Best Horror Director

Discussion in 'Reader Polls' started by vampyr789, Jul 29, 2008.

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Best Horror Director

  1. Wes Craven

    3 vote(s)
    3.4%
  2. Dario Argento

    17 vote(s)
    19.5%
  3. Tobe Hooper

    1 vote(s)
    1.1%
  4. Lucio Fulci

    9 vote(s)
    10.3%
  5. Mario Bava

    2 vote(s)
    2.3%
  6. John Carpenter

    34 vote(s)
    39.1%
  7. George A. Romero

    12 vote(s)
    13.8%
  8. Alfred Hitchcock

    6 vote(s)
    6.9%
  9. Sam Raimi

    5 vote(s)
    5.7%
  10. David Cronenberg

    18 vote(s)
    20.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    Well, I think Cronenberg's tones have been consistent. But in terms of filmmaking quality, he's darted all over the place.
     
  2. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Yeah, I disagree with that. In fact, the very opposite is true. In terms of writing, the performances he's drawn from people, and ambiance and atmosphere of his films, he's been very consistent (helped by being able to work with much of the same teams behind the scenes). There are changes, of course, it's not like he's made the same films over and over. His weakest films - The Fly and Dead Zone, used a more mainstream approach (like that favored by the likes of Craven), but it was still somehow identifiable as "Cronenberg". You just know when you're watching one of his films.

    He's tried a couple different things - but he has a lifetime career, so that's not only to be expected, but surely encouraged. But as a filmmaker he's been far from darting all over the place. Even his more low-key films, such as Spider, encompass many (all?) elements from the likes of Videodrome. Marvelous stuff. And for the most part he's worked on the fringes, which is even more surprising.

    I haven't followed Cronenberg into his gangster films. I own them, but just can't generate enough interest to bother watching (modern gangster films don't really interest me very much). But even if they totally stank, it wouldn't hurt Cronenberg's extensive and consistent filmography.

    Still, you and I never agree on anything movie related, so that we disagree on this is normal. :)
     
  3. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    The Fly is one of his best films because unlike almost all of his previous films (and Dead Ringers later), he made the drama of the horrifying situations more real. People cared about the characters more than in most of his other films. It's a different approach than is typical for him. So you don't like that? Isn't the most important thing that what he does is done well, regardless of whether it's a change for him or not?



    As for Shivers/They Came from Within, I do have a bone to pick with that film. Because as horror, it doesn't deliver much at all. The special effects look awful. And most of the scary scenes in the film are driven by people acting strange and abnormal. Kids crawling on the floor tied to dog-walking leashes? It adds up to being incredibly schlocky. Again, this sort of thing was better done in Romero's The Crazies, as was the sexual component in the very disturbing incest scene. Shivers is a film lacking great horror moments. And most of the scenes feel very amateurish. Not to mention that while some people feel that adds to a sense of horror, I think in this case it certainly detracts.

    The one thing I think he did masterfully in Shivers was how the film began with a sense of almost isolationist idealism. The Starliner Tower(s) was given such a soothing introduction (and I love the use of slideshow images in a horror movie whenever anyone might use it), it was almost creepy. But the scenes of people being attacked didn't feel intense or scary. So since he started with the "commercial" sort of thing, then cut to that very stupid scene with the... airplane stewardess and the guy trying to break down her door. Didn't do anything for me. Nor did any of the attack scenes. It's probably because most of the attackers didn't look crazy. They looked like they were getting ready for a football game. They put all their energy into running or throwing their arms out. None of the "crazy" was in their eyes. Or anything that would give movie viewers a chill. Running in a small space (all those short hallways and doorways) isn't very cinematic. Here again is a place where Romero managed to outdo this movie. He spent a lot of time showing people's faces, concentrating. With Cronenberg in this film, he'd film their bodies and the faces were just in the shot. They looked like they were being paid to run. Not be scary.

    When I look at the film, only a few good qualities come to mind. The scene with Lynn Lowry giving her monologue after becoming Body-Snatchered, everything with Barbara Steele (she is an insanely hypnotic actress!), and the very last scene at the end with the cars. Not the action scene with the crashes in the garage, the driving scene with the couples and the radio.

    The Brood as I remember it has an excellent opening. And it remains interesting until around the scene after the Grandmother is killed. I really liked the scene with the police psychologist asking him questions about the daughter. But starting pretty much when the Grandfather comes into the movie, it gets more dull and boring than any horror film Cronenberg has made since. Save for the Psychoplasmics guy with the mutated throat (his best performance in Cronenberg's films for sure) and the scene examining the dead Brood-child's body. Cronenberg is not usually good with explaining things in movies. I've noticed when the film stops being suggestive and starts heavily laying on the dialogue in exposition form, overexplaining things- I find less to be afraid of. The creepy mood goes right out the window the more we find out about Oliver Reed at the end (not to mention his performances are always unbearably stiff) and the more the Grandfather says. Yet, the scene with the daughter and the Grandmother looking at the pictures, the Grandmother sugarcoating the story, gave me a chill. The ending of the movie should be terrifying given all the excellent buildup in the first half-hour. But it's not. Nor was I the least bit shocked at the famous "fetus licking" scene (which I've saw Uncut the first time out).

