4 Horror Directors We Want BackPoppaScotch
Last weekend, Sam Raimi made his triumphant return to the horror genre with a little indie gem titled Drag Me to Hell. Bringing in elements from the franchise that originally put food on his table (the evil dead trilogy, in case you have been living in a country that keeps banning movies, or you somehow are reading this article by mistake) Raimi has successfully elevated a mediocre story by infusing it with everything that made us fall in love with him in the first place.
Along with the widespread critical acclaim (93% on rottentomatoes.com) and of course the praise from the horror community, this is no doubt a slam dunk for Raimi who hasn’t made a proper horror film sine 1992’s Army of Darkness. It got me thinking about other directors who have gone on to garnish long successful careers after starting in the horror wasteland (wasteland of awesomeness of course).
Steven Spielberg: Steven Spielberg is one of the most influential directors/producers/people in Hollywood today. As a director, he has been behind some of the largest and most financially successful moves of all time including Jurassic Park, E.T., Saving Private Ryan, and of course Raiders of the Lost Ark. When thinking about his critical acclaim, it may sometime be easy to forget that this man directed Jaws (the highest rated movie on this site) which still stands today as one of the best horror films of all time (and unofficially credited as being the first “Summer Movie”). Jaws, accompanied with Duel (Duel is criminally underrated) had so much punch and awe behind them that you would think that Steven Spielberg was put on the earth to make classic movie moments. Why can’t he bring back a little bit more of that action to the horror genre now? Spielberg clearly knows what it takes to make a great film (characters, characters, characters) so why shouldn’t he show the world that even if he isn’t the best filmmaker alive, he may be the most versatile.
David Cronenberg: This is a bit more of a slippery slope for me, because David Cronenberg’s most recent films A History of Violence and Eastern Promises were both amazing films that showcased a life-long obsession with honing his craft to perfection. I do want to see more films like these in the world, but would it kill him to come back to the genre to redefine the terms “surreal” and “body modification”? The man who directed Shivers, Videodrome, Naked Lunch, and The Brood shouldn’t be allowed to go too far away from the genre. Horror needs directors like this: i.e. more movies that not only terrify or disgust you in a new way, but also have layer upon layer of meaning. The horror pool is a bit shallow right now, let’s not kid ourselves. David Cronenberg may be the shot of adrenaline the genre needs to get heads a thinkin’ again.
William Friedkin: William Friedkin not only gave the world The French Connection, but he also did a little movie called The Exorcist which not only pushed the boundaries of successful main stream horror films, but then proceeded to burst open the imaginary walls and cross every line that ever existed. He is the forefather to every torture porn director who completely missed the point. Pretty much every scene in the Exorcist was a well thought out addition the metaphor of nurturing a broken family against a foreign source (kinda like Poltergeist would go on to do, but a bit different). Shock and gross out effects are what sells tickets today, so why would the man who helped (probably unwillingly) shape the misguided genre of the day come back to the drawing board, stand in front of the class and prove that the apprentice can in no way top the master. Bug showed us that the man still has an affliction and taste for the genre, so I will sit by patiently and wait for another masterpiece that I know he has in him.
James Cameron: If Steven Spielberg invented the summer movie with Jaws, the James Cameron took that torch and ran way past the finished line. Aliens, Terminator, Terminator 2, The Abyss, and of course Titanic completely set new records for how much money a movie could theoretically make (in a small amount of time). But you know what no one ever remembers? That James Cameron did a little movie called Piranha Part Two: The Spawning. I know of course this doesn’t have the instant genre recognition that Jaws and The Exorcist have, but just look at the rest of Cameron’s resume! The man can craft an amazing film around a great cast of characters, a solid story, and some amazing sequences that are more than just some action extravaganza. Can you imagine James Cameron coming back to the horror genre on a film with a 20 million dollar budget? Do you think he could still make a great film with what he perceives as peanuts? I don’t. Not for a freaking second. But I would love to see him try.
So what do you think? Did I miss out on anyone? Is there anyone that should have been added? Do you think Avatar is going to suck? Let’s hear about it! Also, just remember, if Sam Raimi could find it is his schedule to come back to the genre after his films have made so many people happy, why can’t those other filmmakers do the same? Let’s all keep dreaming, because some day it might happen. Except with James Cameron. That will NEVER happen.