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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    Aht... You got me.
     
  2. indrid13

    indrid13 Well-Known Member

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    Cronenberg.
     
  3. Rockmjd

    Rockmjd Guest

    Cronenberg has forgotten more about good directing than Craven ever knew about it.
     
  4. onebyone

    onebyone Guest

    Alfred Hitchcock could direct a better movie than Wes Craven from the grave.
     
  5. old-boo-radley

    old-boo-radley They stay the same age...

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    Instead of worrying about the Carp's merit, I think everyone should focus on the mental retardation of the one asshole who voted Tobe Hooper. :cry:

    EDIT: I got Shivers in the mail today. Pumped as shit to see Cronenberg's first especially already knowing the history of the film in depth. Rabid was wicked, so I just can't wait to check it out ASAP.
     
  6. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

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    The Thing = great movie

    Craven a hack? No.

    Creepshow is a fun film, but far far from a horror masterpiece. It's more of a grilled cheese sandwich.
     
  7. DVD-fanatic-9

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

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    I know that it doesn't try to be any kind of important social message or write characters that require Meryl Streep and Al Pacino level acting. But in terms of how visually and stylistically epic it is, how effective and creepy it is... C'mon, how many other films come this close to an absolutely perfect horror mood? I mean, was Suspiria about anything, really? It's still a masterpiece. I think Creepshow is damn close, and that's more than good enough. It certainly did more for me than Day of the Dead, Martin, and... yes I'm going to say it: Night of the Living Dead. Everytime I watch Creepshow, it still has the same power. I never get bored. What horror fan on Earth would like Dawn of the Dead, Suspiria, The Fog, films like those, and not be completely in love with Creepshow??
     
  8. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    I guess I always take the good with the bad. None of these are perfect... well Psycho and Halloween are pretty close (for me). I'm just sad someone doesn't enjoy The Thing! I don't know about all the AIDS scare angles and stuff, but from a pure freaked-out scare point of view it still really works. I saw it maybe 3 years ago in a 700 person theater and there were clearly a lot of kids there who had never seen it and they were so freaked they could barely watch the screen. Is it Citizen Kane? Of course not, but I still think it is pretty effective on the masses.

    Creepshow was the film I used as a "gateway film" to get my nephew into horror and now he worships it. And Ed Harris dancing in the Father's Day bit is amazing!
     
  9. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    This one. Okay, I liked the monster in the crate, but overall, I find the stories overwrought and the acting effete (even Adrienne Barbeau's, and I love her in The Fog). And there's a comedic edge that I simply can't stand in horror. Of course, all of these things I dislike are probably necessitated by the fact that it is a horror anthology. And I've yet to come across a horror anthology I genuinely liked. I absolutely hated Asylum.
     
  10. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm...I'd even argue that Hitchcock really never really made a "true" horror film his entire career. I mean, he is known as "The Master of Suspense", no? Psycho certainly is not a horror film. It fits more into the category of a psychological/ suspense-thriller. It's more noir-ish in style than anything else, even though it lands just outside the noir era. The film is not about someone killing someone, it's about WHO is commiting the murders. There's that mystery aspecct to it. (And the fact that some people refer to it as a slasher? Err..what?) The fact that someone is murdered doesn't make it a horror movie and Hitchcock isn't a horror director at all. He made ONE horror movie, and even then it's kindof debatable (The Birds). Someone is murdered in Rope, is that a horror movie? No. Someone's killed in Rear Window. Horror movie? Of course not. Shadow of a Doubt is about a serial killer in hiding. Does that make it a horror movie? Certainly not.

    And about Carpenter...he's always had that action aspect to all his films. I mean, he WAS inspired by Howard Hawks' westerns Rio Bravo and Red River. And, considering he REMADE The Thing, one of Hawks' films, Howard Hawks was a great influence on him. So him adding action aspects to his movies wasn't out of the ordinary. He DID make Assault on Precinct 13 and Dark Star before Halloween! Neither of which were horror films. Carpenter even said that Assault on Precinct 13 was a more stylized, modern-day version of Rio Bravo. (He initially wanted to make a western, but didn't have a big enough budget.)