    And Scanners, I don't see as a horror film at all. It's a technological / sci-fi action-thriller conspiracy theory movie where characters didn't exist. People were set-up like bowling pins to be knocked down in scenes that had less emotion and power than... Schwarzenegger's film, Total Recall. And like I feel Rabid was an improved version of Shivers, Videodrome seemed like a magnificently-improved version of Scanners.



    Cronenberg changed his approach to the material for each film. And Shivers, The Brood, and Scanners are weak films in my opinion. I say he's darted all over the place. Because there's no horror in Scanners (speaking of "gangster films"), apart from gory special effects. Shivers is a film about a kind of plague passed from one person to another, like Rabid and Romero's The Crazies. Feeling like almost nothing original whatsoever, apart from sexual attacks and a parasite. Which aren't supported by a strong story nor very interesting characters. The Brood is a highly original concept, apart from the potential influence of Village of the Damned. And actually had a great emotional hook - child abuse. Yet the film focuses more on mallet attacks and the freakshow nature of the mutant children and the Psychoplasma patients' deformities than on any kind of story. The only consistency here so far is that it seems that Cronenberg chose in the case of Shivers and Brood, to throw intelligence or depth out the window by the final 3rd of both movies and make them more "shock" oriented films. Yet in both films, those "chaos" endings lacked real brutality, meaning, or style.

    Yet, I found Videodrome, Rabid, The Fly, and The Dead Zone to be profoundly moving, meaningful, and I cared about the characters. Because I felt like the suspense, the emotion, and the story actually paid off. The buildup lead to a satisfying and intelligent conclusion for all those films. The acting was better, the storytelling and concept seemed more well rounded. And the shock scenes actually packed a punch instead of feeling cheap and cosmetic.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  4. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    The Fly isn't a favorite of mine, no. I'm not surprised you like it, because Cronenberg had shrugged off some of his independent-filmmaker style to bring us a movie with a more mainstream approach (like Craven, who is always willing to give up anything good he's doing to play to audience expectation and attract a mainstream crowd).

    The Fly isn't a bad film, I just don't enjoy it very much. It's too predictable, over-the-top, and while it has Cronenbergian elements, they're pasted on a wall for mass consumption, thereby losing some of the edge. it's "spectacular" at times, but that's not what I want from Cronenberg necessarily, he's better than that - he's intriguing. But yeah, I'd have bet money someone with tastes like your own would have enjoyed it very much.

    Tis fair enough, you don't like it. However, criticizing FX in a film made on a low budget in 1975 strikes me as trite. For me it's the idea behind the film that is most interesting, and that Cronenberg didn't have much to work with when he made it. It's a logical extension from the student films he made, which I think is interesting too.

    Cronenberg's films are all about people - and not monsters. So that the film is driven by what people do is exactly on the money, as it's part of Cronenberg's aesthetic. The phrase "Body horror" is much used, and applicable. With the like of Spider he did something rather special, he depicted body horror from the inside, rather than outside - so you get that feeling of change, transformation, but now it's in the psyche of the character, rather than anything that will happen externally - and in a rather more obvious way with prosthetics and FX.

    I don't rate this movie at all. I find it very forgettable, and would much rather pop in Night of the Living Dead for a similar story line and better presentation. Each to their own!

    Well, it's all personal opinion, because I don't find it boring. I'm not going to write much about this film because I posted a lengthy (long long long) review of it way back in the day. It's a film I dug into more than superficially (origins etc.) and I've found more and more to like about it. But no, it's never boring.

    This line made me smile. :) How you can write that when defending Romero and especially Craven is beyond me. Talk about obvious - Romero finds a subtext and beats you over the head with it, and Craven's narratives and dialog are appallingly, and shamelessly, borrowed from soap operas. So yeah, this made me smile - and basically illustrates why you and I rarely agree on any film - we're just miles apart.

    Well, it doesn't actually. That's your reading of the film, I accept that, but I think you're dead wrong. Like some of your other comments on FX and monsters etc - it's like you have a very set notion of what constitutes horror. The Brood if a very personal riff on Kramer V. Kramer, not Village of the Damned (which nonetheless would be an interesting comparison). The narrative was born out of actual events in Cronenberg's life, with his wife, child, and a cult. It's biographical - with fantasy thrown in. Viewed through Kramer V. Kramer isn't a horribly frightening film, imo.

