Movies & TV / Columns

A Bloody Good Time 05.31.12: Ten Directors I Want To See Try Horror

May 31, 2012 | Posted by Joseph Lee












Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.

Last week I presented the top ten horror films to own on blu-ray. Let’s see what you said in response.

Guest#0815 said: No, a perfect Grindhouse release would have left out Death Proof entirely.

Well that depends on how you feel about Death Proof, doesn’t it? I don’t hate it as much as everyone else does. In fact, I tend to think that if the films were reversed, with Death Proof at the start and the much more awesome Planet Terror at the close, it would have been better received.

Sid replied: Coincidentally I just watched Evil Dead 2 (the 25th Anniversary Edition shown above) earlier tonight and I agree. The picture is amazing and the extras are top notch. Great release.

Yeah, that should be the standard for how older horror films are released. I’m really curious to pick up movies with lower budgets like Maniac and The Prowler to see how they look. I’m also curious to see Tom Savini’s best work in HD.

Charles added: For The Thing, even though there really aren’t many extras, the commentary track with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell is well worth going out of your way to listen to.

I agree. I think Carpenter’s commentary tracks in general are worth listening to, even on his less than stellar movies.

matrix1004 said: This is all gonna change when Cabin in the Woods is released on blu ray.

Come on, dude. You can’t drop a teaser like that without explaining yourself! Is there something big planned for the Blu release?

Chris had some advice: Just a heads up, Best Buy has the Alien Anthology for around 40 bucks now. Well worth it.

Really, I’ve got nothing to add. I just wanted to give this some spotlight so you can buy it.

BP complained: You lost me at Cujo. And how can there be a top 10 Horror list without zombies?

I’m a little confused by this comment. Not the Cujo part, as that’s just opinion. But this wasn’t really a “top ten horror” list based on the quality of the films. It was based on the presentation of the blu-rays themselves. I didn’t list a zombie film because I’ve yet to see a zombie movie release that fits in with the others. Doesn’t mean there isn’t one, just means I don’t own it yet.

And since several people already posted what they owned for BR horror, I thought I’d post the rest of my horror collection. It’s smaller, as I’m building on it. In addition to the films from last week, I also have the Dawn of the Dead remake, Halloween, all four Scream films, Tucker and Dale vs Evil (of course), Let Me In and Species.

This week I’m going to look at ten directors I want to see try a horror film. The only qualifications I have, really, is that they can’t have made a horror film before. Thrillers don’t count, and in fact several of these made thrillers. The work on those movies made me want them to try a straight-up horror movie. In some cases (like #10), I may not even be a fan of the person or their work.


#10: George Lucas

Okay, stick with me here. I know that Lucas gets a lot of hate, and while some of it is deserved, I want to see his take on a horror film. Mostly just to witness how gloriously bad it is. I’m not as down on Lucas as a lot of people are, but if there’s one man that wouldn’t make a good horror film I think it would be him. He’s too family-friendly oriented, for one thing. This was the man who put Jar Jar Binks into Star Wars in what was obviously (probably) a move to sell more toys and get more kids to watch.

So can you imagine what he’d do with any kind of a horror concept? Would we get a Lucas take on a slasher film with a silly CGi monster helping the final girl fight off the killer? Would that same CGi character actually be the one to kill the monster? I don’t know, but you can’t tell me you wouldn’t be morbidly curious to find out. I know Lucas has recently said he’s retired, but he hasn’t made a film since 2005 anyway. Maybe if he came back and tried something new he wouldn’t get as much hate. Or maybe he would. Either way it’d be a spectacle.


#9: Mel Gibson

He gets bonus points if he decides to star in the film as well, something else he’s never done to my knowledge. As a director, we know that Mel Gibson isn’t afraid to get gory. Have you seen The Passion of the Christ? It’s a torture film! The only reason it isn’t labeled horror is because it’s about Jesus. If that film had a scared blonde woman instead of the Messiah, it would have been trashed and likely been unrated by the MPAA. As it is, it’s an extremely overrated film that only earned a ton of money because its subject matter, not because it’s any good.

There is a point here, and it’s that Mel Gibson could easily do a slasher film or something similar and we wouldn’t have to worry about it being toned down. I know there are people laughing at Gibson because of his real life problems, but the man knows how to set up a shot (to paraphrase a joke from South Park). If he acted in the film too, that’s just icing on the cake. I’m still shocked he’s going to be in Machete Kills. Let’s put it this way, would you want to see Martin Riggs vs Zombies? Of course you would.


#8: Ron Howard

Have you ever noticed a film director’s quality of work tends to decline as they age? It happens a lot in horror (don’t watch John Carpenter’s The Ward), and it’s happened with Ron Howard, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean he’s not capable of making a good film, and I’d like to see him try a genre he’s never tried before in his 43-year directing career. He’s tried pretty much everything else: suspense (Ransom), mystery (The Da Vinci Code), comedy (Splash), drama (Apollo 13), family (The Grinch), etc.

So why not try something new? That’s my biggest question for all of these directors. You’ll notice as this list progresses that many of these are high-profile directors. Can you imagine what it’d do for the genre if they made a horror film, even if it was awful? As long as it’s successful it would probably help out the genre as a whole. I think Howard could make a really good scary movie if he had the chance. I’d probably see him as more of a ghost movie guy than anything with any real teeth. It’d certainly be better than The Dilemma.


#7: Brad Bird

Brad Bird made his first live-action film last year when he directed Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. I was really skeptical about him making the transition to live-action and I shouldn’t have been. The man made two of my favorite animated features in The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, and a damn good one in Ratatouille. As it turns out, M:I 4 was really good too, probably the best in that franchise.

