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Roger Corman Collection (1959-1970)

Cast: Shelley Winters, Pat Hingle, Don Stroud, more...
Director: Roger Corman
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: MGM
Genre: Action, Comedies, Cult, Drama, Horror, Adventure, Experimental/Avant-Garde
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Synopses
Roger Corman Collection: Bloody Mama/ A Bucket of Blood (Disc 1 of 4) (1970)
Bucket of Blood (1959)
A fine example -- perhaps the best available -- of "B"-movie overlord Roger Corman's "Weekend Wonders" from the producer/director's early career (see also the original Little Shop of Horrors), this horror-comedy was also the first of beloved actor Dick Miller's dozen-odd portrayals of the character Walter Paisley. A geeky waiter and busboy at a happening Beatnik café, Walter is intensely jealous of the swinging social lives of the artistic types who hang there. A bizarre twist of fate changes everything; when Paisley accidentally kills his landlady's cat, his frantic attempts to hide the body lead him to encase it in a layer of clay, creating a morbid sculpture -- which is eventually discovered and hailed as an artistic triumph by the unwitting Bohemian art crowd. (When asked what he's named the piece, the befuddled Walter stammers, "Uhh... Dead Cat?") Beset by numerous requests for similar "truthful" works, the moronic Paisley is forced to find inspiration -- a matter which is readily solved when a nosy undercover cop tries to slap a heroin-possession charge on him and finds himself on the business end of a cast-iron skillet. Before long, the creative urge prods Walter to narrow the competition by whacking his peers with various blunt or sharp implements, and the demand for more sculptures just keeps growing. Miller's tour-de-force performance, writer Charles B. Griffith's hilarious "Daddy-O" dialogue, and Corman's emphasis on the story's more lurid aspects raise this bargain-basement production (ultra-cheap even by Corman's standards) to classic status.

Bloody Mama (1970)
Shelley Winters, who once played the spoofish "Ma Parker" on Batman, brings the same larger-than-life approach to her portrayal of real-life Ma Barker in Bloody Mama. Presiding over her outlaw gang, consisting mainly of her goonish sons, Ma goes on a Depression-era rampage of bank robbery, murder and kidnapping. Obviously filmed in a hurry-watch as the Barker mob drives past modern shopping centers-- Bloody Mama strives for an entertaingly sleazy aura, especially when dealing with the incestuous subtext of Ma's relationship with her boys. And look who plays the Barker brood: Clint Kimbrough, Robert Walden and Robert De Niro! Bloody Mama was scripted by Robert Thom, whose previous collaboration with producer Roger Corman was the cult classic Wild in the Streets (former 1950s ingenue Diane Varsi appears in both films).

Roger Corman Collection: Gas-S-S-S!/ The Trip (Disc 2 of 4) (1967)
Gas-S-S-S! (1970)
They used to say "don't trust anyone over 30," but there's no one over 30 left to distrust in this loosely plotted satirical comedy directed by Roger Corman. During the opening ceremonies for a chemical and biological weapons facility in Alaska, an experimental gas is accidentally released which has an unusual effect -- it rapidly advances the aging process of those over 25, while those under 25 are left untouched. Soon, the world's elders are dead, with the planet left to the youth. Wisecracking hippy Coel (Robert Corff) and his girlfriend, Cilla (Elaine Giftos), discover that rookie cops and conservative frat rats have taken over their hometown of Dallas, TX, so they hit the road in his vintage Ford Edsel in search of a friendly commune in New Mexico. Along the way, they pair up with music-obsessed Marissa and her radical boyfriend, Carlos (Ben Vereen), and as they look for their new home, they encounter Hell's Angels-turned-country club members, a neo-fascist football team, a pack of painfully shy would-be sexual predators, rock star and self-proclaimed "godhead" A.M. Radio (Country Joe McDonald), and Edgar Allen Poe (Bruce Karcher), who roams the highways on his motorcycle. Gas-S-S-S! (aka Gas-s-s-s...or, It May Become Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It) proved to be the last of Roger Corman's many projects for American International Pictures; according to Corman, AIP subjected the film to severe prerelease cutting without his consent, and the interference was one of the factors that inspired him to start his own company, New World Pictures. The film also provided early supporting roles for Bud Cort and Talia Shire, the latter billed as Tally Coppola; psychedelic rock band Country Joe & the Fish appear in a concert sequence and provide the film's musical score.

The Trip (1967)
Roger Corman directed this psychedelic odyssey concerning the curative properties of LSD, with a surrealistic screenplay written by Jack Nicholson. Peter Fonda is Paul Groves, a television commercial director whose estranged wife Sally (Susan Strasberg) is pressuring him to sign their divorce papers. Feeling strain in both his professional and his personal life, Paul talks to a guru named John (Bruce Dern), who suggests that an acid trip will cure what ails him. Paul goes to John's pad and his trip begins -- at first calm and sedate, but when Sally and a sexy blonde hippie enter his hallucinations, it's every man for himself. Paul experiences crazed sexual couplings, paranoiac visions, and even gets to attend his own funeral. After imagining he's seeing John's head bashed in, he runs from the apartment in terror and takes to the streets. He is finally rescued and brought to a beach house, where he completes his trip while making love to a beautiful woman. After the trip subsides, Paul is convinced he has been reborn and is prepared to face the new day.

