Director Larry Buchanan, who helmed cult films such as “Mars Needs Women” and “It’s Alive,” died Thursday December 2 in Tucson, Ariz., of complications from a collapsed lung. He was 81.
Just a few weeks before his death, he finished “The Copper Scroll of Mary Magdalene,” about the life of Jesus Christ, on which he had been working for 30 years.
In his 1996 book “It Came From Hunger: Tales of a Cinema Schlockmeister,” he describes his style of guerilla filmmaking. Besides the sci-fi and horror films, he had an equally low-budget series of biopics that included “Goodbye Norma Jean” and “The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald.”
Buchanan was born Marcus Larry Seale Jr. in Lost Prairie, Texas, and changed his name as a Fox contract player in the 1950s.
He began his career behind the camera making documentaries for evangelist Oral Roberts in the early ’50s and assisted George Cukor on the “The Marrying Kind.” He first helmed pics for AIP in the late 1950s and ’60s such as “Zontar, The Thing From Venus,” “The Eye Creature,” “In the Year 2889” and “Creature of Destruction.”
Other credits included “A Bullet for Pretty Boy” “The Naked Witch” and artpic “Strawberries Need Rain.”
Buchanan is survived by wife Jane and a daughter.