What are your favorite low-budget, independent, schlocky movies by directors who would later go on to work on high-budget studio fare? Bad Taste and Dead Alive (Braindead) by Peter Jackson certainly come to mind for me.
Well, I wouldn’t apply the term “schlocky” to his movies, but David Lynch clearly has any number of very low-budget feature length and short films.
OK, Dune was sort of drek, but that had an enormous budget, and massive promotion, all that. I like Dune, but that’s because I can’t get enough of Sting in a codpiece. The Elephant Man’s budget was certainly that of an A-picture.
Who else? Scorsese, for sure. Although somewhat out of the Corman-adjacent “academy,” I wouldn’t call his earliest pictures corny at all, just low-budget. It was either Corman or someone like him who financed Boxcar Bertha IIRC, but I don’t think Who’s That Knocking had anything to do with any big-name producer. Nor the later mini-features like American Boy or Italian-American, which were not big productions, but entertaining.
Bogdanovich…maybe one would could argue that Targets, which I think was made for Corman, is a kind of cheesy movie…not sure how I’d decide that one. Daisy Miller was pretty bad, but damn, he really put Cybil Shepherd up on that one, even more than in Last Picture Show (well, in parts that was almost a softcore porno in B&W, not that there’s anything wrong with that). Not a low budget thing like Targets, but definitely corny.