ByJancy Richardson, writer at Creators.co
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Genre maestro Roger Corman — producer of literally hundreds of films and director of such delightful oddities as She-Gods of Shark Reef and The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent — is coming back to screens.

Like gore auteur Herschell Gordon Lewis, Corman lived, breathed and loved the horror genre, raising and changing the game for fans forever. By enabling the charm of Vincent Price, the daring of Wes Craven and the sheer, naked enthusiasm of Ed Wood, Corman gave – and continues to give – so much to the genre.

In celebration of his triumphant return to film with 2017's long-awaited sequel Death Race 2050, check out seven of Corman's most influential movies, and the glorious havoc they wreaked on horror movies that followed...

1. A Bucket Of Blood

  • Released: 1959
  • Influenced: Meta-horror
  • Corman's role: Director
Credit: American International Pictures
Credit: American International Pictures

A Bucket of Blood sees a struggling artist hit the big time when he inadvertently kills a cat, creating a wildly popular work of art. To keep his hot streak going, he must find more victims. This film is a jolly yet biting critique of the bloodthirstiness of turning art into capital. All subsequent meta horrors — from The Cabin in the Woods to Ginger Snaps — owe something to Corman's devastatingly witty piece.

2. The Little Shop Of Horrors

  • Released: 1960
  • Influenced: Horror comedy
  • Corman's role: Director
Credit: Filmgroup
Credit: Filmgroup

A bumbling shop assistant accidentally breeds a plant with a taste for human flesh in Corman's black comedy. You can tell a movie is blindingly successful when it spawns a musical (Little Shop of Horrors, 1982), a movie based on that musical (Little Shop of Horrors, 1986), an animated TV show (Little Shop, 1991) and a further reboot (forthcoming). It's a botanical bloodbath that has become a rite of passage for any self-respecting horror fan, and worthy of its cult status. Watch out for a young Jack Nicholson in his breakout role!

See also:

3. Dementia 13

  • Released: 1963
  • Influenced: Thriller
  • Corman's role: Producer
Credit: American International Pictures
Credit: American International Pictures

Corman may have been feeling benevolent when he gave aspiring young filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola small backstage jobs on his thrillers Tower of London (1962) and The Young Racers (1963). He even gave #Coppola his big directing break with the hugely enjoyable Dementia 13. Intended by the studio as a quick-cash Psycho rip-off, Coppola and Corman turned it into so much more than the cynical money grab it was originally meant to be. Low budget, high hopes: Check it out if you want to see the very beginnings of a great filmmaker.

4. The Masque Of The Red Death

  • Released: 1964
  • Influenced: Gothic
  • Corman's role: Director and producer
Credit: AIP Anglo-Amalgamated
Credit: AIP Anglo-Amalgamated

Corman's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations could do with a separate write-up, but his efforts in bringing adaptations of Poe's works to life (loose adaptations as they may be) are commendable. With Vincent Price, Corman creates a world of bizarre wonderment in The Masque of the Red Death, a delight of colors and orgiastic splendor, helped immensely by the gorgeous cinematography from Nicolas Roeg. The fact that Corman also directed the breathtakingly sumptuous The Tomb of Ligeia in the same year is quite remarkable.

5. Rock 'n' Roll High School

  • Released: 1979
  • Influenced: Musical biopic and high school movies
  • Corman's role: Executive producer
Credit: New World Pictures
Credit: New World Pictures

Sure, it's not a horror movie, but no list of so-called cult classics would be complete without Rock 'n' Roll High School. It's the freakin' #RAMONES, you guys, and they're Blitzkrieg boppin' into a school hallway just like yours. As a kid, I couldn't imagine anything more thrilling than Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky strutting past my locker, and Corman made that happen. Mr. Corman, those desperate to rock salute you.

6. Piranha

  • Released: 1978
  • Influence: Creature feature
  • Corman's role: Producer
Credit: United Artists
Credit: United Artists

Before he made The Howling and the best #Christmas movie of all time, Gremlins, Joe Dante dove deep into the aquatic creature feature with the Corman-produced Piranha. Just when you thought it was safe to head into non-oceanic waters, the tiny, hungry critters came along and nibbled merry havoc on innocent swimmers. Part schlocky eco-criticism, part playful '70s blood spillage, Piranha is a hugely enjoyable movie, and earned two gore-tastic reboots post-2000.

7. Death Race 2000

  • Released: 1975
  • Influence: Dystopia and fast cars
  • Corman's role: Producer
Credit: New World Pictures
Credit: New World Pictures

Cresting the wave of Michael Crichton's #Westworld and influencing hard-livin' ride-or-die movies from Mad Max to Death Proof, Corman's Death Race 2000 sees Sly Stallone and the late David Carradine compete in a vicious world where deadly road races have become a national sport. Even mega-franchise The Fast and the Furious — incidentally the same title as Corman's 1955 hotheads 'n' hotrods movie about teen delinquents taking to the road — owes something to Corman's vision.

Watch Death Race 2050 now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD!