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Cult of the Living Masters: Roger Corman

Roger Corman began his career as a screenplay supervisor, slowly moving up the ranks until his directing debut in 1954 with “The Monster from the Ocean Floor”. That same year, he caught the attention of producers James Nicholson and Samuel Arko – the founders of the American International Pictures (AIP) – and, for the next 15 years, Corman was the driving force of this company, under which he offered the world of horror some adaptations of the great classics of one of the most popular authors in schools everywhere: the cursed poet Edgar Allan Poe. With actors such as Vincent Price, Boris Karlo, Barbara Steele, and Peter Lorre, he directed “The Mask of Red Death” (1964), “House of Usher” (1960), and “The Raven” (1963), among others; all of them films where his ability to turn a B-movie budget into an A-movie is obvious. Corman is also the founder of New World, which would later be known as the ‘Roger Corman University’ due to the number of key figures of contemporary cinema to whom he gave their first opportunity, Coppola, Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovitch, Ron Howard, Joe Dante, Jonathan Kaplan, Jonathan Demme, and James Cameron among them, the latter one being hired to supervise special effects. Nowadays, Roger Corman is a revered figure all over the world, with some of his films in the Library of Congress archive in Washington, where some of the most notable works of art from northern-american culture lay. In 2009, he received an honorary Oscar from his ‘former students’, granted by the Hollywood Academy, and the Cannes Film Festival also created an award exclusively for him.
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