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 Posted:   Jun 12, 2024 - 1:12 PM   
 By:   TacktheCobbler   (Member)

Not to criticize you or anything, Bob, but are you sure that production photo on your Usher post is actually from the production of Usher? I ask because Price’s wardrobe (coupled with the presence of his mustache and his hair being its normal color when the former was absent and the latter bleached in Usher) looks more like one of his costumes from Pit and the Pendulum.

Also, regarding the onscreen title for House of Usher, my DVD copy (paired with Pit and the Pendulum) uses the shortened “House of Usher” title, while later prints used the full “Fall of” title.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2024 - 11:39 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Not to criticize you or anything, Bob, but are you sure that production photo on your Usher post is actually from the production of Usher? I ask because Price’s wardrobe (coupled with the presence of his mustache and his hair being its normal color when the former was absent and the latter bleached in Usher) looks more like one of his costumes from Pit and the Pendulum.

Also, regarding the onscreen title for House of Usher, my DVD copy (paired with Pit and the Pendulum) uses the shortened “House of Usher” title, while later prints used the full “Fall of” title.



I believe you are correct on the photo. It appears to have been misplaced/misidentified in the IMDB. I've substituted another photo with Corman.

As for the title, it's anyone's guess as to whether the title changed on "later prints." One source says that both on-screen titles were originally in distribution at the same time in different "areas," and that later 16mm TV prints also sported either title. Whether they mean different areas of the U.S., or different English-speaking markets, I don't know. As for advertising, U.S. posters seem to have exclusively used the HOUSE OF USHER title, while UK posters exclusively used the FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER title. Perhaps that reflected the on-screen titles in their respective markets, perhaps not. It would appear that Orion/MGM had elements with both titles in their vault to draw on for their various video releases over the years (tape / laserdisc / DVD / Blu-ray). I've revised the wording in my write-up to better reflect the ambiguity.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2024 - 1:08 AM   
 By:   Graham Watt   (Member)

Not to criticize you or anything, Bob, but are you sure that production photo on your Usher post is actually from the production of Usher? I ask because Price’s wardrobe (coupled with the presence of his mustache and his hair being its normal color when the former was absent and the latter bleached in Usher) looks more like one of his costumes from Pit and the Pendulum.

Also, regarding the onscreen title for House of Usher, my DVD copy (paired with Pit and the Pendulum) uses the shortened “House of Usher” title, while later prints used the full “Fall of” title.



I believe you are correct on the photo. It appears to have been misplaced/misidentified in the IMDB. I've substituted another photo with Corman.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Bob, not to criticise you or anything, but are you sure that photo substitute actually includes Corman? I know the face of the chap on the right (actor perhaps?), but it's not Corman.

 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2024 - 4:20 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)




That’s one hell of a poster.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2024 - 1:24 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Bob, not to criticise you or anything, but are you sure that photo substitute actually includes Corman? I know the face of the chap on the right (actor perhaps?), but it's not Corman.


You win. Another source, more accurate I hope than the IMDB, says that the gentleman on the right is production designer Daniel Haller. Photo deleted.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 14, 2024 - 12:35 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is set on Los Angeles’ skid row, where penny-pinching "Gravis Mushnik" (Mel Welles) owns a florist shop and employs sweet but simple "Audry Fulquard" (Jackie Joseph) and clumsy "Seymour Krelboin" (Jonathan Haze). Although the rundown shop gets little business, there are some repeat customers; for instance, "Mrs. Siddie Shiva" (Leola Wendorff) shops almost daily for flower arrangements for her many relatives’ funerals. Another regular customer is "Fouch" (Dick Miller), who eats the plants he buys for lunch. Soon, Seymour discovers that the strange plant he has been nurturing has an insatiable appetite for blood, forcing him to kill to feed it.

