Essays · Movies

5 Roger Corman Movies That Should Be Remade

With Shout! Factory’s acquisition of the Roger Corman library, we better prepare ourselves for an onslaught of B-Movie remakes.
Humanoids From The Deep Roger Corman
New World Pictures
By  · Published on March 15th, 2018

At some point, every film fanatic finds themselves wading into the Roger Corman library. It is a catalogue of stunning talent. The King of B movies helped jumpstart the careers of several major industry players. His school of filmmaking provided the training wheels for Francis Ford Coppola, Joe Dante, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and a hundred others. How can you fully appreciate the mastery of Goodfellas without peeping in on Boxcar Bertha?

The catalog of films found within Corman’s vaults is nearly endless, packed with heavyweight talent, and it’s addictive as hell. Once you’ve cracked the door open, you’re bound to lose a few years within its black hole. Shout! Factory, the American home video company, has a long history with Corman titles. For years they’ve been the main distributor of his films, preparing lavish restorations of such “classics” as Death Race 2000, Piranha, and Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. If you haven’t seen their glorious work on The Vincent Price Collection then you really should drop what you’re doing this very second and enrich your life with those cinematic delights.

These titles will only become more attainable in the near future. Deadline reports that Shout! Factory has retained the North American, European, Australian, and Russian rights to Corman’s New Horizon Library, while China’s ACE Film HK Company Limited will take on the distribution for Asia, Africa, and South America. This deal also includes the opportunity to develop new content as well as remakes of those properties.

Now, Corman films have already had their fair share of reboots and retreads. Nearly all of his films have been remade once or twice already with a variety of budgets. Paul W.S. Anderson reworked Death Race 2000 into a lampooning of reality TV starring Jason Statham. Traci Lords offered a cheesecake rendition of Not of this Earth. We even interviewed Richard LeMay on his adaptation of Coppola’s Dementia 13.

Preying on our nostalgia for the exploitation era is the easy way to go with the Corman library. Personally, I’ve had enough of the Hobo With A Shotguns and Machetes of this world. There’s plenty in the Roger Corman library with a potential relevance for today’s cinematic culture. A slight tweak here, a little nudge there, and Corman’s catalog could discover new cultural heights.

Here are my picks of the five films that should be remade from New Horizon’s vault. They don’t need monstrous sacks of cash to get them rolling. In fact, it would probably be better if they’re done on the cheap and in the spirit of the originals. Where there’s a will, there’s a film. Zac Efron need not apply, but I’m sure there’s still room for a Clint Howard or a Dick Miller.

5. Humanoids From The Deep

Humanoids From The DeepWhen science runs amuck, a gaggle of half-men/half-fish creatures storm a fishing village in pursuit of its women. Yeah, ok. Let’s back away from the creepy Black Lagoon stalker vibe and embrace the weird romance angle. It worked for The Shape of Water, and any opportunity to contribute fish-man monster designs is a worthy endeavor. Lean heavy into H.P. Lovecraft and Humanoids From The Deep could be a seriously disturbing exploration of the other.

4. Eat My Dust

Eat My DustThink of Dukes of Hazzard without all the awkward confederate b.s. and a whole heap of wannabe Fast and the Furious shenanigans. A local illegal car race deteriorates into a cross country pursuit when Ron Howard’s dopey wheelman falls for a thrill-seeking debutante. Since the Fast and the Furious movies have lost themselves into blockbuster insanity, a window has opened up for the cheapie endeavors. No fancy CG, just metal on metal car wrecks. We need more of that stunt reality in our lives.

3. The Intruder

The IntruderSet against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, this originally starred William Shatner as a psychotic white supremacist determined to halt integration in a small southern town. It’s a painfully uncomfortable story, haltered by its budgetary constraints and a dated point of view. A remake could easily shave off some of those rough edges and act as a cultural gut punch. A few narrative alterations and you could even find a way to put this human monster into a modern setting. The key would be in finding the right actor to fill the villain’s shoes.

2. War of the Satellites

W Of S

Did somebody say Space Force? When an unknown entity declares war against planet Earth, the United Nations constructs their first satellite in Earth’s atmosphere. Do not modernize this one. Let’s tap back into the energy and the dream of the space race as a method of rekindling our own enthusiasm for the final frontier. We need it. Think of this as a more genre heavy version of The Right Stuff.

1. House of Usher

House Of Usher

We really could use Edgar Allen Poe back on our movie screens. His special brand of demented genius aches to savage our sensibilities once again. There’s no reason to be totally faithful to the source material. That’s not the Corman way. We just need a creaky house to explore, a mentally cracked madman to despise, and a hero worthy of our sympathy. Less of a jump-scare haunted house story, and more of a slow-burn descent into familial horror.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)