By Trevor MacKay
Release Date: September 18, 2007
Running Time: 641 minutes
The Roger Corman Collection features eight different Roger Corman
films. There's not really a whole lot of obvious logic behind why the
particular movies were selected. The movies are presented on four
double-sided DVDs and the paired movies do share some similarities
(in theme, actors or title) but that's about it.
For the purpose of reviewing, I've written a mini-review of a
paragraph or two for each of the eight movies and simply averaged the
scores to produce a final 'movie' score.
An accident leads to the release of a gas deadly to everyone on Earth
older than 25 years old. The result? A rather bizarre movie about a
group of twenty-somethings roaming the country.
The plot of Gas-s-s-s is pretty thin. It's really more of a series of
loosely connected comedy sketches but it's so strange that the whole
thing really works. Some highlights include a shoot-out involving
shouting out the names of Western actors and a football team turned
roving gang (but retaining cheerleaders, marching, and the like).
In The Trip Roger Corman and Jack Nicholson attempt to recreate the
experience of being on LSD. Having never done LSD myself, I can't
judge how well they replicated the experience but The Trip is
definitely a surreal movie.
The plot is pretty much non-existent and at times it feels like
watching an infomercial for LSD.
After a famous racecar driver, Joe Machin, steals away (and quickly
discards) Stephen Children's fiance, Children vows to get revenge.
Children plans to get his revenge by pretending to befriend Machin
and then, when Machin's guard is down, writing a mean book about him!
Fortunately, Children soon comes to empathize with Machin and the
result is much more interesting than an extremely lame revenge plot.
Unfortunately, the final fifteen minutes of the movie feel like an
extremely forced way to get some sort of climax.
Another oddity with this movie is that Children is played by Mark
Damon but voiced by a pre-Trek William Shatner. The dubbing itself is
fine but the voice is very recognizably Shatner and it takes a while
to get used to someone who isn't Shatner having Shatner's voice. Not
helping matters is the fact that William Campbell (who plays Joe
Machin) also appeared in a couple episodes of Star Trek: The Original
Series as a nemesis of Kirk. It takes quite a while to stop thinking
about Star Trek when watching this movie.
The Wild Angels
Wild Angels is a 60s biker movie. There's not really anything all
that unique about it and there's not a single likable character to be
found in the entire movie. If you like 60s biker movies, you'll
probably enjoy this but I was bored.
Ma Barker, and the rest of the family, go on a crime spree. Not a bad
movie, but I found it extremely hard to care about anything that happened.
Notably, the movie includes Robert DeNiro in an early role. It would
seem his acting was a little shaky in 1970 however.
A Bucket of Blood
Dick Miller plays Walter Paisley, a bus boy who really wants to be an
artist but is completely lacking in talent. He accidentally stumbles
upon a rather macabre way to produce terrific sculptures.
Unfortunately, if he wants to keep getting attention and accolades,
he's going to need to produce more and more sculptures.
The Premature Burial
Based loosely on Edgar Allan Poe's short story of the same name, The
Premature Burial is about a man, Guy Carrell (Ray Milland), who is
haunted by the fear of being buried alive. As his obsession grows,
Guy concocts increasingly elaborate safeguards against premature
burial. But in his lust for not dying, he risks losing the love of his life.
The Premature Burial, and Corman's other Poe films, is rather unusual
compared to Corman's usual fare. The story works really well though
and does a decent job of conveying just how much it would suck to be
X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
Ray Milland is back, this time as Dr. James Xavier. The good doctor
is researching a way to temporarily give humans x-ray vision.
Frustrated by bureaucracy, Xavier ends up using the technology on
himself. While it does prove to have many medicinal uses (and the
requisite scene where he checks out hot women), there are some
For the most part, X is a really good movie. The x-ray effect is
somewhat lacking, but considering this movie was made in the 1960s,
it's decent enough. Unfortunately the two scenes that should be the
most powerful are laughably silly (the window scene and the preacher
scene) and that negatively impacts the movie as a whole.
The Video and The Audio
The video is something of a mixed bag. The formats vary from movie to
movie, and range from 1.66:1 up to 2.35:1. The quality varies
considerably from film to film as well, but all of them are at least
watchable. The audio is mono across the board, but still sounds okay.
The extras are scattered throughout the eight movies. Most movies
have no extras at all, but some have quite a few.
Commentary for The Trip and X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes - Roger Corman
talks about the movies. The commentaries give a nice insight into the
movie though Corman is a bit fuzzy on the details at times
(presumably since these movies were made 40+ years ago).
Psychedelic Light Box - This is basically a screensaver of a
psychedelic light show with music.
Roger Corman Unearths The Premature Burial - This featurette runs for
about ten minutes. Roger Corman talks about The Premature Burial: how
it was made, why he cast the people he did, etc.
The Premature Burial Original Theatrical Trailer - Definitely wait
until after seeing the movie to watch this. It gives away an awful
lot of the plot.
X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes Original Theatrical Trailer - The only
thing worth noting here is that at one point the voiceover guy says
that Doctor Xavier "enjoys all the delights of secretly studying sexology."
X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes Original Theatrical Prologue - A weird
little piece talking about the use of the five senses. Only a bit of
it (near the end) is directly related to the movie.
The Inside Pulse
There's quite a variety of movies to enjoy in the Roger Corman
Collection. There's everything from post-apocalyptic comedy to period
suspense to a psychedelic journey. For the most part, even the bad
movies are unique and worth watching. Even though the final score
isn't so great, if you're at all interested in the works of Corman
(and don't already own these movies), this is a solid collection to pick up.