Roger Corman produced and directed this 1960 horror comedy. Reportedly, Corman’s inspiration for the film came when his brother and fellow producer Gene offered him the use of a storefront set and wagered that he would not be able to use it. Corman also gained access to sets that had been left standing from his previous film, A BUCKET OF BLOOD. Corman decided to use the sets in the last two days before they were torn down. Variety reported that the film was shot in two days in late December 1959, using two cameras and working from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Corman stated in his autobiography that the film was shot between Christmas and New Year's Eve of 1959.

Another reason for the hasty, yearend production was that on January 1, 1960, new rules were to go into effect requiring producers to pay all actors residuals for all future releases of their work. This meant that Corman's B-movie business model would be permanently changed, and he would not be able to produce low-budget films in the same way. Before these rules went into effect, Corman decided to shoot one last film and scheduled it for the last week in December 1959.

Screenwriter Charles Griffith debuted as a second unit director to film exterior shots over two successive weekends, with $279 worth of rented equipment. Griffith paid a group of children five cents apiece to run out of a subway tunnel. They were also able to persuade winos to appear as extras for ten cents apiece. "The winos would get together, two or three of them, and buy pints of wine for themselves! We also had a couple of the winos act as ramrods—sort of like production assistants—and put them in charge of the other wino extras." Griffith asked his father Jack to play bit parts, and his grandmother, the former radio performer Myrtle Vail, played Seymour’s mother.

Actor Mel Welles stated that Corman "had two camera crews on the set—that's why the picture, from a cinematic standpoint, is really not very well done. The two camera crews were pointed in opposite directions so that we got both angles, and then other shots were 'picked up' to use in between, to make it flow. It was a pretty fixed set, and it was done sort of like a sitcom is done today, so it wasn't very difficult." Various sources have estimated the film’s budget to be between $22,000 and $100,000. Corman gave a figure of $30,000.

Composer Fred Katz explained that his music for the film was created by a music editor piecing together selections from other soundtracks that he had produced for Corman. In 1984, Rhino released an LP of Katz's jazz score for the film. Kritzerland released a re-ordered version on CD in 2010.

Corman had initial trouble finding distribution for the film, as some distributors, including American International Pictures (AIP), felt that the film would be interpreted as anti-Semitic, citing the characters of “Gravis Mushnick” and “Siddie Shiva.” The film was finally released by its production company, The Filmgroup, nine months after it had been completed.

THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS was screened out of competition at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. A year later, AIP distributed the film as the B movie for their release of Mario Bava's BLACK SUNDAY. Despite being barely mentioned in advertising (it was only occasionally referred to as an "Added Attraction" to Bava's film), BLACK SUNDAY's critical and commercial success resulted in positive word of mouth responses to THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. The film was re-released again the following year in a double feature with LAST WOMAN ON EARTH.

Because Corman did not believe that THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS had much financial prospect after its initial theatrical run, he did not bother to copyright it, resulting in the film entering the public domain. But the film's popularity slowly grew with local television broadcasts throughout the 1960s and 1970s. For two decades, it also appeared at midnight showings on college campuses and in art houses, leading to its "cult" status. Interest in the film was again rekindled when an Off-Broadway stage musical adaptation by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, called “Little Shop of Horrors,” was produced in 1982. It was based on the original film and was itself adapted to film as LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS in 1986. That film was directed by Frank Oz and starred Rick Moranis as Seymour and Steve Martin as Dr. Farb.

In 1986, Corman negotiated a licensing deal with Warner Bros., the studio that released the musical film version. The 1986 agreement stated that Corman could “put back his [original] film into the domestic theatrical marketplace six months after the new film was released" and that Warner Bros. would acquire certain rights to the property, including video rights to the 1960 film in 1991, following the expiration of Vestron Video’s video rights in that year. A March 1987 Billboard article reported that Corman threatened to sue public domain video suppliers of the film who refused to remove the black-and-white and colorized versions of the film from their catalogs.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2024 - 11:12 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In 1960, Roger Corman was in England to make a film about Gary Powers' U2 crash called “I Flew a Spy Plane Over Russia” based on a script by Robert Towne. But Towne got writer's block after twenty pages, and "I decided to leave London because I looked like an idiot," said Corman.

