Roger Corman’s Best Movies: A Streaming Guide

It’s almost impossible to measure the impact Roger Corman, who died Thursday at 98, had on independent genre filmmaking and the careers of emerging young directors, performers and crew members who cut their teeth under his tutelage. As a producer, Corman mastered the economics of drive-in movies and B-pictures, turning out consistently profitable work that gave the audience what it wanted while allowing for a little creative flexibility. Directors like Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Joe Dante and John Sayles didn’t exactly do their best work under Corman, nor did future stars like Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Jack Nicholson, Pam Grier and Diane Ladd. But his productions were like a trade school for New Hollywood.

The 13 films below only scratch the surface of Corman’s huge filmography, but they do provide a glimpse into his ambition and his sensibility as both a director and a micro studio boss. From the macabre comedy of early films like “A Bucket of Blood” and “The Little Shop of Horrors” to heady forays into science fiction and the work of Edgar Allan Poe, Corman’s work as a director signaled the dime-stretching ingenuity that would define his tenure at New World Pictures, where he developed a formula for making money while revealing a keen eye for recognizing talent. Beatniks, bikers, gear heads, voyeurs, outcasts and rebels — all had a place in Corman’s world, on both sides of the screen.


‘A Bucket of Blood’

Stream it on AMC+ and Shudder. Rent it on Amazon and Apple TV.

From early in his career, Corman took a keen interest in the emerging counterculture, even as he personally understood himself as an outsider. That dynamic animates his fiendishly clever, ultra-low-budget comedy about a square who schemes his way into the cool crowd through macabre means. “A Bucket of Blood” would turn out to be a rare lead role for legendary character actor Dick Miller. He stars as the busboy at a beatnik bar who uses his incredibly lifelike sculptures to impress the hip clientele. His secret? Best not to break through the plaster and find out.


‘The Little Shop of Horrors’

Stream it on AMC+. Rent it on Amazon, Apple TV, Fandango at Home, Google Play and YouTube.

Back to top button