Beyond The Stars and many more.
It seems that there is no end to the style and genre of film that Corman will take on, and in recent years he’s been focused on Monster Movies for the Syfy Channel, a journey which started for both him and his wife Julie Corman with the 2004 movie Dinocroc, which broke ratings ‘records for Syfy Channel.
In a recent phone conference, SciFiPulse.net along with other media websites, which included Monsters and Critics and Media Boulevard a got to grill the Corman’s about this movie and many other things to boot.
Since that 2004 launch of Dinocroc, the Corman’s have gone on to do two other Monster movies, the latest of which, Dinocrock Vs. Supergator, will air tonight in the USA on Syfy Channel. When asked to explain the difference between the latest movie and those that came before, Corman revealed that they were able to do more with this one because of a somewhat bigger budget.
“We built up the creatures, the Dinocroc and the Supergator. We had a certain amount of special effects. I’ve forgotten the exact number in both Dinocroc and Supergator.
“And we increased the number of special effects by about 50% on this picture, because we had not only the individual creatures we had the epic clash between the creatures at the end of the picture.”
When it comes to ideas for their Science Fiction/Horror movies, Julie Corman explained that these projects are often developed via a collaboration between herself and Roger, who always toss ideas back and forth.
“Sometimes it can start with a location, so – on the case of Dinoshark, we had this great location that the – in Puerto Vallarta where we had been for a film festival and began to talk about doing a movie there and it worked out really well.
“Syfy seems to know their audience very well and their audience likes Roger Corman movies, monsters. And one thing has led to another, but basically, they’re in the, you know, coming out of Roger’s mind, basically, I would say.”
When asked for a favourite monster from all his cinematic creations, Corman gave Monsters and Critics the lowdown on his favourite creations past and present.
“I would go with ‘Dinocroc’ of the current films. Going back – because it was the first and to us the most original of the last few films we’ve done. Going back in time, however, I might pick ‘Piranha’, (unintelligible) Dante directed and was a solid success for us and also maybe ‘Humanoids from the Deep’.”
With a little prompting by wife and creative partner Julie Corman. Roger also added Crab Monster to the list.
“Oh, ‘Crab Monsters’, which I shot when I first started. I was on a ten-day schedule and on a budget of $70,000 and we had a lot of trouble because the waves were trying to break up the crab monster as we were trying to shoot it.”
When talking about B – Movies in general, Corman feels that they will always have their place as a form of light entertainment and antidote to the heaviness of life, and says that pretty much every movie he has been involved with has usually been relevant in some way to the time it was made.
“I think any work of creativity reflects the culture in which it’s made. And I started in the late 1950s and you’re right, the Cold War influenced much of what we were doing, particularly say, in creature or monster pictures it was always a result of atomic radiation.
“We move to today and now we’re talking about genetic engineering as the basis of the creature. In other words, we react to the world around us.”
In recent years, a few of Roger Corman’s movies have been adapted to comic books by a company called Bluewater Productions, who are based in Washington. To date, this company has done comic book adaptations of Black Scorpion and has done a comic prequel to Battle Beyond The Stars, which is titled Battle Amongst The Stars.
When asked if he’d seen any of these comics, Corman admitted that he’d only seen one of the titles, and was rather impressed by what had been done.
“The only one I’ve seen is Black Scorpion. And I thought they did a good job. The story line was well developed and I thought the quality of the animation we shouldn’t use the word animation the quality of the cartoons was good. So I was pleased.
“I know that it’s not an expensive company. They don’t have a huge amount of capital, so they have to function with a little bit less money per issue than some of the other comic book companies, but for the amount of money they have to spend, I was pleased with the work.”
Dinocrock Vs, Supergator was left with a hanging thread at the end–a loose end, which Corman admitted to be deliberate, but when asked about a sequel.
“We left it deliberately open, but we have no specific plans for a sequel at the moment. I think we’ve played the theme of the amphibious creature coming out of the ocean or coming off the land and going into the ocean enough.
“We might do one more picture after “Sharktopus”, but after that, I think it’s time to vary the formula. But we did leave it open just in case we change our minds.”
Dinocroc Vs, Supergator airs later tonight on Syfy Channel, and will be followed up eventually with the release of Sharktopus.
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By Ian M. Cullen