If he took on a horror film next, not only do I think it’d probably be excellent given his track record, but even if it wasn’t, he’s built up enough goodwill in his career that it’d be called a misfire and he’d move on. This is actually one I find to be the least likely, as he seems to be destined for nothing but big budget films for the rest of his foreseeable career. But that’s the whole point of this list, to post about my own wants and desires.


#6: Joel and Ethan Coen

Hey, we know they can direct a film with a creepy villain. They did it with No Country For Old Men. Sure, Anton Chigurh never cut anyone up with a machete, but he’s a slasher villain. He takes damage and keeps coming, he can’t be reasoned with and he basically has no emotion about what he does. Put a hockey mask on him and he’s Jason Voorhees. We know they can make a gory movie because of the wood chipper scene in Fargo (admittedly tame by some of the gorier slasher films, but you get my point).

They wrote a horror comedy with Sam Raimi (Crimewave, look it up), so I think they could make their own if they wanted. Their comedies tend to be on the darker side anyway, just add a little more gore and poke fun at the horror genre. I don’t mind. Just make something that your average horror fan would enjoy. Give Bruce Campbell a role too, he’s been gone from theatrical horror releases for too long.


#5: Alfonso Cuaron

The man has worked with werewolves before. Sure, it was in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban but he did it! Going back to that film, those dementors were scary for a children’s film. Like the books, Cuaron’s film was a sign that the series was heading into more adult territory, at least as adult as the Potter films would go. There wasn’t a major death, but involved ghosts that sucked the soul out of people, werewolves and shapeshifters. Yes, the book had that too, but it would be familiar territory if he tackled it in another film.

Cuaron has a unique visual style that I’d like to see applied to a scary movie. In an ideal world, he’d helm a gothic, Hammer-esque horror film like The Woman in Black. It’s still very early in his career, so I could see him doing one in the future. It seems like with movies like Children of Men and Gravity, a sci-fi horror film wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility either. I haven’t seen a minute of footage from Gravity, obviously, but the very idea sounds creepy to me.


#4: The Wachowski Brothers

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the Wachowskis have a gift for making their films feel very cinematic, in addition to being pretty to look at. Speed Racer may not have been what I would call a good movie, but it’s certainly nothing I’ve ever seen before. It looked completely different from anything else in that summer. That’s one of the reasons The Matrix was popular. Mainstream American audience hadn’t really seen anything like it when it was released.

While they’re busy changing the look and feel of various genres, why not try something with a monster in it? I have the feeling these two could make a film that’s really good at messing with your mind. Something similar to The Cell, only maybe not as disjointed. I’m not a particular fan of these two one way or the other, but it’s all about what I would personally want to see when I pay 7-10 bucks for a ticket to see a new Hollywood horror film. I’d want to see something I haven’t seen a million times before (which is why I didn’t go see Chernobyl Diaries).


#3: Quintin Tarantino

I don’t really count Death Proof, as that was more an homage to the car films of the 1970s like Vanishing Point and not really horror in and of itself. While I have no desire to see the girl chat with the villain about top 40 hits, I think Tarantino has a love of the genre that would make for a great watch. How do I know he loves horror? Because I already know he loves exploitation films through Grindhouse. He is seemingly best friends with Eli Roth and he starred in From Dusk Till Dawn, one of the best vampire movies ever.

If he loves the genre so much, he needs to get to work on making his own homage to it. His entire film career seems to be homages to the films he loves. You think he’s possibly a fan of Cannibal Holocaust? Maybe he could remake that without all the turtle killing. Although I can’t imagine even Tarantino has enough pull to get an R rating for a film about cannibals. The MPAA are a fickle bunch.


#2: Christopher Nolan

I’m fully expecting a huge group of people bashing me just for even mentioning Christopher Nolan on this list. Here’s the facts, kids. Christopher Nolan hasn’t made a single film that hasn’t entertained me. While I am a fan of his earlier work more than his later stuff (all about Memento and Insomnia), his entire resume is great. I think he comes up with a great story idea, he’s perfectly happy working in any genre. Outside of the three Batman films, no two Nolan films are alike. Inception is completely different from The Prestige, which is completely different from Insomnia, and so on.

Can Nolan make a good horror movie? I think he can make a good film out of just about anything at this point. I’m not about to sit here, geek out and say “In Nolan We Trust”, but his resume speaks for itself. The only question is what kind of horror movie would he be best at making? I can’t fathom a Nolan slasher film, or anything wild like werewolves, unless he had some crazy and unique twist he could throw at it. One thing’s for sure, after The Dark Knight Rises, he’s going to have carte blanche to do whatever the hell he feels like.


#1: Martin Scorsese

Scorsese’s the director on this list who has come the closest to making horror, as he put out two excellent thrillers in Cape Fear and Shutter Island. Even Taxi Driver is kind of disturbing considering the material. Scorsese is my #1 choice on this list because I know he can do it. I know it because of the work he’s put into his thrillers. Cape Fear‘s Max Cady is a terrifying antagonist, and while Cape Fear is technically a thriller, it might as well be a horror as it’s structured like one.

He’s tried everything else in his career and yet he’s always doing new things. How many people that he’d be capable of a family film before Hugo? And yet, there it was, nominated for Best Picture. Imagine if he made a really good horror film and that was nominated for Best Picture? That’s a rarity for the genre, but I think Scorsese could pull it off.

If you have any doubts that Scorsese can’t direct a suspenseful, chilling scene, watch Robert De Niro seduce a teenager:

That’s it for me. Which director do you want to see tackle a horror film? Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week, we begin TV month! I don’t cover TV as much as I should on this, so I’m devoting an entire month to some of the best the genre has to offer. Or worst, if you consider next week, when I give you the worst of The X-Files. It’s probably my favorite show ever, but it had quite a few clunkers.

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Joseph Lee

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