He decided since he was in Europe he might as well make a movie. With the massive international popularity of HERCULES, Corman thought he would make his own entry in the sword and sandal genre with a film shot in Greece instead of Italy. Corman's original plan for ATLAS was as an epic film in wide screen and color to be released initially on a roadshow circuit by his Filmgroup organization, instead of Filmgroup's usual black and white double features.

Corman got a Greek producer to agree to put up half the funds, about $40,000, but the producer never came through with the money, leaving Corman to scramble to finance the picture. Corman had invested $20,000 in the project to date. "I decided that, rather than lose the money I'd already invested, I'd compromise," he said. "I'd raise a little more money and shoot the film like I did the old, low-budget westerns. I remembered that I had done THE GUNSLINGER in only six days. So, I decided to film ATLAS as if it was a low-budget western."

As it turned out, Corman raised $75,000 and shot the picture in fifteen days. The final budget for the film was the subject of wild speculation in the press, with figures ranging from $350,000 to $1 million being thrown about (usually by Filmgroup executives). The best estimate is that the 1961 film cost $109,000.

The story finds the wrestler hero Atlas (Michael Forest) fighting the evil king Praximedes (Frank Wolff)—the power-crazed tyrannical ruler of Seronikos—for the hand of his mistress Candia (Barboura Morris).

Corman was led to believe a donation in the right place would ensure 500 Greek soldiers fully costumed and equipped as extras for his massive army. Only 50 turned up, leading Corman to rapidly change his original screenplay to use a smaller group of soldiers and to film the battle scenes more in close-up than in long shots. Corman was also able to use stock footage from Universal's SIGN OF THE PAGAN (1954).

Because of negative feedback from exhibitors, the roadshow release never happened, and the initial distribution strategy was changed to a 500-print saturation release in eleven markets. According to Corman, the film "actually made a little money, but it was the same old story of inefficiently doing a giant film." Corman called it "my last attempt to do a big picture on a low budget."

Ronald Stein's score for ATLAS was first released by Percepto in 2007 as part of their 5-CD box set “Mad, Mod & Macabre - The Ronald Stein Collection.” An expanded version of the score was released by Kronos in 2023.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 15, 2024 - 1:13 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

I had forgotten that one! Me and m'brudder used to watch it on TV (along with the rest of the usual suspects).

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 16, 2024 - 10:29 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

According to Roger Corman, CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA “was the story about a band of Batista's generals making off with a treasure chest of gold from Cuba. The man they hire to captain their boat [“Renzo Capetto” (Antony Carbone)] is a mobster. He murders the generals and covers up the crimes by inventing a story about an undersea monster who devours people. But there IS an undersea monster.”

In 1959, Corman assembled a small cast and crew and arrived in Puerto Rico to direct LAST WOMAN ON EARTH and produce BATTLE OF BLOOD ISLAND. According to Corman, "I had discovered that tax incentives were available if you 'manufactured' in Puerto Rico. That included making movies." When Corman still had unused film remaining from LAST WOMAN ON EARTH, he decided to make another movie.

Corman produced and directed the 1961 film, which was scripted by Charles B. Griffith as a parody of spy, gangster, and monster movies. Said Corman, “He had six days to come up with the script. I told him how many actors I had, and explained that I couldn't fly any additional cast members in because I just didn't have the budget for it." Corman agreed with Griffith's suggestion that Corman play one of the roles himself.

Because Griffith felt he was not being paid enough for the job, he decided to punish Corman by writing him the part of “Happy Jack Monahan,” the most difficult role he could think of, requiring the character to be laughing hysterically in one scene and crying like a baby in the next. But Corman caught on to the ruse: “I know Chuck did this to drive me crazy. It was too big a role, and required an actor.” Corman gave the role to Robert Bean, an actor who wanted to appear in a Corman movie. Corman told Bean that if he could pay his own way to Puerto Rico, he could be part of the crew and play a role in one of the movies.

