Everybody has to start somewhere.Â Somewhere, unfortunately, is usually in the worst place possible.Â When you’re a young director just starting out, sometimes you’ve got to take the job people will pay you for which leads to such resume starters as the following movies.
5. “Dementia 13″
Francis Ford Coppola knows his way around quality.Â Well OK, he did anyway.Â Either way, he directed The Godfather, and his wine is pretty good.Â He’s even gone back to some of his, ah, less well-received movies, like One From the Heart to try and salvage something from them.Â But he’s usually pretty quiet about Dementia 13, and for a good reason.
Coppola got the chance to direct because he was the sound guy on a Roger Corman production, and Roger Corman had about twenty thousand dollars left over.Â So, telling Coppola to give him a thriller, he wrote a script in three days, talked a bunch of his friends into flying over to Ireland where Corman had stranded him with a small crew and shot a movie.
Corman, upon seeing what the young auteur could do being left entirely to his own devices immediately re-edited the movie and had one director shoot a few scenes with a poacher who gets beheaded, and a prologue that had nothing to do with the movie.Â It came out on the bottom half of a double bill, and probably would have disappeared except for one small problem: it entered the public domain.Â So long after Coppola thought he was done with Roger Corman, “Dementia 13″ just kept popping up.
Hey, at least it was better than “Jack”.
4. “Caged Heat”
Another escapee, er, graduate of the Roger Corman Film Academy was Jonathan Demme, who’d go on to direct the movie that taught your grandparents about AIDS — Philadelphia. He also directed some truly amazing concert films like Stop Making Sense and also was the source of the single greatest well of bad impersonations of the 1990s, Silence of the Lambs.Â Although every last bad Hannibal Lecter impersonation is more than made up for by Hannibal Lecter’s superb Stallone impersonation:
Anyway, Demme got his start not with cannibals, but with hot chicks in prison. Demme wrote and directed Caged Heat, which is widely considered the best “women in prison” movie ever made.Â Then again, when your competition featured Regan from The Exorcist getting raped by Dean Wormer, and your entire genre exists solely to get away with showing lesbians making out with each other, the bar isn’t exactly set that high.
But it did well enough for two movies that had nothing to do with Demme and had awesome subtitles like “Stripped of Freedom” to be made, so that’s something, anyway.
3. “Hollywood Boulevard”
Joe Dante is one of those directors who never got a break.Â He directed “Gremlins”, which is the best Christmas movie ever made, along with awesome ’80s movies like Innerspace, and the one good Looney Tunes movie, Back in Action.Â However, he mostly got his start as an editor, by which we mean, he edited other people’s movies into his own.
Dante got his start, though, from a bet: Jon Davison bet, who else, Roger Corman that Dante could crank out a viable movie in a week.Â Realizing that Corman had a huge library and didn’t particularly care how Dante made a movie as long as it cut together somewhat decently, decided to see just what he could get away with.
This is a dangerous challenge to issue to somebody who cut together a seven-and-a-half hour epic called The Movie Orgy entirely from other people’s clips, as Corman learned the hard way.Â Dante assembled a truly enormous number of clips with as little shooting as possible.Â Good thing too, since he had only $25,000 to play with.
Dante turned out a movie that grossed a million dollars, and thus, we were on the way to Gremlins.Â Also, The Burbs, but let’s not talk about that.