    It's basically different strokes for different folks. It's a mix here, because you're being critical of Cronenberg for - in my view - doing everything better than Craven. Because you defend Craven, and he's often so languid and uninteresting, his pictures could pass for commercials. But we all get one vote in the poll, and it doesn't really matter who wins. Pass that werewolf a Mach 5...... :D

    I'll add - there could be a case made that Cronenberg learned how to make great movies. Craven forgot how to make them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  5. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    I don't doubt that. But, first thing's first - different things work for different directors in the context of their different styles. If every director had to conform to one standard set of rules, I don't think we'd be interested in the style or methods of any director. We'd see just the films and no director's fingerprints on them. However, you'll find I drew no parallels between Cronenberg's and Craven's way of directing. I can tell the differences between them. (Some of them)



    Huh? What does the fact that it was made for a major studio have anything to do with anything? Do you honestly think that affects how powerful the film is? How disturbing it is? How disgusting it is? If anything, it's Cronenberg's masterpiece epic - not because it conformed or vanilla'd on any level. Instead, it gave us a hell of a lot more than any of his previous films. It had a strong story, strong characters, probably the best performances he's ever directed (except for John Getz, his character was always expertly defined as the "petty schmuck" and stuck in that box), and yet- it's undeniably his most gruesome, gory, and disgusting movie. It's a signature Cronenberg film. He didn't give anything "up" to make this film. Nor does it sour or water down any of the great films he'd made previously.



    I haven't seen Cursed or Red Eye yet. But neither film will diminish the fine work he did on the Scream trilogy. Those films were what they were. Horror-thrillers, social satires, horror-comedies. "Mainstream" is not the only thing that distinguishes those films. And in fact, you're starting to come off with a kind of lame attitude. When a great deal of landmark horror films would qualify as "mainstream." So bloody what? A great work of horror is not determined by its' budget. And the crowd of movie-goers the writer may have intended for Scream to have does not negatively impact the work Craven did on that film. If anything, Craven used Williamson's ideas to such outstanding effect, directing something he didn't write might be a key to why Scream is superior to A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Last House on the Left. As much as I care about both films, they are great works of horror. But Scream is superior.



    I don't think you know my tastes that well. The Fly is not a great-looking movie. Style is not the point. I appreciate the film as a remarkably powerful piece of epic horror. Don't tell me it has any less edge than his earlier films. That's a joke. It's a less intellectual film than emotional, sure. But there are moments in this film that transcend any film you assume is predictable or "mainstream." It's not perfect, very few horror films are. But the gore and the intensity of scenes like the arm-wrestling scene and Jeff Goldblum taking himself apart in the bathroom and the revelation of the first animal teleportation. It's not ideas alone that have edge, Dwatts. An idea is nothing to a horror film without a scene of intensity or style to support it. The Fly had intensity by the bucketful. Predictable or not, it is a powerful film.



    It would strike me that way too... if I had never seen the film before. The acting is not very good. The story is not very interesting in my opinion. What the film has the most of are bad special effects and people moaning and grabbing each other. On one level, it's a bore. On another, it's a disappointment. On another, when I give the whole thing a good look, I don't think there's much in the pot of the film to work with, either way- whether it's meant to be visceral or intellectual. On both a level of style and substance, I didn't get much from the film.



    I agree. I don't think much of The Crazies either. My point in mentioning it is to say how much better I think that incredibly dull film is in comparison to Shivers, which is an absolute mess.



    Sure it is. It's better made than Shivers, but Shivers at least had more schlock than the second half of The Brood had anything at all. Other than shrill strings (if my ears remember correctly) and some tired special effects. And whether the effects were being used here to try and drive the point of the story home or to shock and disgust people, I didn't have any trouble looking away. And I wasn't impressed either.



    I agree. And technically, I still find Cronenberg a better director than Romero. But Romero's flawed films are usually better than Cronenberg's flawed horror films. Unless we're talking about Day of the Dead. The Brood is better than that film, no contest.



    I meant that the children all look similar, have psychic abilities, and are the products of unnatural births.

    And actually, I generally go with the flow when it comes to a concept driven horror film. I think for a guy as intellectual as Cronenberg, it's sad when I watch a film like Shivers and come away feeling it lacked intelligence. And the horror scenes feel tacked on. As do the goop scenes at the end of The Brood and the deformities of the other patients.



    Okay, now you're doing something I outright disapprove of. And I've had discussions like this with other people. I don't believe viewers should have to do research into the filmmaker's personal lives or the production history of a film or it's literary origins to enjoy it, appreciate it, or understand it. I would still say to this day over 80% of all opinions of all movies are formed without anyone knowing a thing about the filmmakers or the source material. It's nice that one informs the other for you, but for me- I don't see it. And it's not a problem if I don't. The filmmaker can't expect every viewer to see them in the film.