When the cast and crew had difficulty paying their way out of the country, cinematographer Jacques R. Marquette hid the movie from Corman until the cast and crew got paid for the production. Fred Katz provided the score.

Because the box office returns for the horror-comedies A BUCKET OF BLOOD and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS had been tepid, the marketing campaign for CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA did not advertise it as a comedy, and instead promoted it as a serious thriller. Many audiences found the advertising to be misleading, which harmed the movie's success. Corman said "The film had a mild success. I couldn’t believe you could do such insane stuff on film and get [just] a little tiny profit…it should have been a big success or a big failure. I stopped at that point. I'd done three of these. It was time to move on and do other things."

The film is one of several Corman films that has an interesting post-theatrical history. As Monte Hellman recounted: “After I did BEAST [FROM HAUNTED CAVE], Roger asked me to expand four pictures for TV; they’d been [approximately] 62-minute movies, and he needed them to be 80 minutes for a sale to Allied Artists’ TV. So, I went off and reshot scenes for pictures – some of them three years later – getting the same cast together and trying to duplicate the locations. So, I expanded BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE, CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA, LAST WOMAN ON EARTH, and SKI TROOP ATTACK.” These additional scenes are why various video releases of these films differ in length.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 17, 2024 - 9:42 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

For THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, Corman re-teamed with screenwriter Richard Matheson and actor Vincent Price, both of whom had collaborated on THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER. Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s 1830 short story, the film, set in sixteenth-century Spain, found “Francis Barnard” (John Kerr) journeying to Spain to hear for himself what became of his sister “Elizabeth” (Barbara Steele). In the castle Medina, he finds her melancholy widower “Don Nicholas” (Vincent Price) lamenting her death from a blood disease. Satisfied by the report of “Doctor Leon” (Anthony Carbone) that Elizabeth's death was natural, Francis is considering taking his leave when Don Nicholas begins to exhibit strange behaviors. Seeing and hearing the ghost of Elizabeth, the trembling Don becomes convinced that she was buried alive and that a curse has befallen him as the son of one of the Inquisition's most notorious torturers.

Matheson's script freely devised an elaborate narrative that barely resembled Poe, with only the finale having any similarity at all to the original story. Corman noted, "The method we adopted on THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM was to use the Poe short story as the climax for a third act to the motion picture...because a two-page short story is not about to give you a ninety-minute motion picture. We then constructed the first two acts in what we hoped was a manner faithful to Poe, as his climax would run only a short time on the screen."

Corman elaborated: “I had a lot of theories I was working with when I did the Poe films....One of my theories was that these stories were created out of the unconscious mind of Poe, and the unconscious mind never really sees reality, so until THE TOMB OF LIGEIA, we never showed the real world. In PIT, John Kerr arrived in a carriage against an ocean background, which I felt was more representative of the unconscious. That horseback interlude was thrown out because I didn't want to have a scene with people out in broad daylight.”

Shooting was originally scheduled to take place in Italy; however, in fall 1960, AIP announced a shift in its production model from mostly overseas filming to U.S.-based productions. Principal photography ultimately took place at California Studios in Hollywood.

The film opened in New York on 23 August 1961. The following week, a premiere event took place at Chicago’s Roosevelt Theatre. For the occasion, a giant pendulum was hung from the theater’s marquee, and was set to swing during the last fifteen minutes of the picture to indicate that no one was allowed into the theater at that time.




Despite mixed reviews, the $300,000 film became a box-office success, grossing $5.7 million. It would prove to be the most profitable of the Poe films. Les Baxter’s score for the film has not had a release, although he included themes from the score in the music he prepared for a 1970 Vincent Price television special, “An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe.” The score for that show was released on a 1980 Citadel Records LP and re-issued on CD in 1986.

