Directed by Alex Stapleton
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Any horror fan or movie lover worth their salt should know the great debt they owe to Roger Corman. From his B-movie blasts, to his gorgeous Edgar Allan Poe cycle, to his launching of several prestigious careers, Roger Corman has made a mark on Hollywood that will likely never be equaled. So why is it, then, that it’s taken so long to get a feature-length documentary on the man?
Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel not only rectifies this problem, it stands as a definitive overview of Mr. Corman’s life, work, and place in Hollywood history. Beginning with the early days, when Corman left the studio system that used and disillusioned him, this documentary charts his rise from low-budget film producer to “King of the Bs”, and culminates in a much-deserved ceremony which sees Corman awarded with an honorary Academy Award.
Stitching together this story are numerous film clips, behind-the-scenes footage (mostly of a current production), and several interviews with Corman’s friends, fans and coworkers. Chief amongst them is Jack Nicholson, whose lengthy sit-down is at turns funny, wicked, and ultimately, quite touching. Now, as this is primarily a review of the DVD / Blu-ray release of this film, I’ll leave you to The Horror Chick’s wonderful and lengthy review.
The quality on both the audio and video fronts is quite good. The interviews and current behind-the-scenes footage are both sharp, while the footage for Corman’s various pictures vary from film to film (though all look quite great, and are definitely an inspiration to pick up some of the recent Corman Blu-rays that have graced shelves in the past couple of years). Naturally, if you have the tech, you’ll want to go with the Blu-ray for the added detail.
Unfortunately, the bonus features are sorely lacking on both releases, consisting of only a trailer, extended interviews, and a batch of “special messages” to Corman. The latter is occasionally puzzling, as it features some rather dubious contributors (particularly insulting is Brett Ratner, whose smarmy, half-assed “tribute” makes the viewer want to snatch the pool cue out of his hand and smack him with it). While these special features are nice enough, one would’ve expected a larger package considering the wealth of material that must be available on Corman.
Still, if you’re a fan (and dammit, you should be), or even if you’re just a horror or film enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to check out this documentary. It’s as inspiring as it is informative, and is a great tribute to a living legend. Here’s hoping you give us another five decades of magic, Roger, from that wonderful boiling inferno of an imagination.
4 1/2 out of 5
1 1/2 out of 5