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Roger Corman’s Best Movies

The Roger Corman way: Fast, wild, economical, and, most importantly, profitable. Variety has a thorough tribute to Corman’s career as an eminent influential and iconoclastic producer outside the Hollywood system, but suffice to say, Corman helped bring horror, sci-fi, and action into the mainstream with his productions from mid-century on. Naming a few of them: House of Usher, the original Little Shop of Horrors, The Trip (we paid tribute to this counterculture curiosity in our book Rotten Movies We Love), and Death Race 2000. And through his independent production companies — training ground and incubators for young filmmakers — Corman paved the way for the career launches of Martin Scorsese (Boxcar Bertha), Francis Ford Coppola (Dementia 13), Peter Bogdanovich (Targets), Ron Howard (Grand Theft Auto), Joe Dante (Piranha), Jonathan Demme (Caged Heat), and James Cameron (he worked on miniatures for Corman, and would go on to direct the second Piranha movie, before The Terminator). Even today, Little Shop of Horrors is a musical anchor of Broadway, and Corman’s 1954 The Fast and the Furious was title-repurposed for the modern franchise.

Below, we’re highlighting every Roger Corman production with a Tomatometer score, just the beginning to his vast filmography of nearly 400 productions and 60 of his own directorial works.

#1

House of Usher (1960)
84%

#1
Adjusted Score: 90226%
Critics Consensus: Scary, strange, and maybe a little silly, House of Usher represents an early high mark for Vincent Price and a career triumph for director Roger Corman.
Synopsis: Based on the classic story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe and directed by legendary... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#2

The Big Doll House (1971)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 91790%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Women (Judy Brown, Pam Grier, Roberta Collins) in pastel dresses plot an escape from a tropical island prison run by... [More]
Directed By: Jack Hill

#3
Adjusted Score: 95267%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Seymour Krelboin (Jonathan Haze) works in the Skid Row flower shop owned by Mr. Mushnik (Mel Welles). In his spare... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#4
Adjusted Score: 91371%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A tyrannical 12th-century prince is intrigued by a girl and takes her to live amid the immorality of his court.... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#5

Targets (1968)
89%

#5
Adjusted Score: 92935%
Critics Consensus: A startling directorial debut by Peter Bogdanovich mixes an homage to Boris Karloff horror films with a timely sniper story to create a thriller with modern baggage and old school shock and awe.
Synopsis: After unhinged Vietnam vet Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly) kills his wife and mother, he goes on a brutal shooting spree.... [More]
Directed By: Peter Bogdanovich

#6
Adjusted Score: 89183%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on true events, this crime drama follows the events leading up to the infamous shootout between rival gangs led... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 90484%
Critics Consensus: A chilling visual treat, Pit and the Pendulum unites genre masters Roger Corman and Vincent Price with delightfully dark results.
Synopsis: Elizabeth Barnard Medina (Barbara Steele) has died in the prime of life, and her brother, Francis (John Kerr), wants to... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#8
Adjusted Score: 90602%
Critics Consensus: By turns lurid and disturbing, The Man with the X-Ray Eyes is a compelling piece of sci-fi pulp and one of Roger Corman's most effective movies.
Synopsis: Intent on enhancing mankind's ocular ability, the brilliant Dr. James Xavier (Ray Milland) invents a formula that allows him to... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#9

Cockfighter (1974)
86%

#9
Adjusted Score: 76861%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man (Warren Oates) who trains fighting cocks vows to remain silent until one of his birds wins a championship.... [More]
Directed By: Monte Hellman

#10
Adjusted Score: 35254%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Groups of drivers compete in a deadly, government-sponsored cross-country race, where points are earned for killing pedestrians and other drivers.... [More]
Directed By: G.J. Echternkamp

#11

The Raven (1963)
83%

#11
Adjusted Score: 84494%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Magician Erasmus Craven (Vincent Price) is still deeply depressed two years after the death of his beloved wife, Lenore (Hazel... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#12

