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News Article

Four Directors Who Need to Make a Horror Film, Like, NOW


Genre is a fluid thing. Is Zombieland a horror movie or a comedy? Is the original Saw a slasher or a thriller? Everyone has their own idea of what is horrifying, and what should be classified as horror. I think that I have grown up with a pretty conventional idea of what horror is: something that aims to scare you, to get a reaction on a primal level. Some giant monsters and a few buckets of blood don't hurt either. Unfortunately, horror still has a stigma, that it is mindless, simple, and isn't taken seriously. Many "mainstream" directors incorporate dark subject matter into their films, but haven't taken that jump into full-fledged horror. Below are four directors whose style lends itself to full-out horror.

Chris Nolan

Chris Nolan has always been on the verge of the horror genre. His take on Batman is far darker  than Tim Burton's was. His breakout film, Memento, involves a man with no short-term memory who tattoos himself in order to maintain memories as he hunts down his wife's killer. Insomnia is another murder mystery, this one set in a northern town where, at this time of year, the sun never sets. The Prestige is about rival magicians, one whose illusion becomes a lifelong pursuit and the other who turns to science in order to create real magic. His last film, Inception, goes further into the fantastical with a process of going into people's dreams in order to change memories. All of these films are just a few big scares, a higher body count, or a supernatural creature away from being full-fledged horror. Nolan has said that his version of Bane, the villain in his upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, is inspired by classic horror movie monsters. I could totally see Nolan taking on a true ghost story or bizarre serial killer story, maybe with a supernatural slant.

Guy Ritchie

Best known for his intense action flicks like Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and the recent Sherlock Holmes films, Guy Ritchie has a visual style that is often imitated but scarcely matched. I could see him doing an intense cat-and-mouse slasher flick, or something along the lines of Ghost Rider (but more intelligent). Maybe a mafia member falls afoul of his family, loses his money, turns to black magic to repay his debts, and eventually is running from the mob boss and a demon.

The Coen Brothers

Joel and Ethan Coen are the modern-day masters of noir, and noir isn't far off from horror. Noir relies on a a dark, shadowy setting to invoke tension and mood. While noir doesn't generally have a supernatural or "crazed" aspect, there is always an air of danger; the murderer could be behind every door, down every alley, lurking in every shadow. The Coen brothers would, of course, have to do a horror comedy. The Big Lebowski is one of the funniest films of all time. Fargo stands as one of the quirkiest murder mysteries out there (with a body-in-the-wood-chipper scene that made "mainstream" viewers shudder). No Country for Old Men was dark and violent. And Intolerable Cruelty was the most horrifically awful film I have ever had the displeasure of seeing.

John Waters

It is kind of surprising to me that John Waters has yet to direct a horror film. He enjoys horrifying audiences with gross-out scenes (Pink Flamingoes), subverting Hollywood cinema (Cecil B. Demented), and is obsessed with serial killers (Serial Mom). John Waters couldn't make a "serious" film to save his life (goodness knows I sure as hell don't want to see him go serious). Waters needs to go tongue-in-cheek with a horror movie. I'm thinking deranged clowns versus porn stars versus piranhas. And rivers of blood.