Some stood modestly behind the scenes, crossing T's, dotting I's and making sure the electric bill got paid. Others made their productions subordinate to their own name recognition (William Castle, for instance). Many scrambled to secure the necessary funds when money ran out halfway through a picture, while others completed a film in under six days without breaking a sweat. The best-known examples are Roger Corman and Ed Wood -- 1950s, poverty-level auteurs who have since been celebrated ad nauseum. Yet there are many ingenious genre producers yet to enjoy their share of the spotlight.

Alex Gordon

Gave the world: She-Creature, Day the World Ended, Atomic Submarine, Voodoo Woman, Dragstrip Girl, Runaway Daughters
The one to watch: She-Creature
Why: Veteran cast; snappy direction (Ed Cahn); Paul Blaisdell's unforgettably loony monster; and of course, Marla English (hubba hubba).

Gene Corman

Gave the world: Attack of the Giant Leeches, Beast From Haunted Cave, Tower of London
The one to watch: Beast From Haunted Cave
Why: Offbeat setting playing up the sense of isolation; solid cast; truly bizarro monster; creepy shock shot of victim enmeshed in spider's web.

Jules Levy, Arthur Gardner, Arnold Laven

Gave the world: Return of Dracula, The Vampire, Monster That Challenged the World, The Flame Barrier
The one to watch: Return of Dracula
Why: Cloistered, small-town setting; creepy abandoned mine where the vampire abides (Bronson Canyon, of course); and Francis Lederer as one of the screen's most believable and unsettling Draculas.

Aubrey Schenck, Howard W. Koch

Gave the world: The Black Sleep, Frankenstein 1970, Pharoah's Curse, Voodoo Island
The one to watch: The Black Sleep
Why: Outlandish gore for its day; well-realized Victorian feel; dig this cast: Lugosi, Chaney, Carradine, Akim Tamiroff, Tor Johnson and the delectably haughty Basil Rathbone.

Robert Lippert

Gave the world: Rocketship X-M, Lost Continent, Alligator People, Kronos, Back From the Dead, Return of the Fly, Hand of Death
The one to watch: Rocketship X-M
Why: An extremely likable cast of scenery-chewers (Lloyd Bridges, John Emery, Noah Beery, Morris Ankrum); ambitions beyond the shoestring budget; and the fact that Lippert hustled it through production in order to beat George Pal's Destination Moon to the punch.

Jacques Marquette

Gave the world: Brain From Planet Arous, Teenage Monster, Attack of the 50-ft. Woman, Teenage Thunder
The one to watch: Attack of the 50-ft. Woman
Why: I've always been partial to Brain From Planet Arous, what with its sun-baked, Bronson Canyon setting, a crazed Agar performance and its bobbing, brain balloon -- but who can resist 50 feet of Allison Hayes?

Herman Cohen

Gave the world: I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Teenage Frankenstein, How to Make a Monster, Target Earth, Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla
The one to watch: Target Earth
Why: Credible depiction of a deserted city under siege; quintessential 1950s robots; Whit Bissell and his government scientists to the rescue; and who DOESN'T like Richard Denning?

Jack Pollexfen, Aubrey Wisberg

Gave the world: Man From Planet X, Captive Women, Neanderthal Man, Port Sinister
The one to watch: Man From Planet X
Why: One of the most atmospheric Bs ever produced; believable cast led by Robert Clarke and Margaret Field; claustrophobic, shadowy sets; director Edgar Ulmer's art deco spaceship.

Sam Katzman

Gave the world: The Giant Claw, The Man Who Turned to Stone, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Creature With the Atom Brain, Zombies of Mora Tau, It Came From Beneath the Sea, Night the World Exploded and of course, Cha-Cha-Cha Boom
The one to watch: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
Why: Resist the temptation to gawk once more at the goofy grandeur of The Giant Claw. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers has a whole lot going for it: Morris Ankrum (who appears in roughly half the films on this list) as the general; the unnerving voice talents of Paul Frees; Ray Harryhausen's monument-crushing saucers.

Ivan Tors

Gave the world: Magnetic Monster, Gog, Riders to the Stars
The one to watch: Magnetic Monster
Why: Crackerjack, semi-documentary storytelling (Editor Herb Strock assumed directing chores after Curt Siodmak's departure); nifty incorporation of stock footage of German film Das Gelde; Producer Tors' enthusiasm for the marvels of science is on display in every scene.

"You'll be shocked! You'll be stunned! You'll be thrilled!"
King Dinosaur

"All new and never dared before"
The Curse of Frankenstein

"Bloodless: That's why he wants yours!"
The Black Scorpion

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