    And he ripped off Alien with The Thing? Oh please. How can you even compare them? Why does everyone seem to think that any sci-fi that came out after 1979 was either a rip-off of Alien or Star Wars? What ripped off Alien? Contamination. The Thing is completely different in style than Alien is. Sure, something that is not human is killing people, so does that mean Christine ripped off Alien too? No. It's a weak comparison. Carpenter had dabbled in sci-fi long before Ridley Scott did. (Most of Carpenter's early shorts were all sci-fi.) I'd even say Carpenter is more of an action director than a horror director. He made only, what? Three "true" horror films? Halloween, Christine and The Fog? Yeah, pretty much.

    And what makes Christine so much worse than any other horror movie from that era? Honestly, it's one of the better ones.

    ~Matt
     
  11. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    Some interesting points, Matt, but I think the the distinction between thriller and horror is vague. Suspense is an element often present in both, and not really a genre in itself. How does horror go about instilling horror? A disturbing/frightening prospect? Repelling imagery (gore)? Suspense? Jump scares? Some films are definitely thrillers, some are definitely horror movies, but Psycho exists somewhere in that gray area between horror and thriller, as do many gialli. I think that when determining genre, one must look at approach as much as theme, and also, one must respect that genre is never "either/or".

    As far as Carpenter goes, Prince of Darkness and The Thing are very much horror films in my book. Sci-fi is kinda like a template that isn't generically exclusive - you can have sci-fi horror (The Thing, Alien), sci-fi thrillers (Blade Runner), sci-fi action/adventures (Star Wars), and even sci-fi comedies (Spaceballs).
     
  12. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    I'm reminded of the quote Hitchcock supposedly uttered about Dario Argento and Deep Red, "This young Italian guy is starting to worry me."
     
  13. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    See, but that's just the distinction that makes Psycho a thriller mystery and NOT a horror movie. The film isn't as much focused on the murders as it is on who the killer actually IS. Take a movie like Friday the 13th. Sure, nobody knows who the killer is, but it's not as much about WHO the killer is rather than the murders themselves. You know the characters are set up to die, and it's all about HOW they're killed. The goriness of it all. It's a horror movie. Psycho is completely different in this respect. The main character (or who you THINK the main character is) is suddenly and violently killed off halfway through the movie. Sure it's shocking, but it leaves the viewer saying, "Well...WHO the hell did it? What's going on in this motel?" And the movie itself is all about unravelling the mystery behind the murders. It's not about the murders themselves, it's about WHO is committing them. It's much much more a psychological thriller than a horror movie. I just don't believe Psycho to be a horror film because I believe it simply is NOT one.

    And what I meant about Carpenter. WHen I said "true" horror films, I meant that Halloween, The Fog and Christine are the only horror films he made that were not "hybrids" of any other genre. The Thing is more action/sci-fi horror. Halloween is simply a slasher film. The Fog is a ghost story, Christine is about a possessed car. Simple horror movies. I know it wasn't you who said it, but I just don't agree with all the heat people give Carpenter. Saying he ripped off Alien when he certainly did not, passing Christine off as being hollow and having no style. I mean, back yourself up, for Christ's sake. Christine IS quite good for a horror film, and the things it's being accused of are COMPLETELY and entirely false. I think THAT is a load of crap. People who cannot back up their opinions for shit and just pass off other people's opinions as if THEY'RE wrong. Bullshit.

    ~Matt
     
  14. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    Wow, if you have so little to say about the films that you're comparing their ASPECT RATIOS (true CinemaScope was actually 2.55:1), I can't even be bothered. You're looking at the two films purely on a surface level, with only the most juvenile comparisons. (Look, they're BOTH widescreen!!!) You haven't convinced me, and I won't be able to convince you, so I'm just not gonna bother this time around.

    But with Christine, I get it now. All you had to do was explain it. It's made of poop. Good, I'm glad we got that sorted out.

    ~Matt
     
  15. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    We all have different opinions and that's cool. I love Alien and The Thing. But let's be fair everyone rips off someone.

    Everyone.

    Anyone who can watch Alien and not see A LOT of Bava's Planet of the Vampires and some of Cronenberg's Shivers is delusional. At the same time Carpenter definitely wears his Howard Hawks inspiration on his sleeve. You name me a director and I will show or find you their inspiration.

    I try to measure films by their ability to accomplish what they set out to do. The Thing does feel like an updated 50s EC horror comic. Alien does feel like a "haunted house" in space. Both work in their own way, depending on your tastes.
     
