On the first Sunday of every month, Cinema Minima hosts a free screening in the back of Cole’s Bar, a quasi-dive in Logan Square that also features a performance space and has hosted art exhibitions. The programming at Cinema Minima is surprisingly eclectic—everything from Ivan Reitman’s Meatballs to a program of short films by Maya Deren. Tonight, flying in the face of the almighty Super Bowl, Cinema Minima will host a screening of Death Race 2000, the classic science-fiction actioner produced by none other than Roger Corman.
One of the most prolific producer-directors ever, despite working with shamefully limited funds, Corman managed to churn out multiple films a year—as many as nine, legend holds—most in the vein of B-grade horror and exploitation. Corman’s directorial style isn’t the most nuanced, but there’s poetry and elegance in the resourcefulness and creativity he displayed. And his movies are fascinating in the ways they challenge the audience to do some imagining of their own.
The following five films are my favorites from his directorial canon; Corman’s work as a producer deserves a list of its own.