    Dwatts, we're talking about horror films. We all know (I hope) what the genre has become since the 1950's - popcorn movies. Projector fodder. Drive-in filler. The majority of horror films have for a very long time been trash. Since the days of William Castle and Hammer and Amicus and AIP, the late 1960's and beyond, the genre has usually relied on unique filmmakers to deliver something unforgettable and classic and time-honored and effective. You may reduce the films to just ideas. But for me, ideas and style work hand-in-hand.

    Wes Craven has made many outstanding films in the vein of crappy subgenres. The exploitation genre is totally overrated. In the face of total garbage like I Spit on Your Grave and a million faceless nazi camp and women in prison movies and perverted-giallos and the like, Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left is a stroke of genius. Take into account the alternatives before judging Craven's output. Compare A Nightmare on Elm Street to dozens of other supernatural themed movies of the mid-80's and try to tell me Nightmare wasn't highly original as well as more effective and better made than any other supernatural film.

    And I cannot stress this enough - for a Re-Animator clone, Deadly Friend actually made me care about the characters. You can say anything you want, but he must have done something right. Because it worked on me. Though, I'm not as hard on films "everyone else" hates. I like the underdog films. And usually they're a lot better than people say they are. Horror fans online are still getting away with too much of this "Wes Craven sold out" and "Wes Craven went mainstream" bullshit. Aren't you tired of hearing it?

    Now with that being said, I haven't seen the much smaller films he's made that have gotten bad distribution. I've seen his MGM, Anchor Bay, Universal, Miramax, Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema released movies. And they're the best representation of his style, talent, and capabilities. And just to throw some salt in your wounds since you keep going on about Red Eye - everyone knew what they were getting into when they saw that film. It's 2 people on an airplane and then a long chase. Not really horror stuff. And the PG-13 rating is the most important piece of evidence: expect a thriller, not a horror movie.



    Not true. The Scream movies were great movies. You just don't like them because of your attitude against mainstream horror content.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  6. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Well, actually we're mostly talking about our own opinions of these things, rather than documenting what each Director actually does - it's been about our reactions to what they've done. The careers of these two have both run parallel, and at times veered. They're different, very different actually. It's all about our reaction to their works, is all. Mind you, I could never imagine Cronenberg coming up with that Werewolf film, let alone making it! I accept you and I like different kinds of films, and obviously have different expectations.

    Hang on, because you're mixing things up here. I'd break it down very differently - for instance, ask me the question "Does the fact that it was made for a major studio have anything to do with anything?" Well yes, films made for the major studios puts all kinds of things onto the table that might not be there for a more independent film. It affects the writing, the marketing, the personnel who work on the film, the final cut we all get to see etc. It has a huge influence.

    The second part is another question: "Do you honestly think that affects how powerful the film is? How disturbing it is?" The question of whether something is "powerful" and "Disturbing" is subjective - clearly what I find powerful and disturbing is not what you'd consider powerful and disturbing. I don't think a film being from a major studio instantly robs it of the possibility of being powerful or disturbing, no. However, I think the probability is won't be as disturbing is increased. Largely it's about my personal tastes, I don't enjoy the gloss as much. But I won't make a blanket statement that it will and won't be something. I speak only in terms of Cronenberg in this case, and I find The Fly a lesser film is his filmography.

    Undeniably? Wow, in that case there's no point in discussing it. :D I just don't find this film affects or interests me in the same way as it does you (and if I recall, many people here). Cronenberg did give something up for me, he made a mainstream horror film that simply wasn't as interesting as what want before. Hell, I prefer the original Fly film with Price, it has a far greater emotional impact, and plays things with more subtlety. Cronenberg's film panders to the audience of the time, that demanded over-the-top action. The Fly is infused with greater slices of the action genre, which mainstream audeinces seem to like, but for me, Cronenberg drowns in it, and gets lost. It's why I don't rate Aliens anywhere near Alien in terms of filmmaking, the latter is by far the better of the two films, imo. I can understand why the former appeals to a larger audience though, I just don't personally like it as much.

    But "undeniably"? I think we should leave such statements out to be honest. It's all open for debate.

