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A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 10, 2013, issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
At 86, Roger Corman Is showing few signs of slowing down.
The B-movie king tells THR he’s making new versions of eight low-budget horror films based on stories by 19th century American writer Edgar Allan Poe that he adapted and directed in the 1950s and ’60s. House of Usher will be followed by The Pit and the Pendulum, Premature Burial, Tales of Terror, The Raven, The Hunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death and The Tomb of Ligeia.
This time, Corman will produce but not direct the films, with the first to shoot in 2013, followed by two a year after that on budgets of $2 million to $2.5 million (the originals were shot for $250,000 to $350,000, not adjusting for inflation, on 15-day schedules).Like AIP, his New Horizons Productions will not pay for rights because the source material is in the public domain.
The new productions will be self-financed by Corman’s New Horizons Productions, which will give the films at least a short domestic theatrical release and offer international rights at the American Film Market.
“Now being able to do them in 3D and with a lot of computer graphics, we can do things we never dreamed of doing before,” he says.
But that won’t include more violence.
“Poe always worked with the unconscious mind, and there’s a lot of fantasy,” he explains.
It may include more erotic material, in keeping with Poe’s approach, but Corman says there will probably still be no nudity.
Corman, honored at the first Governors Awards in 2009, says his biggest concern is replacing his legendary leading man Vincent Price, who died in 1993. Corman hopes to find a fiftysomething actor known from TV who, he says, can bring the same level of “sensitivity and neuroticism that Vincent was able to bring.”
Corman has Mike McClain, who wrote his last movie — The Haunted, a Chinese co-production shot in in that country — working on the Usher script.
Already a living legend as the “King of B Movies,” why does Corman continue to work at his age? He replies with one of his typically to-the-point comments: “I simply love making motion pictures.”
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