Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roger Corman—It's All Your Fault!

As I get closer to finishing my next novel, the YA drama, FOREVER ME, and 5 months and 3 days from turning 50! I began to think about how was it, I became a writer? In most interviews I tell about the tale of being taken to Disney's Haunted Mansion in 1973 and how my experience there made me want to write scary stories so I could make enough money to buy my mom a house. While that story is true, it's not completely accurate as to how and why I truly ended up becoming an author. Oh sure I always wanted to be an actor too. I followed that dream, and worked in movies, independent television and even became a full time theatrical producer for about a decade. But outside of my love for acting, film editing, directing and producing. I always come back to being a writer. And while perusing NetFlix yesterday, I saw an old gem of a movie that takes me back to where for me, it all began.
It's 1971 and my older sister is on a date with her boyfriend at the time. Where do most couples go in the age of post hippies, and free love? Where else, to the Drive-In. Well my mom was no fool, she knew what couples do at the Drive-In, and so, guess who got to see a whole bunch of R Rated movies at the age of 8? I guess my mom should have known they weren't going to see the latest kid flick, and certainly not at The Motor Movies on old Hwy 50! (That's where they show all the booby movies!) Well it was also where you could see all the scariest movies of the time too. I remember seeing the trailers for, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte in Re-Release co featured with the new Alan Alda film, The Mephisto Waltz.

Anyway, I digress. The whole point of sending me was so my sister couldn't shag in the car. I think maybe perhaps they were always hoping I'd fall asleep, but I'm television generation baby! I don't go to sleep when there's scary stuff and boobs on the screen!  So tonight's feature is Roger Corman's exploitation drama, The Big Doll House, starring a very unknown at the time, Pam Grier. (Yep Rosie's cousin for those of you who follow football and knitting.) Now I haven't seen this picture since 1971 and I'm sure by today's movie standards, it's pretty much a turd. Hell even then it probably was too. But who's keeping score. It's a basic woman's prison movie, only it was set in the Philippines. But it had this crazy lady warden who used some sort of electric device to shock women into submission..and oddly enough shocking them in well...shall we say specific regions. (I'm thinking Frankenstein here kids and nothing more.)
Anyway there's guns, boobs, girl fights, boobs, explosions and yep...more boobs. However, not to be infantile about my mammaries of days gone by. (boob joke in case you missed it.) You have to remember on a screen that big, every girl is Chesty Morgan! The girl with the 73 inch set of knockers. The basic story always stayed with me. A group of people caught in a bad situation forced to die or form a plan to escape. So for me I have to say, thanks, Roger Corman, for making a cheap movie, shown on a cheaper screen in the cheapest of seats, an 8 year old boy was inspired to one day become an author and learn to not objectify woman in spite of the frontal assaults on my eyes. So love or hate my work, either way, it's all Roger Corman's fault. And when I cash my first five figure royalty check, I'm going to tell him so!

3 comments:

Jean Booth said...

ROTFLMBO!!!! You kill me! I now want to find this movie so I can watch it and see if it really is as bad as all that. I'm very glad your mom made you go see that movie. I love your writing and can't wait to read your first YA! Keep up the writing Tom!

Author Thomas Amo said...

Awww thanks Jean! In a way, my mom sending me to the drive in with my sister, paved the way for me being artistic. I guess I can't put the entire blame on Roger Corman.

Scott Cherney said...

As Johnny Wilder used to say, "Hey! I gotta song for you! "Stuck in the Middle with You'!" Great stuff.