    Well, there are plenty of films that could fit this rather glib assessment. Personally I enjoy low-budget cinema, with lesser known actors and film makers struggling against adversity to get their thing done. Is it perfect? Of course not, it's 1975 with no money! But it's sure a lot of fun. For me. ;)

    I don't know mate, you keep writing things like this, and frankly you sound like you've been seduced by modern CGI and FX work. :D ALL FX from this era looks rather silly these days, I couldn't name a single set piece that doesn't, and that couldn't be done better today. But watching film is about immersion into the narrative, and enjoying the craft. It doesn't have to be convincing to be good - it just have to work. It did for me. I'm sorry. :)

    I don't think you have to know about the background to the film to enjoy it, I know I didn't. What I was merely doing was replying to a comment you made, and making sure you realized something about this film - it's biographical. I don't think the film demands you know it in order to be enjoyed, and all views about the film are more than welcome. I did think it might be an interesting factiod though. I don't know why you would be offended by my telling you what I learned about the film. Cronenberg has discussed the film plenty if you want to look it up. You either enjoy knowing something about film, or you don't. Is it bad to enjoy trying to learn something? Or is it somehow only reasonable to expect an audience to go in and do no work at all - like statues screaming "ENTERTAIN ME OR YOU'RE CRAP!" The Brood stands nicely on it's own, imo, and when I'd read up on it, I enjoyed it even more. That simple.

    You see, this is another example of you proving the point that you and I simply don't have similar movie tastes. We're quite a long way apart. I very much enjoy exploitation cinema, and Giallo's aren't "perverted". How you can call giallos perverted, and Last House a stroke of genius? Is it perhaps a joke on me, for reasons I can't fathom? :D

    I very much enjoy Last House, and Cravens first three films are all brilliant. It's the garbage he's made since, and the fact that he's getting worse and worse, that I'm talking about. I wouldn't give up my copy of Last House and Hills, that's for damn sure! But generally, you simply have little regard for films I admire, so it's normal we disagree, and probably not find middle ground. Hell, I think there are whole sub-genres you hate that I adore.

    I don't know man, aren't you doing the very thing you just accused me of? I can't talk about the background to a movie, but you think it's okay to ask me to go compare a Craven film to everything around it to bolster your point? Shouldn't I just be able to watch the movie?

    Yeah well, Deadly Friend is utter and complete garbage - in every respect, imo. Some like garbage, hell I enjoy trash cinema. But Deadly Friend is bad, really really bad. Care about the characters? Sorry man, they were pathetically drawn, and watching that film now is just plain sad. But good on you for enjoying it. I hope I never have to experience it again, but there are people that like it for nostagic reasons and the like, and that's terrific. Just not me.

    But it's NOT THRILLING. It's boring. Awful. I enjoyed Lucifer Valentines Vomit Gore film more than I enjoyed this. I don't complain about it because it's poor horror, I complain about it because it's badly written, directed, performed, and packaged. It should never have made it passed the ideas phase, imo. It's not worth the time it would take to download it, let alone buy it (which sadly, is what I did!). Urgh!

    I'm pretty sure we'll make no progress here, and that's cool. We just don't have the same tastes for film - and it's all cool.

    I voted Cronenberg because I feel he is the best Horror Director from the list, and I stick by that. I expect you to stick with your vote. As it should be. ;)
     
  7. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    You're never going to win a game of nitpicks with Craven, a DOG having a flashback anyone? Come on. Craven's simply a hack who makes mediocre popcorn sellers. Screams is perhaps the worst offender, which almost singlehandedly killed off the Horror genre.
     
  8. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    :lol:

    I don't want this to become some kind of long debate. I'm simply trying to understand and appreciate a different point of view - while of course disagreeing on the central premise. I stumble when there are contradictions, and complaints about the quality of FX.

    I stick by what I wrote earlier: A case could be made that Cronenberg learned how to make great movies. Craven forgot how to make them. Craven has gotten less interesting, and while Cronenberg's last two films aren't of extreme interest for me, everything I've read about them tells me they're not irrelevant mainstream popcorn crapola.

    I obviously accept that DVD Fanatic likes what he likes. It's difficult to discuss when you're coming from very different place....
     
  9. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    Okay, you're clearly joking. So, I'll ignore your little wordfart.





    I don't find it to be "gloss"y at all. It still has its own style and production values. In fact, it's stylistically a very dirty and unglamorous movie. What was glossy about it? The Bartok Party scene? Scenes at restaurants? Scenes at Stathis's office? I really feel like you're being incredibly superficial about this. I don't see where you're even making a point about your own tastes. If I honestly spent my time watching a movie judging how "mainstream" and "gloss"y it was... I'd be shortchanging the genre. I don't see anything compromised about the style or the director's vision.



    The Fly is not an action film. And first you compared it to Cronenberg's other films, now you're comparing it to the 1958 film by the same name. They're radically different films. The Fly couldn't possibly be considered an action film. Where'd you get that idea from? I re-watched it the other day, and there are no running scenes. No fight scenes. And then, most of the horror is in what characters have to look at. The element of revulsion and seeing something bizarre or unnatural is a very strong classic-horror theme. And there's more of that in The Fly than explosions. Plus, the music is much more subtle than an action movie score. Name one horror film that has that "lullaby" piece you hear several times throughout the course of the film. If anything, it's more of a drama than a horror film. But even, the two genres service each other and make the film a powerful piece of filmmaking. There's a lot of subtlety in the movie I'm guessing you missed. Or don't remember from your last viewing.