  16. DVD-fanatic-9

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

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    Well, I try to measure films by what the director accomplishes, period. I don't remember who it was who was talking about directors being "directors for hire," but not every great creative name in the horror genre envisioned the entire movie from the ground up. If Wes Craven was just hired on to do his movies, look at what Joe Dante and Tobe Hooper were able to do with movies they were just hired on for. I respect Poltergeist and couldn't care less about Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, so fuck Spielberg, I see more of Hooper's style on the movie and he knows how to creep the audience out (at least in his earlier films). And in Dante's case, maybe he just did scripts that fit him like a glove, but who cares? I think people who only focus on what the director's or writer's intention before making the movie are thinking unrealistically. If the movie goes astray by way of letting the special effects or gore take over the point of the movie (Lucio Fulci, I'm looking at you!), the directors should be held accountable for that. Alien had a lot more balance. When I watch The Thing, I may like the head sprouting the spider-legs, but WINDOWS, DO SOMETHING!!! He just stands there. Why? Because Carpenter & co. decide they need him to die to up the bodycount. That doesn't exactly strike me as very deep and meaningful. Or having anything to do with the plot whatsoever. Regardless of how cool the FX look.

    Sorry I keep doing that. I just feel like when I've got something, I should roll with it.



    I said more than that, but I'm not surprised you just brushed it off.



    Wake up, Matt. That's because you think The Thing actually went deeper than the surface level but I don't. Just because Carpenter's ambition was lofty doesn't mean he achieved it. It's a matter of who thinks he did and who doesn't. I don't. I think it's just for show, just to distract us from the creature FX. I guess you don't agree. Big whoop.



    Good, because I'm starting to see a similarity between you and a pouting child.



    I don't care what you do and don't get sorted out.
     
  17. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    You forgot to add:

    -Both films have people as actors.
    -Both films have a male director.
    -Both films feature the use of a close-up at some point.
    -Both films feature an all-male cast to deconstruct the principles of masculinity and are set in the Mother space ship to show the womb-like relationship between technological discovery and maternity.

    Err, ignore that last point. Seriously, with that kind of surface analysis you would be a fine candidate for a career in the MPAA. :lol:
     
  18. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    You are right, but I would guess that Windows was supposed to be in such shock that he couldn't respond. And Doesn't Harry Dean Stanton die in a similar "frozen in fear and waiting to die" kind of way in ALIEN? My opinion is that THE THING wants to be a movie where the crazy effects take over (like an old EC comic) whereas ALIEN wants to be more restrained. They are both great films that take very different approaches to providing scares. Clearly you are a fan of the "less is more" approach, and that is totally cool, but don't begrudge us gore-hounds our fill as well :)

    As far as being a director for hire, there are a lot of variables that go into making a successful film that reflects well on a director. I love Craven for HILLS HAVE EYES, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, SCREAM and NEW NIGHTMARE. But he also did CHILLER and HILLS HAVE EYES 2. Carpenter made HALLOWEEN... and GHOSTS OF MARS. ROMERO made NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD... and BRUISER. Financing, meddling producers, bad actors... it's not just a director that determines the outcome.

    I agree with you that SCREAM is unjustly attacked. People forget that when it came out horror was dead. DEAD. SCREAM gave the horror genre a life and the chance for theatrical releases. Without SCREAM there is no (insert your favorite modern horror film here). I do not "blame Halloween" for all the crappy slashers that came after and I do not "blame Scream" for all the post-modern slashers that came after it.
     
  19. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    Well, the directors are not necessarily the driving force behind the production of a film. For example, take the classical Hollywood era. Directors rarely to never had final cut approval. (VERY few actually did.) Most were simply "directors for hire", who supervised the shoot. Then the footage was canned and the directors never saw the film again until right before it was released and the editing was complete. (A lot were not even allowed in the editing rooms!) So, to judge a film by what the director accomplishes is not an entirely just way at judging a film. Although you can still spot many directors' trademarks in their films, it was the studios and editors who put out the final product. What Angelman said about judging a film by its ability to accomplish what it sets out to do is probably the best way of looking at any film. You could apply that mentality to ANY movie, because every film does set out to accomplish something. Some are successful, some are not. But to totally credit the director on whether the film is successful or attack them because their film DIDN'T accomplish what it was set out to, you're not looking at the movie as a whole.

