by Luke Goodsell
on Thursday, Dec. 15 2011, 09:23 AM
Movies as we know them just wouldn't be the same without Roger Corman. Sure, filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, James Cameron and Joe Dante probably would have found their way into the game eventually, but the fact remains that they all got their start under the tutelage of Corman and his low-budget genre factory -- a tireless B-picture production line that also gave early breaks to unknown young actors like Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone and Jack Nicholson. Perhaps more significantly, Corman was one of the pioneers of the independent movie model, cranking out scores of exploitation and genre films (and distributing foreign titles by Truffaut, Bergman, Fellini and Kurosawa) that turned profits even as they flaunted the traditional studio system. (Not to be discounted: he also directed a handful of genuinely fine movies, like the Edgar Allan Poe adaptation The Masque of the Red Death.) This week, Corman is celebrated in Alex Stapleton's documentary Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, a career-spanning look at his work that gathers together exultant testimonials from many of his most famous pupils. We caught up with Corman earlier this week for a chat about his career and his "graduates," his thoughts on independent film, and how the Lucas/Spielberg blockbusters spelled doom for genre pictures. First, here are Corman's five favorite films.