I have to admit that I judge people a lot based on how they react to having their movies appear on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Miles O’Keefe asked for a copy of the tape. Joe Don Baker apparently wants them dead. Beverly Gordon appeared at conventions. Robert S. Fiveson is indebted to the fans for pointing out that Michael Bay had stolen his movie. Bert I. Gordon, who holds the record for most movies of his to appear on the show, is apparently not a fan. Roger Corman doesn’t care, but Bert I. Gordon, it seems, is less than thrilled with their treatment of his work.
Of course, Gordon doesn’t have anything near Corman’s career. Few people do. There are no Oscar winners lining up to credit Bert I. Gordon with starting their careers. Though I’m pretty sure Corman never worked with Orson Welles. (Necromancy, 1972.) Ron Howard was in a Gordon movie (Village of the Giants, 1965), but he’d been Opie for years by that point. Gordon seems to have less of an eye for up-and-coming talent than Corman, frankly, and he didn’t work as much.
Still, the movies aren’t terrible. I mean, Lord, they’re mostly not good—though Tormented is better than it could be—but they certainly are what they’re trying to be, which is sometimes as much as you can ask. And I mean, the man’s 96 and his most recent feature directing credit is 2015’s Secrets of a Psychopath, which is pretty impressive. There are even people in it you might have heard of! Not a lot, but it’s something!
I’m honestly not sure what else there is to say about him. I’m not an expert on the genre. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one of his movies without puppets in the corner. Forrest J. Ackerman seems to have liked him and thought his movies were worthwhile, but that doesn’t mean as much to me as it does to some people. It seems to me that there’s a certain respect for people in the genre even if, and let’s be honest with ourselves, they haven’t really earned it. “This is a person who did movies I’ve heard of!” gets a certain amount of weight, even when the movies themselves aren’t actually good.
Though again, his are by far not the worst movies I’ve seen. Yes, the effects in Beginning of the End are a bit silly, with extreme close-ups of grasshoppers, or possibly locusts, moving across postcards. But given the movie probably had a budget of about a buck ninety-five, he didn’t do too terrible a job for all that. And unlike many other directors, he actually did get his own special effects credits. I’m sure that’s in part because of budget limitations as well, but still. He was writer/director/producer/effects technician on most of his movies, and that alone is worthy of note even when the movies aren’t.