 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2024 - 2:33 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

For THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, Corman re-teamed with screenwriter Richard Matheson and actor Vincent Price, both of whom had collaborated on THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER. Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s 1830 short story, the film, set in sixteenth-century Spain, found “Francis Barnard” (John Kerr) journeying to Spain to hear for himself what became of his sister “Elizabeth” (Barbara Steele). In the castle Medina, he finds her melancholy widower “Don Nicholas” (Vincent Price) lamenting her death from a blood disease. Satisfied by the report of “Doctor Leon” (Anthony Carbone) that Elizabeth's death was natural, Francis is considering taking his leave when Don Nicholas begins to exhibit strange behaviors. Seeing and hearing the ghost of Elizabeth, the trembling Don becomes convinced that she was buried alive and that a curse has befallen him as the son of one of the Inquisition's most notorious torturers.

Matheson's script freely devised an elaborate narrative that barely resembled Poe, with only the finale having any similarity at all to the original story. Corman noted, "The method we adopted on THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM was to use the Poe short story as the climax for a third act to the motion picture...because a two-page short story is not about to give you a ninety-minute motion picture. We then constructed the first two acts in what we hoped was a manner faithful to Poe, as his climax would run only a short time on the screen."

Corman elaborated: “I had a lot of theories I was working with when I did the Poe films....One of my theories was that these stories were created out of the unconscious mind of Poe, and the unconscious mind never really sees reality, so until THE TOMB OF LIGEIA, we never showed the real world. In PIT, John Kerr arrived in a carriage against an ocean background, which I felt was more representative of the unconscious. That horseback interlude was thrown out because I didn't want to have a scene with people out in broad daylight.”

Shooting was originally scheduled to take place in Italy; however, in fall 1960, AIP announced a shift in its production model from mostly overseas filming to U.S.-based productions. Principal photography ultimately took place at California Studios in Hollywood.

The film opened in New York on 23 August 1961. The following week, a premiere event took place at Chicago’s Roosevelt Theatre. For the occasion, a giant pendulum was hung from the theater’s marquee, and was set to swing during the last fifteen minutes of the picture to indicate that no one was allowed into the theater at that time.




Despite mixed reviews, the $300,000 film became a box-office success, grossing $5.7 million. It would prove to be the most profitable of the Poe films. Les Baxter’s score for the film has not had a release, although he included themes from the score in the music he prepared for a 1970 Vincent Price television special, “An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe.” The score for that show was released on a 1980 Citidel Records LP and re-issued on CD in 1986.



I think of THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM as Roger Corman's best film, especially as it was the first of his films which I saw and the very first X certificate film I saw in the UK back in 1961 (I was not old enough to see THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER when that was released the previous year). Even my parents, who did not like horror films went to see it at the time and enjoyed it. The film still holds up well today.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2024 - 5:34 AM   
 By:   TacktheCobbler   (Member)

I think of THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM as Roger Corman's best film, especially as it was the first of his films which I saw and the very first X certificate film I saw in the UK back in 1961 (I was not old enough to see THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER when that was released the previous year). Even my parents, who did not like horror films went to see it at the time and enjoyed it. The film still holds up well today.

I always flip flop between this and House of Usher as far as my favorite Corman film (my Corman exposure is mostly limited to the Poe films), but I definitely agree that this is one of his best. My mom has also said that this is her favorite of the Poe films, and she especially liked the ending, which I’ll not ruin for those who have yet to see it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2024 - 8:51 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In THE PREMATURE BURIAL, medical researcher turned artist “Guy Carrell” (Ray Milland) romances and marries “Emily Gault” (Hazel Court), all the while obsessed with the fear that he's inherited a family curse -- catalepsy. Terrified that he'll be buried alive like his recent relatives, Guy constructs a crypt with numerous escape mechanisms, and starts living in it. Guy grows distant from his new wife as his irrational horror of premature burial consumes him.

