CARRYING THE TORCH OF HORROR CINEMA
I love the stars of horror films, but I regard the director as the biggest star. When I saw their name on the poster of the film or cover of the DVD, Blu-Ray, or even VHS box, I felt it was a name I could trust. Did it mean that the film would be great? Not always. But to me, it meant that it was made by someone who cared about horror films.For me, the big four in American Horror Film Directors were always: Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper and George A. Romero. All of these directors had contributed very special films to the world of horror and continued to give us more. Some of their films were better than others, but I always enjoyed what one may regard as a bad film from any of these directors more than a bomb from some hack.
With the recent passing of Wes Craven, at age 76, I now feel like I have been taking these directors for granted. Although they racked up quite the body count over the years, the mortality of directors never dawned on me. Like a child, I thought they would live forever. I always found myself wondering, "What will their next film be?"
I now realize that each new film could be their last.
Many film directors have used horror as a stepping stone to get noticed in the industry. They would then go on to make films in the genre they preferred. That always upset me. I didn't appreciate the idea of making a film in a genre that you don't love. I have so much respect for guys like Wes, John, Tobe and George. They sometimes traveled outside of the genre, but something kept bringing them back for more. I would like to believe that it's the love of horror.
There was a hand full of years that I wouldn't shut-up about how much I loved the horror films of directors Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson. I respect their current work, yet I can't help but to be disappointed that they did not become life long horror directors. I really appreciate that Sam Raimi returned to horror a few years back and gave us, "Drag Me to Hell", a film that I love, I hope that Peter Jackson returns to horror some day to give us another peek at the red stuff, as well.
As of this writing, John Carpenter is 67. Tobe Hooper is 72. George A. Romero is 75. Now that Wes Craven is gone, I'm scared of who's next. Like everyone, horror directors die, it's a fact of life. Their films and horror cinema itself will never die.
If you love horror, spending a lifetime making horror films is a life, well-lived. Which new directors will give the fans the gift of a life-long commitment to horror? Who will carry the torch of horror cinema?
So far, in my opinion, Adam Green, Rob Zombie, Eli Roth and Ti West are in it for the long haul. James Wan has given a lot to horror, but definitely goes back and forth between the worlds of horror and action. Guillermo Del Toro is already somewhat of a horror legend, but he also travels outside of the horror world.
Thankfully, with the return of horror anthology films, such as: "The ABCs of Horror", "Chillerama", "The Theatre Bizarre" and "V/H/S", fans get a sneak peak into the future of many new horror filmmakers. Who should I keep my eye on? Keep me in the loop. Let's keep the horror torch blazing!