    I get that you didn't like it. The reason I don't like it is all about the style. I appreciate it, but it's just a movie for maybe one viewing every 2 years. To keep some of the affect fresh. I've seen it maybe 8 times and it still feels unpredictable every time I see it. There's always something new I notice.



    You really think that's glib? Well okay then, go back and read the paragraph plus I already wrote about the film back on the page before this one. You know I gave it more thought in my overall assessment.

    As for me, I more enjoy horror films that are unique somehow. Whether they are high or low budget- I want to see something special or interesting. If you're suggesting I like low budget films any less than bigger budget films, you're mistaken. And you're still separating our tastes based on your "mainstream" distaste. I defend a few "mainstream" studio pictures and suddenly it sounds like you're saying "I like low budget and... I expect for your tastes you liked The Fly quite a bit" (Paraphrase) / What's that supposed to mean? :eek:



    Okay. That's nice. Before you liked the film because you thought it was ambitious. Now you're saying you like it because it's "1975 with no money." Rabid was 1977 and no money, but it was a better movie. So what?



    Well, not everyone notices narrative. And not every type of narrative is something people can connect with. I'm clueless about some things when it comes to movies. It's only natural. I'm one kind of person and nobody knows everything. But most movies can be appreciated on at least one of several levels. And The Brood failed me on any level I could have enjoyed it on.

    It's not about the quality of the effects - it's the emphasis placed on them. The director and the character says - "LOOK!" and I do, then I have to go, "what's the point?" There is a certain point where I'm paying attention to the relationship between Frank and Nola, then we're just looking at her licking a fetus.

    The point seemed to be, before that scene - everyone wants to talk to Nola. Nobody can get to Nola. There's a buildup. There are unresolved issues. There's tension. A mission to get to Nola. Mission accomplished... So how does everything in the story come to ahead? By watching her lick a fetus... So we know where the Brood-children come from. Yeah, and...? There's a final attack and an escape. What's the point now? What's the message? This is a cheap way to end a movie which damn well began with something interesting going on. What was the point of psychoplasmatics? Michael/Michelle? The lawsuit? Dr. Raglan? Or even the killer Brood-children? It began as concept horror and ended in a boring chase and attempted gross-out. It's a huge - "so what?" ending.



    My statements about the film are not me burning it because it didn't entertain me. I think the director only put a functioning story with some depth into part of the movie, the rest he expected would get-by on just special effects as the main emphasis of the horror. But that to me is starting something he didn't intend to finish.

    No, I don't think it's bad to know something into the making of the movie. But too many people judge one movie by insight they gained just because they liked the movie, while nailing another movie for things they don't know, for arbitrary reasons. You seem to have done that with Wes Craven's films. You can like them or not, I'm not telling you what to think. But then, you make statements about the quality of the work just based on whether it's your kind of movie or not. A lot of your statements are assuming an awful lot just because you probably think he compromised some low budget element to make mainstream horror films. Which is a joke to me. I can't take that kind of statement seriously. I don't see you actually looking at what his movies were even made of. I don't see any interpretation from you on his films that isn't in service to the common online Craven-bashing.



    Well, first of all, it's because Last House is a film about human cruelty, not just showing it to you, but setting up patterns in people who commit vicious acts. It's also a film about a degenerating sense of social and moral values. And a kind of decay of civilization. The film is filled to the brim with comments about things actively going on / real problems in American culture - women's lib, hippie hatred of authority, lower class versus the middle class, violence in entertainment, drugs, rape, 'the wrong side of town' (or certain bad areas), male inferiority complex, generational gaps, etc. And not just the story concept, look at the way it was shot. Both the choice to make it look ultra-low budget / documentary-like, and the emphasis on shots of parts of the body to emphasize discomfort and the psychological effect of what was happening in all the really disturbing scenes. The amount of attention to details and thought that went into the making of that film - you can actually see it without doing research.

    My comment about giallos was the same as what I said about Nazi camp and women in prison flicks. A sea of imitators followed and most of them weren't any good. But if I need to point out needless perversion - Torso. The New York Ripper. And lots more. There are very few Deep Red's in the subgenre. And since you criticize "mainstream" horror films for not being a style you care for, I'll just say I don't enjoy bad cheap films with no real reason to watch them. Most directors making exploitation films (in all the subgenres I pointed out) didn't concentrate on anything very interesting more than they concentrated on gratuitous sex and violence. So you get the same style and director's vision (or lack thereof) over and over again. And really it's usually just a 2nd rate version of Argento or Mario Bava. Or more dirty and violent versions of westerns, street crime / cop-detective / drug dealers / getaway films, black mafia movies, jungle movies, James Bond type rip-offs, lesbian vampire movies, voodoo movies, or any combination of the above. I wanted to point out that no matter what kind of movie you like, there is always more crap than there are gems.



