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. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    All this arguing about The Thing, when the original adaptation is a better more enjoyable film anyway. Sheesh.
     
  2. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    Gotta love Howard Hawks!

    Just watched Red River the other day. Wow, great film!

    ~Matt
     
  3. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Carpenters film offers the spectacle.... but the Hawks film is just class. Carpenter did so many things right, so many "improvements". But most of them were based around modernization of the film, up-dated attitudes and FX. At the core I don't think it improves upon the original. The final shot in Carpenters film, I'll grant you, is really good. And it's not like the later film is bad or anything - it's a fun ride. But there's never really a feeling that man is battling creature in it - rather that man is reacting to the creature. Or maybe it's just that I adore 50's sci-fi, and my love of it blinds me to certain things. Either way, the first film is where my true love lies. Carpenters film remains, for me, as a very good sci-fi film. The original adaptation remains a brilliant piece of cinema.

    Of the confined space, pursuit/mystery sci-fi horror flicks - there are a lot of similarities between The Thing and Alien if you think about it. But again, I much prefer Alien. It makes it sound as though I have it in for Carpenters' film - which isn't true. But it is true to say that I never bothered to upgrade my non-anamorphic disc of it.....
     
  4. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    Fan of '50s sci-fi, eh? How's Forbidden Planet? I've always wanted to see it, but have never gotten around to doing so. I just wanna know when the hell it's due out on blu-ray. It came out on HD-DVD and blu-ray.com has it listed as being released in 2008 but....no news as of yet. :(

    ~Matt
     
  5. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    Hrm.

    Carpenter's film is a perfect match with the original short story in narrative and tone. THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD is class but it is pure cheese. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, but for me it doesn't come even remotely close to the awesomeness of Carpenter's stab at it.
     
  6. KillerCannabis

    KillerCannabis Slow, Deep & Hard

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    John Carpenter.

    He's been my favorite director for years and years. Sure, his output (or lack thereof) as of late hasn't exactly been great (or terribly consistent), but his early films will go down as some of the best the genre has to offer. The Thing is my favorite film of all-time.
     
  7. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    You got me there.

    As for the rest, I could make a point by point disagreement but you just have to look at the fact that only 2 people voted for Wes Craven to see how much respect he's earned in the genre. He isn't even in the running.

    He's not a leader, he's a follower. It's pretty simple.
     
  8. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Fair enough, we all have different views. I think people often mistake "cheese" for simple aging. Yes Hawk's film has aged, but it's a long way from being "cheese", imo. It's not cheese, it's simply of its time.

    But, for me, it not only comes close Carpenter's stab at it, it leaves it behind. ;)
     
  9. DVD-fanatic-9

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

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    Look, I don't care about bullshit labels. I'll give you credit for the fact that it's a hard-hitting thing to say, but I seriously don't believe it applies here whatsoever. It's about how the films themselves make an impact and how well they work individually. People can say all they want to about Carpenter, but when I really take a good, hard look (and I have, I'm not just taking any opportunity to argue) at both as filmmakers, Craven has done more quality horror films for the horror genre. And I thought that's what this pole was about. Who is the best horror director. Not about what director who has worked within the horror genre at some point in their career is the best. Because again, sorry, but I do believe Polanski and De Palma might take home the gold. Oh, and Hitch. But I've only seen 2 of his films.

    Am I the only person here who is judging Carpenter without the blanket of his action-sci fi films? Wake up, people: Escape from New York, They Live, Assault on Precinct 13, Big Trouble in Little China, Starman, and Escape from L.A. no not count.

    I could not have possibly been more disappointed in Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness. But to be honest, after Christine and The Thing, I'll admit that I didn't think they would add up to much anyway. Both were bloated, tired, sloppy, moronic, over-expensive messes. You guys are giving him way more credit for trying than actually succeeding, yet Craven has tried and succeeded far more than Carpenter after 1980 and gets almost zero credit for it.

    I've heard so much Craven bashing. And it's crap. It honestly looks like people can't be bothered to think up new things to say about him, it's all cut and paste garbage you'd get from IMDb or places like that. You can say all you want about his ideas. But bottom line, they produce. They've produced a lot of crud and filler, mostly movies I've not bothered to see (Chiller, Invitation to Hell, Stranger in Our House, Deadly Blessing, Cursed). But look at the middle-ground successes- in the horror genre, they far outweigh Carpenter's. After Carpenter's Halloween, Fog, Cigarette Burns, and Thing, Craven's New Nightmare, Swamp Thing, Serpent and the Rainbow, the Scream sequels, and Deadly Friend (you're damn right I said it) are more impressive than anything Carpenter's done. And I haven't even added People Under the Stairs (which was still more fun than all of Carpenter's post-Thing horror put together! even if it was something like campy) yet.