    See, that's the attitude right there why people pass off your opinion and "brush it off" as nothing. You only focus on the aspects that support your argument, and take nothing else into consideration. You don't respect Poltergeist, not with that attitude. And no, you wouldn't see any Spielberg in Poltergeist, because you pass off Jaws and Close Encounters. You're passing off his input in the film. If you DID take them into consideration, you'd see that the movie is about 90% a Spielberg production. The credits even say, "A Steven Spielberg Production". Righfully so. If you'd look at other Spielberg films like Close Encounters and E.T., you'd see how the focal point of both of those movies is the connection of children to outside forces. In E.T., Elliot is the only person who develops the closest bond with E.T. When he gets sick, E.T. starts to get sick and die. They have that connection. In Close Encounters, a little boy is abducted by "friendly" aliens. Their attraction to these "beings" is their life force. That's the connection between all of Spielberg's films. With Carol-Anne in Poltergeist, why do the ghosts want Carol-Anne? Her life force. That's her connection to them. Not only that, but the ENTIRE film is built upon our own childhood fears. The scary tree outside, thunderstorms, the closet, the creepy clown, monsters under the bed, ghosts. "It knows what scares you", no?

    Sure Hooper knows how to creep audiences out, but who's to say Spielberg can't? Duel is a great example. Parts of Close Encounters are downright creepy. How about the scene in Jaws where Ben Gardner's head pops out of the wrecked hull of his boat and Richard Dreyfuss swims away in a frenzied panic? Sure it's creepy. Look at the theme to the film, it's creepy as hell. Jaws probably has one of the creepiest themes out of any film. The only Hooper aspect of Poltergeist I can see is the scene with the meat and maggots, and where Marty rips his face off in front of the mirror. (All within 5 minutes of eachother.) Other than that, it's all Spielberg. I don't see more of Hooper's style anywhere in the film because it simply is not there. I can't see something that isn't there.

    Hooper's films tend do deal with raw, gritty reality. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Eaten Alive, The Funhouse. It's all about people happening upon unfortunate circumstances. (The kids decide to spend a night in the funhouse, people stay at a motel and are fed to crocodiles, a group of kids happen upon a cannibalistic family). No connection to Poltergeist. Poltergeist is not Hooper's directing style at all. How is it exactly more of a Hooper film than a Spielberg film? It's not. Spielberg wrote the story, the screenplay. It's quite obvious he directed about 85-90% of it. Poltergeist has that fantasy edge that Spielberg has in nearly every one of his films. (Duel, Close Encounters, E.T., The Twilight Zone, Hook, Jurassic Park, A.I., Minority Report, War of the Worlds, even the Indiana Jones films...just to name several.) Poltergeist is a very polished, glossy little horror film (just like Spielberg's films) whereas Hooper's are the exact opposite. They look like they were filmed with a camcorder. I just don't see how the film is so overtly Hooper when it isn't.

    Why was Hooper given directing credit? Who knows. Some sources said that he passed the directing credit to Hooper because Spielberg didn't want it to interfere with his production of E.T.. (He wanted more credit for E.T. than for Poltergeist.) Not sure how truthful that take on it is, butthere could be a number of reasons why Hooper got the credit. Spielberg's PRETTY FUCKING HUMBLE, I'll put it that way.

    I will agree with you on one point, though. I do believe that Alien is a MUCH better film than The Thing, I just don't see how your comparisons between the two hold any validity other than looking at the films on other than merely a surface level.

    ~Matt
     
  20. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    Totally different:)? Well, I think we are splitting hairs here, all I know is that if I saw somebody explode into a gigantic monster, I might hesitate for a moment... that said, I will concede the point.

    That must just be a taste thing, the gore in THE THING still works for me, but I see your point. The Mike Ploog designs and Bottin effects still read as "real" in my head. Still has that visceral impact (for me).

    I don't look at box office either, I was just making a point to the haters that SCREAM was good and successful. Many of the films I love made NO money, like the Christopher Walken PROPHECY. That movie is near perfect to me, nails my personal tastes flawlessly and made no money. I saw it twice in the theater and the second time I saw it the girl that I was with was the only other person in the theater!
     

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