Creature Feature Crypt by Count Gore De Vol

Good-bye to the Godfather of Hollywood


    On May 9th, just three days ago, as I write these words, Roger Corman, the dean of Exploitation Filmmaking, died at the age of 98. I won’t be giving you a detailed biography of Roger now; if you’re reading these words, then you need no introduction to Roger and his work. Suffice it to say that for the past seventy years, Roger has been one of the most influential men in Hollywood. Though viewed by the critics as nothing more than a purveyor of low-budget trash movies, he introduced American audiences to the films of Bergman and Truffaut, Fellini and Kurosawa.

    Though he never won a competitive Oscar, six of the graduates of what James Cameron (himself a member of that class) euphemistically called the, “Roger Corman film school” did win Oscars—thirteen of them in fact. Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Curtis Hanson, and Francis Ford Coppola, along with Cameron, all owed at least a part of their Oscar-winning careers to Roger.

    And of course there was a legion of actors whose careers began under Roger’s watchful gaze. Everyone from Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern, to Robert De Niro and Sandra Bullock, started out in a Corman film. So when I refer to Roger, with respect and admiration, as “the Godfather of Hollywood,” it’s due to the fact that he has mentored and guided the professional lives of half of the motion picture industry.

    More importantly, however, at least in the Unimonster’s humble opinion, is the inspiration and enjoyment that Roger provided to us, the fans of Corman’s trademarked brand of Exploitation film. For seventy years, Roger has fed our hunger for the type of movies that we love so much, through changing genres and media. He has never lost touch with his audience, nor we with him. For me, personally, it means that another of my heroes has passed away, leaving both myself and the fans of Exploitation film infinitely poorer.


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