View Full Version : Best Horror Film or Thriller from a *NON-Genre* Director

10-07-2001, 06:49 AM
Hey, everyone! It's always interesting to see what happens when a director inexperienced with horror films or thrillers suddenly gives them a shot. Of course, examples such as Kubrick's work in THE SHINING, Johnathan Demme's work in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Spielberg's work in JAWS or DUEL, or Coppola's work in BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA will stand out as the most popular. However, it's similarly intriguing to observe some of the lesser-discussed horror flicks or thrillers, noting whether their directors would have been right at home in the genre or if they shouldn't think about quitting their day jobs.

What do you all think?

**PS: I tried to post an actual poll with the voting bullets but don't know why they didn't show up. In any event, here are some examples to stir up a discussion.

CAPE FEAR - Martin Scorsese
THE BELIEVERS - John Schlesinger
WOLF - Mike Nichols
PLAY MISTY FOR ME - Clint Eastwood
PROPHECY - John Frankenheimer
JACOB'S LADDER - Adrian Lyne
THE HUNGER - Tony Scott
THE ENTITY - Sidney J. Furie
ANGEL HEART - Alan Parker
COMA - Michael Crichton
EYES OF LAURA MARS - Irvin Kirshner

10-07-2001, 08:45 AM
and for sure hard to choose from...i think the only "sour" apple from your collection must be John Frankenheimers "Prophecy" at least that's the one i didn't enjoy too much. my favorite is Tony Scotts "The Hunger", second choice would be John Schlesingers "The Believers"....and not to forget Adrian Lyne's "Jacob's Ladder"...damn, this is one tough poll....;)

10-07-2001, 03:15 PM
Hey, Hellbilly! Thanks for the post, man.

Yeah, I think you're right. I'm sort of predicting that peoples' least favorite of the list I posted would be either John Frankenheimer's PROPHECY or Mike Nichols' WOLF.

That's awesome that you're a fan of THE HUNGER, as am I. For a first time feature, Tony Scott was more in control of his medium there and made more interesting choices than anything else in his career. (Just my two cents.) And of course, per your schweet "Best Dance" poll, same goes for Adrian Lyne and JACOB'S LADDER.

On this particular list, I'm also particularly fond of THE ENTITY and Herzog's NOSFERATU.

Feel free to throw in any other suggestions that I overlooked, but that fit the bill.

Later, dude!

10-07-2001, 08:49 PM
HERZOG's NOSFERATU is pretty damn good

10-07-2001, 09:13 PM
ummm, i got another one, John Irvin's Ghost Story . classic little chiller, starring the awesome and beautiful Alice Krige (a very underrated actress). as far as i know, John Irvin never directed another horror film ever again...

10-07-2001, 11:31 PM
My favorite has to be Michael Mann's THE KEEP, I am a huge fan of the F. Paul Wilson novel and the film turned out to be pretty darned good, once again Mann made some changes which I thought were appropriate, and there were a few changes that weren't (such as how the actual creature looked, that was a mistake on Mann's part that truly irked me) but I love the film nonetheless.

BTW: THE HUNGER kicks ass.

10-08-2001, 12:00 AM
Hey, that's awesome that you all mentioned Herzog's NOSFERATU, GHOST STORY and THE KEEP.

NOSFERATU is so dreamy and hypnotic. Kinski's subtleties and Adjani's timeless beauty are just irresistible. Beautiful imagery to boot. A shame Herzog hasn't done more work in the genre.

I realize GHOST STORY has its flaws and is nothing like the novel really, not to mention being a "problem production" behind the scenes. Nevertheless, I still think Irwin had some creepy imagery and shock effects up his sleeve. Dick Smith's make-up therein are some of the best of his career, and the underrated Alice Kridge's beauty is used to full advanatage. The wintry New England setting is chilling in more ways than one, and nice Philippe Sarde score.

THE KEEP has got some great choices and atmospheric effects. Again, it would be nice to see people like Mann work more in the genre. Good people involved both in front of and behind the camera there. I know what you mean though about the creature designs. Working with a primarily British effects crew with mediocre make-up artists like Nick Maley and Bob Keen may have contributed to the problem. I realize they have also worked on popular films we love, ranging from STAR WARS to the HELLRAISER series. But, often times, they tend to make the same design choices (and mistakes) no matter what film they're working on. (For example, their shriveled corpses in both LIFEFORCE and HELLRAISER tend to have the same "fakey" anatomically-incorrect look, regardless of how both films have their merits in other departments.)