After making two Poe films for American International Pictures, Roger Corman decided to make his own Poe film, since he felt that AIP had been slow in paying him his contractually required monies. Corman obtained financing through Pathé Lab, a company that did the print work for AIP and had backed a few of their productions as well. Corman wanted to use Vincent Price, but AIP had him under exclusive contract, so he cast Ray Milland instead.

On the first day of shooting, James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff of AIP turned up, and announced to Corman that they were working together again. AIP had bought out Pathe’s financial interest in the film after threatening to pull all future lab work from them. Later, when it came time to work out the split of revenues from the film, Corman and AIP reached an impasse over two-and-a-half percent of rentals from the film’s UK release. The issue was settled with a coin toss, which Corman won, netting him an additional $50,000.

The $450,000 production grossed $4 million in the U.S. Ronald Stein's score for the 1962 film was released by Percepto in 2000.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2024 - 1:02 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

I think of THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM as Roger Corman's best film, especially as it was the first of his films which I saw and the very first X certificate film I saw in the UK back in 1961 (I was not old enough to see THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER when that was released the previous year). Even my parents, who did not like horror films went to see it at the time and enjoyed it. The film still holds up well today.

The last shot terrified me as a kid, another in the Scarred For Life Dept. like the help me fly.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 18, 2024 - 11:49 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Inspired by a series of recent racial incidents in Clinton, TN, THE INTRUDER sees a mysterious stranger arriving in a small town, and trouble arriving with him. But “Adam Cramer” (William Shatner) is no crusader for justice. He’s an envoy for a far-right political interest group up in Washington DC, sent to the small town of Caxton, Missouri to block the integration of ten black students into the local high school. Stirring up the townsfolk with impassioned speeches, while simultaneously seducing their wives and underage daughters, Cramer foments racial unrest to the point where a church is bombed, a preacher killed, and a student almost lynched in the high school playground.

Roger Corman had hoped to raise $500,000 and land Tony Randall as the star, but when Randall rejected the part, the funding evaporated. With the movie being turned down by United Artists, Allied Artists, and AIP, Corman managed to raise some funds from Pathé Labs, with Corman and his brother Gene putting in the balance. The final budget has been variously estimated from $90,000 to $200,000

Corman had been told by potential exhibitors to expect little cooperation from Southern states on a picture dealing with racial integration. Predictably, the production was beset by angry mobs, and the crew was thrown out of two Missouri towns when the citizens got wind of the filmmakers’ real intentions—that they would be arguing for integration, not against it. To avoid potential problems with local residents among the cast, Corman distributed screenplay pages pertaining only to the scene being filmed. Regardless, the company needed the assistance of police, firemen, and the National Guard by the end of production. Afterward, Roger and Gene Corman assisted African American actor Charles Barnes in relocating to a Northern state for his own protection.

Corman encountered another obstacle when the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) denied its approval because the word “nigger” appeared frequently in the dialogue. Although distribution would be limited without MPAA approval, Corman refused to remove the word because it would reduce the picture’s social impact. Despite endorsements from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, the MPAA was holding fast to its decision. Corman planned to register an appeal. On 15 February 1962, the Los Angeles Sentinel defended the MPAA, explaining that the word in question offended and dehumanized African Americans. Three weeks later, the 7 March 1962 Daily Variety reported that MPAA vice-president Kent Clark screened the film for “a special committee” and reversed the Association’s decision.

Herman Stein’s score was released by Monstrous Movie Music in 2007. Distributed by Pathé-America, THE INTRUDER opened on 16 May 1962 in New York City, and screened that summer at the Venice Film Festival. Critical notices were mixed, although several commended the filmmakers for their courage.




By September 1962, however, Pathé-America had gone out of business. Nevertheless, Corman was still in debt to the company for publicity expenses. He signed a deal with Mike Ripps of Cinema Distributors of America, who repaid the debt and took over the release.

