Wild Imagination

Chuck Griffith was a good friend and the funniest, fastest and most inventive writer I ever worked with. His offbeat humor was undoubtedly a big part of the reason a few of my early films, such as A Bucket of Blood (1959) and The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), acquired “cult classic” status. We had a lot of fun working together to come up with these stories.

The genesis of A Bucket of Blood was the evening we spent drifting around the beatnik coffeehouses, observing the scene and tossing ideas and reactions back and forth until we had the basic story. This collaboration worked so well that we tried a similar approach for The Little Shop of Horrors, dropping in and out of various downtown dives. We ended up at a place where Sally Kellerman (before she became a star) was working as a waitress, and as Chuck and I vied with each other, trying to top each other’s sardonic or subversive ideas, appealing to Sally as a referee, she sat down at the table with us, and the three of us worked out the rest of the story together.

The third time Chuck and I set out to research the counterculture to generate a story was when we hung out with the Hell’s Angels. This was more daunting, and more exciting, than any of our previous forays. Even Chuck’s unbridled imagination couldn’t have come up with some of the attitudes and stories we got from these guys. Our experience with them certainly gave us our title: The Wild Angels.

Roger Corman is the director of more than a dozen films with screenplays by Charles B. Griffith.

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