10-08-2001, 12:08 AM
Well, I'm not really complaining the cheapness or goofyness of the design of the creature from THE KEEP, but mainly because in the novel the creature looked like a man, like some sort of transylvanian misfit claiming to be a vampire (but he turns out to be much more than that, complete with ties to the H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu mythology, neato.) The movie was cool as well, but Mann left a lot of that behind, which I suppose worked for the film, but the creature still wasn't appropriate though. Despite these complaints, I still maintain this is my favorite horror film by a non-genre director and I watch it at least twice a month.

10-08-2001, 12:13 AM
Sounds good! And thanks for the info on the creature concept differences between the movie and the source material (which I've never read myself). It's a beautifully-shot film, too, and I always used to regret having never picked up the letterboxed laserdisc of it long ago. Hopefully Paramount will come through for us all with a remastered widescreen DVD. Would definitely be worth the price!

10-08-2001, 06:52 PM
Unlike Manhunter (which I think is a perfect film, Red Dragon should not be remade as far as I'm concerned) The Keep could easily be remade and not compromise on the original film. The creature from the book, as I said, looked like a man very tall and pale and was, for the most part, a vampire. The deaths were very gruesome, talking about decapitated corpses which were drained of blood etc. The creature was related to Lovecraft's Old Ones, the Necronomicon and other tomes were used throughout the book, and another interesting facet was that there were zombies as well. How can I say The Keep is one of my favorite horror films and criticize it so much? It is a beautiful film, rich with color and contrast. The sex scene played out like a piece of performance art. You could take almost every frame of the film and use it as a piece of art as itself. Problems, the creature looks stupid to say the least (however, I do love how the creature first appears in the film as a ghostly smog). The talisman is nothing more than a weird looking flashlight. This film is so damn stylish, its faults do not detract. Check out the book if you can.

10-09-2001, 06:35 AM
Clint Eastwood did a damn fine job with Play Misty for Me. And Martin Scorsese did a killer job with the Cape Fear remake. However, I'm going to vote for Alan Parker for Angel Heart. The atmosphere is amazing. You can actually feel the humidity watching this flick. You can smell the liquor and sweat in the bar.

I think it's a damn shame that Alan Parker never did another horror film. He's an amazing director. Birdy, The Commitments, Midnight Express and The Wall are all very good films.

The Chaostar
10-09-2001, 05:02 PM
Stanley Kubrick's

Martin Scorsese's

Michael Haineke's

Michael Mann's

Alan Parker's

Bob Clarck's
BLACK CHRISTMAS (not a genre director, right?)

Federico Fellini's
(third story from Spirits Of The Dead)

Jonathan Demme's

Werner Hertzok's

Michael Powel's

And On The Opposite Category (bad non-horror movies from horror movie directors) the winners are

ELVIS by John Carpenter

10-09-2001, 08:38 PM
Say what you will about Mr. Craven's "heart problems" ;)
but John Carpenter's "Elvis" is a very well-made, above average TV movie. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. :D

The Chaostar
10-09-2001, 10:48 PM
It's your right!;) :D

03-02-2002, 05:45 PM
I just saw Play Misty For Me for the first time, and what a fine film it is. Definitely a notable debut by Eastwood and probably the best horror film by a non-genre director, IMO of course.

Joel Groce
03-02-2002, 10:01 PM
Right on,Rhett!!! "Play Misty For Me" is grand - along with the music in the film!!! Clint really has some dark shit that he throws at you once in a while. Has anyone seen "High Plains Drifter" - another installment in the "Man With No Name" theme - but really moody, almost apocalyptic. I wish someone would release "Tightrope" as I remember liking this flick quite a bit.

03-03-2002, 06:18 PM
An American Werewolf In London!

03-04-2002, 05:14 AM

I think Spielberg counts as a non-genre director, even if he did do a few genre-type films.

Who made the film, the shark? :p

03-09-2002, 06:01 PM
THE SIXTH SENSE - M. Night Shyamalan
ANGEL HEART - Alan Parker
COMA - Michael Crichton
LA RESIDENCIA (House that Screamed) - Chicho Ibez-Serrador