Under Cinema Distributors, THE INTRUDER, after failing as a “prestige” film, was re-released with a “hard-sell” exploitation campaign under the title I HATE YOUR GUTS. Some prints were given the title, SHAME. While Corman admitted that he preferred “the prestige approach,” the new campaign would enable him to recover his investment and make a profit as well. Although Corman gave Ripps free rein in exploiting the picture, the director’s edit was to remain intact. When questioned as to whether the film might compromise the U.S. image abroad, Corman argued that it would have the opposite effect, as a testament to the free society that allowed it to be made.

In all, the film grossed about $300,000. Corman explained why he thought the movie failed to find a wider audience: "I think it failed for two reasons. One: the audience at that time, the early sixties, simply didn’t want to see a picture about racial integration. Two: it was more of a lecture. From that moment on, I thought my films should be entertainment on the surface, and I should deliver any theme or idea or concept beneath the surface."

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 19, 2024 - 6:47 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Interesting how this flick and then In The Heat Of The Night later both had casts that basically had them fleeing from areas in which filming took place. Not a surprise, I guess. Anyway, TI and the much earlier Intruder In The Dust are great companion pieces in both subject matter and location filming incorporating real rural townspeople. And I especially appreciate TI’s TZ connections via Charles Beaumont, George Clayton Johnson and Shatner, of course.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 19, 2024 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Roger Corman’s fourth film in the Edgar Allan Poe series was TALES OF TERROR. It was comprised of three short sequences, based on the Poe tales "Morella," "The Black Cat" (which was combined with another Poe tale, "The Cask of Amontillado"), and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar." The tales involved a grieving widower and the daughter he abandoned; a drunkard and his wife's black cat; and a hypnotist who prolongs the moment of a man's death. Each sequence was introduced with voiceover narration by Vincent Price, who also appeared in all three narratives.

Reportedly, for the story "The Black Cat," Vincent Price based his character of “Fortunado” on Ernie Kovacs's television character “Percy Dovetonsils.” The film was shot over three weeks in November – December 1961.

Composer Les Baxter recorded his score on 17 April 1962 at United Recorders. In 2011, La-La Land released a CD that included 9 minutes of Baxter's music from the "Morella" segment of TALES OF TERROR. The remainder of the disc featured music from his score for X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES. The 1962 release grossed $5 million in the U.S.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 20, 2024 - 11:54 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In February 1961, Roger Corman signed a multi-picture pact with producer Edward Small to make films for United Artists. Small had been producing low-budget pictures since the 1930s. Their initial film was to have been THE INTRUDER, but Small bailed out early on that controversial project.

Corman said Small had been impressed by Corman's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations with Vincent Price and approached him with the idea of making a story about Richard III. According to Corman's brother Gene, who co-produced the resultant film, TOWER OF LONDON, the idea came from him and writer Leo Gordon. They were trying to come up with a fresh take on the Poe picture; they considered Nathaniel Hawthorne "and three or four other ideas" before deciding on William Shakespeare. Macbeth was not ideal, but Richard III was. "We were exploring the same genre, but a different author," says Gene Corman.

In the film, Vincent Price plays Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, who's none too pleased when his brother “George” (Charles Macaulay), the Duke of Clarence, is named Protector of the crown. He decides to give his sibling a few knife stabs to take care of the situation. After a failed and murderous bid to discredit the two young princes who are next in line to the throne, Richard conspires to become their legal guardian and is soon haunted by the ghosts of those he has killed in his lust for power, including his equally manipulative wife (Joan Camden) whom he strangles in a supernaturally-induced rage. Haunted by a spectral prophecy that he will be killed by a dead man, Richard becomes increasingly paranoid as he claws his way to ruling the kingdom by any means necessary, including torture, imprisonment, and more bloodshed.