    Ha! No director could get much worse than Shocker! And he completely redeemed himself with Scream, New Nightmare, and the Scream sequels were quite good (though they, as sequels, were not as horror-oriented as the original).



    Of horror? Possibly. But I doubt it.



    Yes to the last question.

    No, I didn't say you can't talk about the background of some movies. I'm just saying that the viewer shouldn't have to know things about the filmmakers' personal lives to enhance their viewing experience. That takes extra effort that I think most movie watchers won't feel is worth it. But, it takes no effort to notice a trend or pattern.

    I'm not telling you have to do anything. I'm saying, before you pass judgment (the same one over and over again), take a look around. And maybe I'm damn right about Craven's movies being better the subgenre requires. Are you only concentrating on just the narrative? That's all I seem to hear from you in terms of details... Because several of Craven's movies excellent based not just on high concept, but also in how he sets everything up. Nightmare on Elm Street is an excellent fantasy-horror film with a style so slick for such a low budget that he truly mastered the supernatural horror film. He had more than just ideas. He used music to maximum effect. He used pacing to maximum effect. He used mood and editing together to scare the crap out audiences. I watched this on VHS no less with a friend and she jumped out of her seat FOUR times! That doesn't happen just because a loud noise comes out of the quiet. It takes more skill than that. Nightmare is a hypnotic film coming from a director whose talent before that was mostly gritty stuff.

    And unlike Cronenberg, every single Wes Craven film has gotten a series of very strong and varied reactions from me. He knows how to tap into what the viewer thinks and feels. Maybe that's why I don't agree with you.



    It's all on the main character. I've already said I liked him. I felt his intelligence, subtle aspects of his crush on Sam turn into a dark obsession without feeling cliched - a cliche would leave me feeling that this guy as an actor didn't make a believable progression from emotion to emotion, or one psychological sort of state to another. But I believed it. He doesn't come off as just some TV actor, nor even a movie actor. I didn't feel like he was tricking me. I believed him. And then, I looked at his character. He's a nerd, but not a cliched nerd. He's basically more the slightly athletic boy-next-door type and she's the girl-next-door type. Then, look at the cliched formula, what you would have expected from the movie. It starts out making you think because of the music that this will be like Short Circuit. Nice, sweet, nothing extreme, suggestive of a PG movie. But it gets darker. And it bloodier. Until you have a totally unexpected scene of great gore, like the basketball decapitation, that obviously doesn't detract from what the whole movie is because it's not a "bloodbath" type movie. You expect a perfectly happy ending, you don't expect to see as much violence as you do.

    I'm saying it's a better than average movie. Because it wasn't made for hardcore horror fans, but everyone knows that. And I knew going into it that Re-Animator was the original "revive the brain / shoot chemicals into the brain" 1980's zombie-monster-drug movie, but I watched that and didn't give a crap about anyone. All the Re-Animator characters felt like perfect cliches. Yet we're subjected to scenes of high drama though the movie's already had a sense of humor about everything that could have been serious... how can I take the drama seriously? I like horror movies about more serious issues. Deadly Friend starts out with all the dramatic power of a Saved by the Bell episode, sure. But that seems to be the point. Unlike Serpent and the Rainbow and Shocker, where the dynamic of the film is about a main victim being tortured throughout the entire film only to stumble onto the thing that'll make the villain go away 5 seconds before villain is vanquished, Deadly Friend plays almost like the point was revenge for the girl who was the victim early on. But also, because I got the impression the main character was really about to go off the deep end at any moment. But he's not the victim of anyone. So already you've gotten rid of the oppression of Shocker and Serpent, but also you have a change from the Nightmare / Freddy formula as well.

    Personally, I don't know what the heck you expected.
     
  10. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    All I ever demand of a movie is to be entertained. This one didn't entertain me. At all. Because it's not interesting in any way. It actually manages to be insultingly stupid. Like Red Eye, like Cursed, and others.

    This is a "Best Directors" thread, not a Cronenberg V. Craven thread. It's not a thread to analyze the pluses and minuses of Shivers, Last House, or anything else.

    And I don't judge you based on this thread alone. I know we have very different tastes because of opinions spread right across the board. But then, I like reading differing opinions, it's fun. I wouldn't attempt to find consensus though, because clearly we're miles apart. You're guilty of everything you're accusing me of.

