Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Remember John Carpenter? How bout Wes Craven or George Romero? Whatever happened to those guys? ; the guys who made the horror genre what it is today. Why have they suddenly started making terrible movies and when exactly did they lose their talent?
It's a funny thing. It's like these dudes set the bar for horror then new filmmakers came along in their wake and raised that bar and now, those legendary filmmakers cannot raise the bar even further or even regain their foothold. What's going on here?! Is it that their films were only really good for the time they were made in? Or maybe the bar has been raised so high that those older directors no longer seem good? But either of these can't be the case. Movies like Dawn of the Dead, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street still hold up to this day and are in fact better then most of the stuff we've seen since. Movies such as Red Eye or Diary of the Dead would not have been any good back in the old days either so it's not like these guys styles have just become old hat and boring. Somewhere along the lines, they changed. Guys who once made kickass genre classics have started making crap that even their copycat directors can easily trump. Maybe its the bigger budgets and inflated egos that come with success and no longer having to prove yourself. Who knows. Again I ask, what the fuck is going on here!?
Note : Ghosts of Mars and Cursed may be in your top 10 favorite films of all time and you may think these guys careers are still alive and well and you may also think i'm a jerkoff for suggesting they're not but for one, they're not, for two, yes I am a jerkoff, and for three these are merely my own personal opinions. Although i'm sure most will agree with me on all these points.
John Carpenter 1976-1996
Carpenter burst onto the scene in the late 70's with classics like Assault on Precinct 13 and Halloween. He then went on over the next several years to churn out The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing, Chrstine, Prince of Darkness, and They Live, among others. Most genre fans would agree that these films are some of the best of the best in the horror genre. But after 1996's Escape From L.A, Carpenter made the duds Vampires and Ghosts of Mars, the latter starring Ice Cube. What the fuck happened! Carpenter managed to pull out a pretty decent season 1 Masters of Horror episode titled Cigarette Burns in 2005 but his second effort, Pro-Life in 2006, was absolute garbage. From Halloween to Ghosts of Mars, John? Really? He's currently working on the films Scared Straight (starring Nic Cage), The Prince, and L.A Gothic. Please, Mr. Carpenter, give us something good again. We know it's in you.
Wes Craven 1972-1996
I'm being generous on this one. Several years and several bad films (New Nightmare, Vampire in Brooklyn) passed between People Under The Stairs and Scream, but Scream was pretty good and pretty much re-invented the horror genre, so we'll say Craven still had something going for him up to 96. Remember when this dude was the undisputed king of horror! He gave us Freddy Krueger! He gave us Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes! He gave us...Cursed!? What?! What happened here, Wes? In 2005, he released both Cursed and Red Eye, two of the worst horror movies of that year. I just can't understand how a guy so innovative in the genre resorted to making this stuff. Was it merely for a new wing on his house? Or has he truly lost all the talent he had in his early years? I think the problem with his career path is pretty simple. In his early efforts, Craven wrote the films. In his later efforts, Craven has had others write them for him. Could this be the problem? I think so. Thankfully, he returns next year with 25/8, a film which he himself has written. Will this be the grand return of Wes Craven to good horror we've all been waiting for? I sure hope so. We're all rootin for ya.
George A. Romero 1968-2005
Unlike the above two, Romero lost his edge only recently. And it was Diary of the Dead that was film he jumped the shark on. Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, The Crazies, Creepshow, Monkey Shines. Romero's list of good movies goes on and on. Even Land of the Dead was pretty good. But what the fuck was Diary!? That movie is pure and utter crap and is almost as bad as the recent remake of his film Day of the Dead. The guy who wrote the book on how to make a zombie movie looks like he's now trying to write the book on how to not make a zombie movie. Out of all the great movies he's made to sequalize, he's currently working on Diary 2! I love you George but what the fuck are you doing! Show us what you're made of! Show us you're not too old to entertain us! Or maybe you just plain are too old to entertain us. Will Land of the Dead forever remain the last good film in Romero's resume? Only time will tell. But all due respect George, time may be runnin out, so give us one last masterpiece, will ya?
A common link i've found between all three of these guys latest films is the use of CGI. Carpenter used it in Pro-Life, Craven used in Cursed, Romero used it in Land of the Dead. These guys used to be all about awesome practical effects and it's sad to see them take the CG route. While not the direct cause of their films sucking lately, it certaintly hasn't helped.
I'm not trying to bash here. I love these guys and I truly hope they can start making good movies again. Then again, maybe it's kind of appropriate for their careers to die right in front of our very eyes. A fitting way to go out for a horror director, perhaps.