Roger Corman Collection: The Premature Burial/ X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes (Disc 3 of 4) (1959)
The Premature Burial (1962)
Roger Corman's success with low-budget adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe tales continued with this third installment, the first to lack the commanding presence of Vincent Price. Instead, we have Ray Milland as tormented protagonist Guy Carrell, who is so traumatized by the death of his father -- whom he believes was entombed alive after suffering a cataleptic attack -- that he becomes convinced that he will meet a similar demise. Guy's mounting dementia rapidly undermines his recent marriage to the lovely Emily (Hazel Court), particularly after he begins the construction of a specially designed crypt rigged with numerous escape devices. Encouraged by Emily to face his fears, Guy decides to view his father's remains, to prove once and for all whether he died peacefully. When the crypt is opened, however, what he finds there is so horrifying that he succumbs to a cataleptic episode himself, which doctors misdiagnose as a fatal heart attack... and Guy's worst fear soon becomes a reality. Milland's performance conveys the requisite amount of hand-wringing torment (in the mode of The Lost Weekend), even if he fails to capture the manic intensity that Price brought to the other Poe films. Corman's deft direction, employing a rich palette of colors and superb widescreen compositions, is on a par with the series' finest installments.

X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes (1963)
Dr. James Xavier (Ray Milland) is a brilliant but unorthodox researcher whose work with human sight has yielded an experimental chemical that may vastly increase the range of what we can see. Despite the misgivings and warnings of the two people closest to him, Dr. Diane Fairfax (Diana Van Der Vlis) and Dr. Sam Brant (Harold J. Stone), he uses it on himself and finds that he is able to look inside the human body in real-time. This gives him the ability to save the life of a patient in surgery, but in the process, he offends a top physician and calls his own judgement into question. He won't stop or even slow his experiments, however, and when Sam is accidentally killed trying to stop him, he is forced to flee. Soon he is living the life of a hunted man, and is protected and exploited by Crane (Don Rickles), a larcenous carny-man who sets him up as a "healer" on skid row, taking peoples' pennies while Xavier makes his diagnoses. After getting away from Crane, Xavier is found by Diane, who joins him on the run, and by now his own worst nature is coming to the surface. They head to Las Vegas, where his ability to see through objects allows him to win at most of the games in front of him, but he is discovered because of the attention that his "streak" draws to him. Pursued out of town, he heads out to the desert, and by now his ability to see transcends the boundaries of earthly space, leading him to a terrible quandry and a hideous solution to his plight, inspired by an encounter with a preacher.

Roger Corman Collection: The Young Racers/ The Wild Angels (Disc 4 of 4) (1963)
The Young Racers (1963)
Joe Machin (William Campbell) is the devil-may-care auto racer with a reputation that doesn't endear him to other racers on or off the track. Joe makes fast time with women, often incurring the wrath of the jilted boyfriends that lose their girls to him. One such malcontent is Stephen Children, a former racer turned author. When Stephen loses his fiancee to the fast moving racer, he brings out his poison pen to write and unflattering expose on Joe. The author tracks the racer, discovering he may have misread Joe when he turns out to be a decent human being that bears little resemblance to his public image.

The Wild Angels (1966)
This biker gang exploitation picture from director Roger Corman and co-writer and editor Peter Bogdanovich earned critical respect in Europe for its gritty documentary style. Peter Fonda stars as Heavenly Blues, the leader of a wild, roving band of leather-clad bikers. When his best friend Loser (Bruce Dern) is injured in the midst of an attempt to steal a police motorcycle, the boys kidnap their debilitated buddy from the hospital, raping a black nurse and trashing the place in the process. Blues and his friends believe they've set Loser free, but he dies not long after the escape. Staging a funeral and drunken orgy in a small town church, the gang flees is set upon by the enraged locals, leaving Blues alone to face the law. Nancy Sinatra and a then-pregnant Diane Ladd co-star; a number of real-life Hell's Angels were hired to appear in scenes, adding authenticity to the picture.

GreenCine Member Ratings

Roger Corman Collection: Bloody Mama/ A Bucket of Blood (Disc 1 of 4) (1970)
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9.00 (6 votes)
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Roger Corman Collection: Gas-S-S-S!/ The Trip (Disc 2 of 4) (1967)
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7.50 (8 votes)
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Roger Corman Collection: The Premature Burial/ X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes (Disc 3 of 4) (1959)
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7.82 (11 votes)
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Roger Corman Collection: The Young Racers/ The Wild Angels (Disc 4 of 4) (1963)
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10.00 (1 votes)
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Lovecraftian Cinema
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Films based on, inspired by, or bearing resemblance to the works of H.P. Lovecraft
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