    Craven isn't a good filmmaker. My opinion, that's all. You won't convince me otherwise. He doesn't inspire me to examine his work in greater detail, because I find his work dull, boring, and insulting for the most part. The only reason for me to look deeper into his films would be to find something to like - and there are many other filmmakers for me to dig into.

    It's an interesting viewpoint. You clearly didn't understand this film, and knew nothing about its inspirations. So that, apparently, is the Director's fault - because he should have made it easier to interpret. You claim Cronenberg puts emphasis on FX - but I don't see that at all. Like all horror films, there are set pieces - but they're not overly emphasized, or even more emphasized than other movies of this type.

    Anyway, we're going in very big circles here. I've nothing more to add. As I said before, like in the vast majority of cases, I simply disagree with much of you've written. I like it, like reading different views, but we won't reach consensus.

    I leave it by stating exactly what you'd expect me too. Craven just isn't very good. Cronenberg is very good. Cronenberg will make films in the future that I'll be gagging to see. Craven will make films I'd have to be gagged to see. Simple. :D
     
  11. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    No it doesn't. Because I didn't find it to be stupid.



    Aw, cool. But really, I was just disagreeing with you because you seemed very passionate about saying the opposite of what I think. If he wasn't a good filmmaker, he could never have made films as great as The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street, New Nightmare, and Scream. Nor films as good as Swamp Thing and the Scream sequels, as surprisingly better than average such as Deadly Friend, or as entertaining as The People Under the Stairs.

    Cronenberg has made masterpieces and other very good horror films. But you're hailing him as... basically genius over Craven, whether you think I did the opposite first or not, not because his films were more effective, but because you assume his ideas are more intriguing than Craven's. When Craven has done more for horror and made a bigger imprint in the genre.

    My opinion. That's all.



    I leave it by stating exactly what you'd expect me to:

    I disagree.
     
  12. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    :lol: The perfect way to end this discussion methinks. :lol:
     
  13. Vlachio

    Vlachio Guest

    Dario Argento for me hands down simply awesome!
     
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  14. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    For me, the choice easily falls on John Carpenter. He perfected the techniques sustaining suspense and staging shocks with Halloween, and he made a masterful essay on paranoia with The Thing. The Fog and Prince of Darkness are minor classics in their own right, even if they don't match his two masterpieces.

    Argento, for me, is often too much of an auteur for his own good - he often gets too caught up in stylisitics to bother with the story. And he simply isn't very good with actors - some manage to give decent performances under him, but young women in particular are a recurring problem (except for the leads, all young females in Suspiria and Phenomena seem forced). Now, actors and narrative structure aren't everything, but at the very least, they should work for the whole experience of watching the movie, not against it - which they sometimes do, often impairing the qualities that Argento presents. Deep Red is probably my favourite Argento, but much of his other work has jarring moments - that groaner of a line "somebody who should be dead is alive, or somebody who should be alive is already dead" in Tenebrae, the overplayed and underacted informer in The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, the finale in the Alps in Opera, etc.. And don't get me wrong, I like Argento very much - when he gets it right, he gets it right. He just rarely does so consistently within the same movie.

    Fulci, like Argento, often leaves one wishing that someone would discipline him. He seems to have this anything goes approach where doing it well is secondary to simply doing it (the spider scene and the glass shards to the face in The Beyond are two particularly bad examples). If anything, he is inconsistent.
     
  15. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    No filmmaker on that list has creeped me out or disturbed me the way that Cronenberg's films have. His horror films come across as intelligent in their portrayal of Horror, and that cerebral aspect is what always gets me. Tough list to pick from, however.
     
  16. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

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    I forget who I voted for before, but I think I would go with Carpenter, with Argento closely behind. Pretty much anything those guys do in my opinion is worth a watch. Then again, I haven't seen Mother of tears yet... :lol:
     
  17. Mok

    Mok Family is Forever

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    :spit:

    Oh my...what the...holy...Gahhhhhhh!!!

    :eek1:
     
  18. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    I seriously disagree. I find The Fog to be far greater than Prince of Darkness and The Thing. At least he didn't feel the need to fall back on sloppy FX crud to sustain the amazing atmosphere of Fog. Plus his work with the ensemble cast was better and they were more likable characters than in his later films. In those freak-horror / apocalypse films, they were just bodies that people wanted to see mutilated, mutated, burned, beaten, decomposed, eaten, etc. The Fog is better in every respect.
     
  19. Mok

    Mok Family is Forever

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    I went Carpenter.

    If I could only watch films from one of the listed directors, Thing, Halloween 1-3, Mouth of Madness, Prince of Darkness, Escape from New York, Christine and The Fog are 9 pretty solid horror films.
     
  20. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    Escape from New York isn't really a horror film, don't you agree?
     

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