    As for Red Eye, it's a thriller. So it doesn't count for him nor against him, just like I don't count the fact that They Live is not a very good film on Carpenter's horror resume. The idea was great but again, ideas don't equal a great film alone. Execution is important, you know. And Craven's execution leaves Carpenter's in the dust after The Thing.
     
  10. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    I agree completely. Craven's made maybe 2 good films his entire career. Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes. Everything else he's made, I've found to be either total garbage, or merely average by him following trends. Scream wasn't anywhere near as brilliant as people make it out to be.

    Craven's only really revolutionary achievement was The Last House on the Left. Brutal, depraved and yet its almost beautiful use of juxtaposition lifts it above almost any horror/exploitation film made at that time. The Hills Have Eyes, while its look is very similar to The Last House on the Left, lifts quite heavily from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Does that make it bad? No. The Hills Have Eyes is Craven's 2nd best film. However, it all went downhill after that.

    Swamp Thing, Deadly Friend, The Hills Have Eyes Part II (complete and utter GARBAGE), Chiller, The People Under the Stairs are all well...I don't wanna say crap, but uhh....yeah pretty close to that. Nightmare on Elm Street, while it's one of his "better" films, simply followed the slasher trend. Craven just can't seem to get his movies right. His style has changed SO much over the years, he simply follows trends.

    Carpenter's different because he does just the opposite. When other directors of the genre were out making gritty exploitation movies in the early '70s, Carpenter was making a sci-fi (Dark Star) and an Action/Thriller (Assault on Precinct 13). He made Halloween in '78 and EVERYONE followed his trend, giving way to the slasher boom of the '80s. So, did Carpenter follow suit? Nope. Other directors, such as Craven were following the slasher/stalker trend with movies like Deadly Blessing, Chiller, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes II and Deadly Friend. His other films (like the dreadful Swamp Thing) were merely failed attempts at something else. What was Carpenter doing during this slasher/stalker boom? He made a ghost story (The Fog), another action/sci-fi (Escape From New York), sci-fi horror (The Thing), Christine, yet another sci-fi (Starman) and even an action/comedy (Big Trouble in Little China). Sure he wasn't successful on all accounts, but John Carpenter definitely went against the trend which I think lifts him above (Far above in Craven's case) many of the horror directors of that time who just followed suit and put out gory slasher films merely because they were profitable.

    ~Matt
     
  11. DVD-fanatic-9

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

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    Yes it was. It's just for a different reason than people give it credit for. People can't get past what they assume is a movie that's just about cliches. It's more than that.



    Okay, I'm gonna stop you there. "Brutal" and "depraved"? So are CAGE FIGHTING matches and that stuff they show on Spike TV. So what? Is it horror? Last House on the Left had more going for it than just that. It was also scary and highly intelligent, psychological and subversive.



    Is that all you have to talk about, the look of these films? I'm starting to see a pattern here.



    I'm glad to see you think it's as good a film as I do, but you've got to be kidding! Look at all the people who say the remake rocked them more than the original. The remake is not superior to the original just because they enjoyed it more but what they're saying is that though it's well made, it doesn't make much of an impact. Clearly, A Nightmare on Elm Street was more effective. In a way it looks and feels a little more dated than Hills (just because of how many stylistically gritty horror movies we have now) but it's a truly spectacular change of style for Craven and it's fully realized too.



    Well now you've gone and done it :D

    No, I consider People Under the Stairs to be pure vindication for what I went through on The Lost Boys. Not only is it about abandonment and lost children, but as a horror-comedy, its' decision to go the route of The Goonies (which Lost Boys did as well) actually worked for it. Those scenes running through the walls are not only better and gave me a physical reaction, but moreso than Evil Dead 2 and the decision to turn the movie into a funhouse ride didn't screw up the flow of the movie. In fact, it gave it one. It's a totally underrated film. If anything, it's a little brainless. So what? So are so many shitty 70's and 80's exploitation slashers. You're going to give them more credit because they're "brutal"? I'm having such a hard time not saying the word "poser." Just know that I'm at least thinking it.

    Swamp Thing is Wes Craven's military / jungle horror film and as that, it's damn sure less repetitive than Romero's decision to involve the military in every monster movie he makes. Yet I don't see Romero taking any hits from anyone here. Give me a fucking break. It's still excellently shot, fun, and Adrienne Barbeau and Ray Wise carry this thing all the way, plus I'm sorry but David Hess was better and more entertaining in this film than that over the top ham Joe Pilato in Day of the Dead.

    I rewatched Deadly Friend about a month ago so that I would know what I was talking about were it ever attacked again. Sure enough, it's still a great and psychotically-underappreciated film.