Death Race 2000 (1975)
82%

#12
Adjusted Score: 85983%
Critics Consensus: Death Race 2000 is a fun, campy classic, drawing genuine thrills from its mindless ultra-violence.
Synopsis: In the year 2000, America is a totalitarian regime on the brink of collapse. The most popular sport in this... [More]
Directed By: Paul Bartel

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 83049%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A teenager (P.J. Soles) and her friends get even with their principal to music by the Ramones.... [More]

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 67668%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A scientist falls prey to the clever schemings of an obnoxious extraterrestrial in this cult classic from Roger Corman.... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#15

Caged Heat (1974)
76%

#15
Adjusted Score: 77170%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Women inmates (Juanita Brown, Erica Gavin) fight a warden (Barbara Steele) and her psychosurgical behavior modification.... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#16

Tales of Terror (1962)
73%

#16
Adjusted Score: 74007%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Locke (Vincent Price) mourns his late wife, Morella (Leona Gage), but has resentment toward his daughter that manifests itself in... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#17

Piranha (1978)
72%

#17
Adjusted Score: 74480%
Critics Consensus: Performed with a wink and directed with wry self-awareness, Piranha is an unabashed B-movie with satirical bite.
Synopsis: Two people (Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies) unwittingly free a mad military scientist's (Kevin McCarthy) mutant fish near a summer camp... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

#18

Saint Jack (1979)
72%

#18
Adjusted Score: 73033%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Jack Flowers (Ben Gazzara) is an American pimp in Singapore, and, although his livelihood is unsavory, he is not morally... [More]
Directed By: Peter Bogdanovich

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 71788%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Nerdy Walter Paisley (Dick Miller), a maladroit busboy at a beatnik café who doesn't fit in with the cool scene... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#20
Adjusted Score: 71115%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A team of scientists land on a tropical island to study the effects of radiation fallout. When the island begins... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 75108%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Condemned warlock Joseph Curwen (Vincent Price) curses a New England village just before being burned alive. More than a century... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#22

Dementia 13 (1963)
69%

#22
Adjusted Score: 72018%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After John Haloran (Peter Read) dies, his wife, Louise (Luana Anders), fears that she will be denied his inheritance. Fabricating... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#23

The Wild Angels (1966)
63%

#23
Adjusted Score: 64681%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When Hell's Angels member Loser (Bruce Dern) has his motorcycle swiped, he entreats his gang to help him seek the... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#24

The Undead (1957)
60%

#24
Adjusted Score: 47771%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A therapist (Richard Garland) visits the Dark Ages with a prostitute (Pamela Duncan) reincarnated from a witch.... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#25

Forbidden World (1982)
60%

#25
Adjusted Score: 34005%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A space ranger (Jesse Vint) lands at a research station where a flesh-eating mutant is loose.... [More]
Directed By: Allan Holzmann

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 56200%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on Edgar Allan Poe's story about a cataleptic Englishman obsessed with the fear of being buried alive.... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 56181%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Baron von Richthoven (John Phillip Law), better known as the Red Baron, is a highly skilled German fighter pilot and... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 55291%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A fisherman (Doug McClure) and a scientist (Ann Turkel) fight back when mossy sea monsters assault women.... [More]
Directed By: Barbara Peeters

#29

Boxcar Bertha (1972)
56%

#29
Adjusted Score: 58875%
Critics Consensus: Too derivative of other Roger Corman crime pictures to stand out, Boxcar Bertha feels more like a training exercise for a fledgling Martin Scorsese than a fully formed picture in its own right.
Synopsis: Martin Scorsese's second feature loosely adapts the autobiography of Bertha Thompson, portraying the adventures of the Depression-era criminal following the... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 50688%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Particle physicist Dr. Joe Buchanan (John Hurt) builds a device capable of vaporizing anything it touches, in hopes of ending... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 50408%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Shad of Akir (Richard Thomas) recruits a space cowboy (George Peppard) and other warriors to defend his planet from a... [More]
Directed By: Jimmy T. Murakami

