Hellman was a cult director who was widely admired within the industry, earning such fans as Quentin Tarantino; they liked his down-and-dirty storytelling, which featured poetic flourishes amid his genre films.
After working as an editor’s apprentice at ABC, he made his directing debut with the 1959 “Beast From Haunted Cave,” produced by Roger Corman. He became part of the Corman stable of veterans who learned how to get maximum impact on minimum budget. Other Corman alumni include Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard.
Hellman worked with Jack Nicholson in the 1960s, including two films shot back-to-back in the Philippines, “Back Door to Hell” and “Flight to Fury.” Hellman and Nicholson reteamed on two Westerns,