    Okay, that's bullshit. Yes his style in horror changed. But he mastered every change in style he's had. Not like some other directors (Carpenter, Romero). Although sometimes it's worked against him, since style is all that made Shocker a little less than total crap, and what kept Serpent at average-level rather than above average. "Just can't seem to get his movies right"? Neither did Carpenter when he made Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness. And only some of the ideas of Nightmare followed the slasher trend. Stylistically, it was radically different. Not to mention that the look of Freddy Krueger and what he was made to represent were different too. His mythology and background, not to mention the mood of the movie were completely different from any trend. I have to ask- have you even seen the movie before???



    Okay, you're outright ignoring what I'm saying - this topic is about horror directors and their work in the horror genre. That's where I am. Try to stay with me.



    Actually, Deadly Friend was not made to contribute to the slasher genre, it was clearly made with Re-Animator in mind. Remember- both have decapitations in the late middle, both involve scenes with 2 guys in a hospital trying to bring someone back from the dead, and the college guy with a blonde love interest and is distraught over her death. But the movie is also very different from Re-Animator, hence why I like one of them and not the other.



    A lot of directors in the horror genre have made movies that weren't what they set out to make. Low budgets, problems on the set, and studio interference can change the vision. But again, I don't hear anyone bitching about how disappointed they were with Day of the Dead, another film radically different from what the director had planned. The fact is is it works as something. That's good enough. And it's fun and highly entertaining. I guess you simply disagree.



    Okay, "going against the trend" makes you sound so honorable as well as the filmmakers you're defending. But this is the horror genre. More than 95% of all contributions are seriously flawed. And less than 1% of all the directors who have ever worked hard to contribute to the genre end up being talked about as much as Carpenter or Craven. I thought you were the person who told me to be realistic...

    Intentions are a fine thing. But I'm much more interested in good horror films. And Craven has turned in more of them than Carpenter. I think you're not looking at them the right way. You've certainly said things that are so out in left field, I think you should examine them closely. As for me... I'm going to lunch. :lol: It's getting a little kooky in here.
     
  12. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, it's about people who are essentially IN a horror film, yet know so much about horror films themselves. Sure there's more to it, but it's not the revelation that many people make it out to be. It's not terrible. It certainly has replay value, but it's far from being as good as people make it out to be.

    ...Are you kidding me? I can't believe this. If you wouldn't chop off the end of my sentence you'd see that I said it had wonderful use of juxtaposition. (Do you know what it even means?) That is what made it intelligent, psychological and subversive. You stopped me right before I was about to make my point. I can see why you didn't understand what I was saying, since you didn't even take into consideration the other HALF of my sentence.

    I talk about the way a movie looks as a whole, not what it LITERALLY looks like, Jesus Christ. Yes, I DO talk about the way movies LOOK, because they are looked at. There SHOULD be a pattern there. Whether you look at it on a surface level, or look at it from a psychological standpoint, whether you look at its underlying meaning, yes people LOOK at films. Films are made to be looked at by spectators, no matter how you "look" at them.

    Really, Hills Have Eyes doesn't have much of an impact? Sure, A Nightmare on Elm Street may be a little scarier but it has nowhere near the impact that Hills had. Nightmare was so successful because it came out during the slasher craze of the '80s, and spawned a number of sequels. So what? The Hills Have Eyes is very representative of the state of mind of America in the 1970s. They had just been through Vietnam, they were bing shown horrifying images on TV (the burning monk, for example) and what was shown in these films was not far away from what was being shown on TV. What else, we had Charles Manson and Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz. Movies like Hills and Last House represented and captured a very scary, very real era in society. What makes this different than what is shown on TV today? Well, society today has become accustomed to seeing such violence. (Even by the '80s and all the slashers that came out, people had already been somewhat desensitized.) What movies like Hills and Last House did was bring to realization that harsh reality. Things like this could, and indeed were, happening.

    What are you even talking about!? What, because I can back up my points with sufficient, worthwhile evidence, whereas you substitute opinion as proof and fact? I never praised a movie for only being brutal. (Again, take a look at that last half of my sentence you chopped off.) What made Last House better than the other crappy exploitation slashers of the 70s? Its use of juxtaposition.

    No it's not bullshit. Craven's style changes from film-to-film. It's simple fact. He's so inconsistent it's ridiculous. It's not masterly at all, it's a mess. Carpenter at least had a consistent style with his films, even though he made films that were not-so-horror, his style was still there. Most of Craven's films are a mess. Sure Carpenter's made some less than stellar films. But, I think he's more consistent and has got more of a right thing going when compared to someone like Craven.

