It's the Booze Talkin', Has Hollywood forgotten about the horror greats?

When you think of your favorite horror movies, how often do guys like Carpenter, Hooper, Craven or Romero come up?  They are the names behind some of the most iconic horror films ever made. Recently - courtesy of the home video heroes Shout! Factory - I revisited John Carpenter’s THE THING and it was better than I remembered - and that's saying something considering my love for that flick. Aside from one of the most important genre films ever made - a little slice of perfection called HALLOWEEN - Carpenter also gave us THE FOG, CHRISTINE, THEY LIVE, PRINCE OF DARKNESS and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK to name just a handful. Very few filmmakers have had that kind of success, and yet after making such classic tales of terror, the director drifted into making movies like THE WARD. Why is somebody that is such a vital force in the genre be relegated to weak and uninspired stories?

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We’ve already talked Carpenter, but what about George A. Romero? Everything we know about the walking dead was brought to life by this incredible icon. He may not have been the first filmmaker to bring zombies to the silver screen, but with the 1968 classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, he perfected it. With DAWN OF THE DEAD in 1978 and DAY OF THE DEAD in 1985, he offered up some of the most terrifying images to ever haunt filmgoers dreams. Yet even with the success of his early work, it didn’t bring him too far into mainstream horror. Sure 2005’s LAND OF THE DEAD earned critical praise as well as solid box office numbers, but it never led to bigger and better. He continued to examine our fascination with flesh eaters in DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007) and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD (2009), and his work seemed to be eclipsed by The Walking Dead and Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD.

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Tobe Hooper also left a huge impression on scary movie fans with THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE in 1974. As well, he continued to reinvent the world of Leatherface and his family with the 1986 satirical look at the cannibalistic family on the hunt for fresh meat. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, you also had POLTERGEIST in 1982 - even if it's rumored that producer Steven Spielberg had a huge part in that. He also gave us a couple of underrated flicks including THE FUNHOUSE in 1981, LIFEFORCE in 1985 and the classic TV-movie Salem’s Lot based on the novel by Stephen King.  Like many before, this legendary talents later work found less money to put on screen, and unfortunately poor box office results.

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The late Wes Craven may have had the best luck. His early shockers such as THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT in 1972 and THE HILLS HAVE EYES in 1977 terrified audiences. Yet that was nothing compared to the success of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET in 1984 and SCREAM over a decade later in 1996. Sure he had a few less than impressive turns with CURSED and MY SOUL TO TAKE, but he also gave us NEW NIGHTMARE, THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS and SHOCKER. Hell, he even made a little movie called MUSIC OF THE HEART in 1999 that earned Meryl Streep yet another Academy Award nomination. Craven’s love for cinema, and his understanding of suspense made him one of the most important names in the genre. We even had the opportunity to chat about his love of cinematic frights just a few years back and you can check that out here.

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With so many brilliant features from these talented filmmakers, why are we not seeing more? It’s very difficult to believe that given the budget, we couldn’t see a return to form for these visionaries. Hell, look at what George Miller did with MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. With Carpenter, it is clear that he is not terribly interested in making films as he has recently concentrated on music. For those of you that have had the chance to see his live musical performance I’m extremely jealous. Here is hoping that he will be heavily involved in the upcoming collaboration with Blumhouse for a new HALLOWEEN flick. We know there is not a snowballs chance in hell that he’d direct, but there is a serious possibility that he will be working on the score - that would make this fan very freaking happy.

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Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but is Hollywood forgetting about the masters of horror? Carpenter, Romero, Hooper and so many more. Filmmakers who continue to inspire young directors looking to make their mark scaring the crap out of fans. While we certainly have a ton of exciting names currently giving us something to scream about, it’s a real shame that the business seems to have forgotten about the legends. And while it is very unlikely that John Carpenter would ever direct another chapter for Michael Myers, here is hoping we see at least a little bit of the spark that he gave to the original. And yes, I’d love to see another Romero zombie feature. This Halloween, let’s remember just who inspired and frightened us! Long live the greats!

Extra Tidbit: Which modern filmmakers do you think will leave an impact on future generations?
Source: AITH



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