#32

Sharktopus (2010)
50%

#32
Adjusted Score: 13453%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Genetically engineered, a monster that is half-shark and half-octopus goes on a killing spree.... [More]
Directed By: Declan O'Brien

#33

The Wasp Woman (1959)
45%

#33
Adjusted Score: 45398%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A cosmetics queen is transformed into a murderous monster after she uses an insect chemical to preserve her beauty.... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#34

The Terror (1963)
42%

#34
Adjusted Score: 42663%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Lt. Duvalier (Jack Nicholson), a French soldier, loses contact with his unit and is forced to wander alone near the... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#35

Death Race (2008)
41%

#35
Adjusted Score: 47074%
Critics Consensus: Mindless, violent, and lightning-paced, Death Race is little more than an empty action romp.
Synopsis: Framed for a murder he did not commit, three-time speedway champ Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) finds himself at Terminal Island,... [More]
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson

#36
Adjusted Score: 23949%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Pretty and privileged Deborah (Kathleen Quinlan) is, at the age of 16, a borderline schizophrenic who spends most of her... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Page

#37

The Trip (1967)
39%

#37
Adjusted Score: 41024%
Critics Consensus: The Trip's groovy effects and compelling message can't overcome the rough acting, long meandering stretches, and pedestrian plot.
Synopsis: Paul (Peter Fonda), a director saddened by his failed marriage and unsatisfied with his work, is looking to start over.... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#38

Virtually Heroes (2013)
33%

#38
Adjusted Score: 9959%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two self-aware characters in a Call of Duty-inspired video game battle endless enemies and their own existential crises when Sgt.... [More]
Directed By: G.J. Echternkamp

#39

Galaxy of Terror (1981)
29%

#39
Adjusted Score: 29532%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Neurotic astronauts (Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston) face a giant worm and other monsters on a distant planet.... [More]
Directed By: B.D. Clark

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 29057%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Dr. Henry Armitage (Ed Begley), an expert in the occult, goes to the old Whateley manor in Dunwich looking for... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Haller

#41

Grand Theft Auto (1977)
27%

#41
Adjusted Score: 27796%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Paula Powers (Nancy Morgan) wants to marry her boyfriend, Sam Freeman (Ron Howard), but her affluent family wants their daughter... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 24765%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Four astronauts are exposed to cosmic rays and develop superpowers.... [More]
Directed By: Oley Sassone

#43
Adjusted Score: 9375%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Sleep-over teens are chased around a friend's (Keely Christian) house by a guy (Brittain Frye) with an industrial drill.... [More]
Directed By: Sally Mattison

#44

Carnosaur (1993)
18%

#44
Adjusted Score: 18192%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When nefarious geneticist Dr. Jane Tiptree (Diane Ladd) plots to wipe out all humans and replace them with flesh-eating dinosaurs,... [More]
Directed By: Adam Simon

#45

Bloody Mama (1970)
14%

#45
Adjusted Score: 14057%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Sexually abused as a young girl, Kate "Ma" Barker (Shelley Winters) grows into a violently powerful woman by the 1930s.... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#46
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After political unrest breaks out on a Caribbean island, scheming criminal Renzo Capetto (Anthony Carbone) sees an opportunity. He promises... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#47
#47
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hospitalized Beth (Angela O'Neill) faces another massacre in the same house where her family was slain.... [More]
Directed By: Carol Frank

#48

Watchers (1988)
0%

#48
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A spirited golden retriever survives an explosion at a secret government lab and makes its way to the suburbs, where... [More]
Directed By: Jon Hess

#49
#49
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A geneticist battles enormous bugs that are highly intelligent and bent on destructiion.... [More]
Directed By: Tommy Withrow