    No I'm not. People were talking about Craven following trends, and I was talking in response to THAT, but okay, let's discuss horror. Look at all the horror films Craven has made. With only ONE of Carpenter's films, he made more of an impact on the genre as a whole than Craven did with all the movies he made. Is there even a single movie Craven made that EVERYONE can agree is a major achievement in the horror genre? One that is an example of a perfect horror film? Probably not. I'm sure everyone will agree on Halloween's impact on the genre. Romero had Dawn of the Dead. Tobe Hooper had The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Craven?? (As much as I think Last House is a brilliant film, MANY people don't agree.)

    Only major difference: Re-Animator worked. Deadly Friend didn't.

    Pretty much disagree. You are absolutely correct. I do agree, however, that every director has problems but I personally think Carpenter's contribution to the genre far outweighs Craven's. It was said perfectly earlier, aside from maybe his FIRST film, "Craven is a follower, not a leader."

    Yes, but we're not discussing super special editions of Friday the 13th movies from a major studio like Paramount who could honestly (and I can see why) care less about those films. Maybe with the remake coming up, they'll change their stance.

    Makes me sound so honorable as the directors I'm defending? Again, WHAT are you even talking about???

    ~Matt
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2008
  13. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

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    Swamp Thing from what I remember was pretty horrible. Read the Alan Moore books if you want a good Swamp Thing.

    Deadly Friend was also pretty bad, but watchable in a fun cheesy sense. Comparing it to Re-Animator just shows how bad of a film it really is, especially because I'm sure it had a lot bigger budget.

    People Under the Stairs is decent, but far from a great film.

    Serpent and the Rainbow was also pretty good, but very very flawed. I think Prince of Darkness and Mouth of Madness are better films.

    Nightmare on Elm Street did more then just copy the already established slasher genre. Where everyone else just had the same old formula of a killer on the loose, Nightmare took it in different places. Great shot film as well.

    Scream was good, reinvigorated the horror genre, smartly as well. Not the end all of horror films though. I think it stands out more because of its lack of competition at the time, but compared to all of the horror genre, it's not fantastic.

    Peace out...
     
  14. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    A bit off-topic but if you have the time and are so inclined, get the book it was based on, "Friend" by Diana Henstell... it is really fantastic. If somebody made the book into a film they'd have something special.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2008
  15. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    I'd say They Live just barely qualifies as horror.

    It's not about making the least crap. Films don't get much more polished than Brett Ratner or Michael Bay; they're still hacks.

    Just as an overall example I think Kubrick's the greatest director who ever lived; he only made 13 films. 9 exceptional. But those films will be etched in stone for probably the next 100 years. It's about being thee best.

    Whatever category of horror you want Craven's name doesn't come out on top. I view Craven's films as simply filler or padding to the horror genre. Neither the worst nor the best. If he doesn't make the best how can he be the best?
     
  16. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. Craven may have contributed more films to the genre than Carpenter did, but does that mean that Craven actually CONTRIBUTED significantly to the genre? Hell no. I'd say with Carpenter's Halloween alone, he contributed more to the genre (considering he's responsible for kick-starting the slasher genre) and while slashers are quite bottom-of-the-barrel cinema, Carpenter's one film had more of an impact on horror compared to all of Craven's films.

    Sure Craven's early films (last House and Hills) really said something that reflected American society at the time, but I think when comparing him to someone like Carpenter, Carpenter was the more consistent one.

    And I totally agree with Kubrick, too. Couldn't agree more. Really, he's the only director I can think of that I wholeheartedly believe never made a bad film in his entire career. (Even Hitchcock had some stinkers...Topaz? LOL) In terms of American cinema anyway, I'd throw Billy Wilder into the list, too. Fantastic filmmaker.

    ~Matt
     
  17. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    This should probably be posted under "unpopular opinions" but I don't think Kubrick was all that great. The older he got, the more boring his films got. He made a few exceptional ones... Paths of Glory comes to mind... but he is HIGHLY overrated in my book. You could make a much better case for Kurosawa.
     
  18. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

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    LOL to each his own. :D So you didn't like Full Metal Jacket or Eyes Wide Shut? I wasn't a huge fan of Eyes when I first saw it, but it grew on me and I was able to appreciate it for what it was.

    ~Matt
     
  19. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    For sure. It's just a taste thing. Eyes Wide Shut BORES me to tears, I've never made it through the whole flick. the first half of Full Metal Jacket is pretty sharp. I like The Killing a lot. Most of the time I appreciate him, but in terms of really moving me he just falls flat.

    Kurosawa though, really awesome. Seven Samurai, Ran, Ikiru, Rashoman, etc. All great.
     
  20. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    I think Eyes Wide Shut is excellent and effective. I caught it by accident late one night and was riveted. I felt Cruise's character's revulsion and voyeuristic attraction to both the orgy and his wife. Disturbing stuff.
     

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