Roger Corman has been, arguably, the single most important voice in the history of independent cinema. It was an absolute honor to be able to sit down with him in his office to discuss his new film, Death Race 2050, and specifics from a career that spans seven decades.
For the uninitiated, Roger Corman began writing, directing, and producing in the mid-1950s. He launched the careers of actors like Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda, and revived or reinvigorated the careers of Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and others. As a producer, he gave directors like Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Joe Dante, and James Cameron their starts in filmmaking. He worked extensively with writers such as Twilight Zone alumni Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont, who were also seminal sci-fi and horror writers in their own right. His distribution company won foreign language Oscars for the films of Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini.
But at the end of the day, this is a guy who just made a lot of great movies. From the 1950s beatnik satire A Bucket of Blood to the 1960s Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, to the 1970s punk hallmark Rock n Roll High School and beyond, Roger Corman may have spent a career working with low- and medium-budget films, but he managed to create lasting art, documents of the times, and just goddamn fun movies, and he continues to do so.
If you haven't, check out Death Race 2050, streaming on Netflix and on DVD and VOD or watch the original, Death Race 2000, on DVD or streaming on FilmStruck. And enjoy the interview. I sure as hell did.
Posted by Vance K — co-editor and cult film reviewer for nerds of a feather, flock together since 2012, musician and songwriter, and Emmy Award-winning producer.