Filming started in March 1962 in London. The film was shot in 15 days. The main cost was the sets, built at the old Producer's Studio. The decision to shoot the film in black and white came from Edward Small due to cost reasons; Small only informed Corman of this shortly before shooting, leading to a big argument between Roger Corman and Small. Gene Corman said, "What Eddie obviously decided was that Vincent Price had a built-in audience, and they would not realize up front that they were buying a black and white Price film. They'd take it for granted that this was in color." According to Gene Corman, he and Roger considered leaving the production several times due to the cost-cutting measures forced on them.

The $200,000 picture opened big in October 1962, but ultimately grossed just $1.8 million in the U.S., well below Price’s TALES OF TERROR, released three months earlier. Gene Corman attributed the lower box office to the fact that distributor United Artists didn’t push the film as well as they would have a color production. Michael Anderson’s score has not had a release.

TOWER OF LONDON was meant to be the first of a three-picture contract between Corman and Small. Corman later called the movie “The most foolish thing I’ve ever filmed. Every night [Small] would come to see me or call me. The script was changed, reworked without my consent. Lots of strange things were happening all the time, and finally I asked him to tear up our contract. He realized he wouldn’t get anything worthwhile out of me and tore it up. I have nothing against Eddie Small. He's an old man who had lots of success during the thirties, and who doesn't know that times have changed.”

 
 Posted:   Jun 20, 2024 - 1:17 PM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

Tower of London is a very underrated film with a great over the top Shakespearean (!) performance from Vincent Price. The Blu-ray on Arrow Video is well worth having.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 20, 2024 - 6:40 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Corman’s fifth film in the Poe series was THE RAVEN, the first to be based upon a poem rather than a short story. It was also the only film of the series to be a comedy, although “The Black Cat’ segment of TALES OF TERROR had been a comedic take. “After I heard they wanted to make a movie out of a poem, I felt that was an utter joke, so comedy was really the only way to go with it," said screenwriter Richard Matheson.

In the film, gentle wizard “Erasmus Craven” (Vincent Price) pours over a quaint and curious tome of forgotten lore, all the while mooning for his lost wife, “Lenore” (Hazel Court). Soon, a raven comes a-tapping, and the raven turns out to be one “Dr. Adolfus Bedlo” (Peter Lorre), who has been turned into a raven by the head of the Society of Wizards, the sinister “Dr. Scarabus” (Boris Karloff). Bedlo, on being transformed back into a human, notes that he saw Craven's dead wife at Scarabus's castle, and soon, Craven, Bedlo, and their entourage are off to confront Scarabus. Lenore, it turns out, is very much alive, having faked her death and taken up with Scarabus. Scarabus, for his part, is after the secrets of Craven's gestural magic and has set the whole thing up as a trap, with the participation of Bedlo, it turns out.

Stars Vincent Price and Peter Lorre had been recently contracted to American International Pictures for five years and three years, respectively. THE RAVEN was only Peter Lorre’s second horror film, and the first in which he co-starred with Boris Karloff.

Roger Corman said that although they kept closely to the structure and story script, "We did more improvisation on that film than any of the others." During shooting, Peter Lorre ad-libbed a number of lines, which confused both Vincent Price and Boris Karloff. Price adapted to it well, while Karloff struggled. Said Corman, “Overall, I would say we had as good a spirit on THE RAVEN as any film I've ever worked on, except for a couple of moments with Boris. There was a slight edge to it, because Boris came in with a carefully worked out preparation, so when Peter started improvising lines, it really threw Boris off from his preparation.”

Hazel Court said in an interview years later that it irritated her that when the film came out, critics focused on her breasts more than her acting. The Time magazine critic wrote, "The sexy, lusty redhead is played by the English actress Miss Hazel Court, in whose cleavage you can sink the entire works of Edgar Allan Poe plus a bottle of his favorite booze."

Filming was completed in seventeen days in September - October 1962 at Producers Studio (later Raleigh Studios) in Los Angeles. THE RAVEN opened on 25 January 1963 in New York City. The $350,000 production grossed $3.9 million in the U.S. Twenty-five minutes of Les Baxter’s score was released by Kritzerland in 2011.

 
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