Where in the Horror are they Now? Steve Miner!

Last Updated on July 31, 2021


THEN: We put a lot of time into the myriad of actors and actresses that have graced us with their presence for Where in the Horror are They Now. Every so often though, a filmmaker or a writer comes to mind who I haven’t seen for a bit. So here I am watching FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 – one of my personal favorites – and there is Steve Miner at the helm. In fact, Miner is the only director who took on more than one F13 flick. And while it may be a bit early before the next Friday the 13th, why not take a look at one of the few filmmakers to be a part of a number of genre franchises? So let’s start from the beginning shall we?

Steve Miner began his career in horror early on. Starting as a production assistant and assistant editor on THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT in 1972, he continued to work with producer Sean S. Cunningham – who produced LAST HOUSE. In 1980, Miner was the unit production manager on a little film called FRIDAY THE 13th. And when it came time to find a director for a follow-up – Cunningham took on the original – Miner was chosen to tackle the sequel. And for many, FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 (1981) is a better film than the original. This is the film that really helped put Jason Voorhees near the top of the horror movie list of legendary on-screen psychos. But it was only the beginning…

With the success of Part 2, Miner continued in the franchise with FRIDAY THE 13th PART III. This time, Jason Voorhees took his bloody menace to a whole new dimension – and got a spiffy new mask. The 3D release proved to be a challenge, but the film went on to be another success for Jason and all the young fodder hanging out at or near Camp Crystal Lake. When I first took in this sequel, it didn’t quite hit the right notes. In many ways it felt all too similar to the original. Yet over the years, the goofy biker gang and the jokester named Shelly have all grown on me – as well as the fun kills. Steve Miner is the only director thus far to take on two films in the F13 series, and they also happen to be two of the best.

Next up, Miner tried his hand at a more comic take on the genre. In the 1986 feature HOUSE, he offered up a number of wacky scares, all involving his hero William Katt as a writer moving into a oddly haunted residence. This is one of those flicks that managed to add a ton of humor to the horror successfully, and for many it has become a bit of a cult classic. Once again produced by Cunningham, this feature led to a few lesser sequels, as well as more projects for the young director. That same year, he was able to take on a completely different kind of story with the comedy SOUL MAN starring C. Thomas Howell.

With a few television credits, you couldn’t keep Miner away from big screen terror. In 1989, he directed the original WARLOCK with the great Julian Sands. Yet after that he directed several episodes of The Wonder Years from 1988-1989. And his cinematic ventures took on a slightly sweeter tone with films like WILD HEARTS CAN’T BE BROKEN in 1991 and the Mel Gibson romantic drama FOREVER YOUNG the following year. In 1994 he continued to keep things light with MY FATHER THE HERO starring Gérard Depardieu and Katherine Heigl. And in 1996, he gave Tom Arnold the chance to be a BIG BULLY. In the midst of that, the director worked steadily on the small screen directing episodes of Chicago Hope in 1994, Diagnosis Murder in 1996, and two episodes of The Practice in 1997.

Yet in 1998, Miner returned to horror in a big way. With HALLOWEEN H20: 20 YEARS LATER, he was the first filmmaker to bring Jamie Lee Curtis back to the world of HALLOWEEN since HALLOWEEN II in 1982. While some fans didn’t jive with this flick, I personally enjoyed the hell out of it. It was fantastic to see Ms. Curtis back as Laurie Strode, even if she was far from the Haddonfield girl she used to be. And yes, this film avoided any mention of Laurie’s daughter or the creepy thorn cult that surrounded Michael Myers. But you know what it did do? It had a thrilling showdown between Michael and Laurie, one that ranks pretty damn high in this series, and Miner was able to pull it off quite nicely.

With the continued balance of television and features, Miner jumped on board for a different kind of scare. After all, he had taken on the supernatural, bizarre hauntings and two of the most famous on-screen villains, why not a gigantic alligator? In 1999, Miner brought us LAKE PLACID with Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman and Betty White. Written by David E. Kelley, this film led to a number of sequels, and was a fun little man vs nature flick with humor and a couple of decent scares.

NOW: Steve Miner has continued to work steadily in television, with episodes of Felicity, Smallville, Miss Match and Psych. He took on a sort of remake of George Romero’s DAY OF THE DEAD in 2008. And recently, his small screen credits include 9 episodes of Chasing Life, 18 episodes of Switched at Birth and 3 episodes of the sci-fi drama Stitchers from 2015 – 2016. It’s been years since the director has taken on a horror feature, but he continues to work steadily, also producing some of the television he is working on, including Stitchers.

The question is, will we ever see Steve Miner return to horror? With so many horror revivals hitting the small screen, it would be terrific to see him return to it in that form. Either way, very few directors can say they’ve been a part of HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13th and to a lesser extent, WARLOCK and LAKE PLACID. In fact, for this fan, FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 and 3, as well as HALLOWEEN: H2O are all personal favorites. And for that, I am terribly grateful to Mr. Miner for some of his impressive genre contributions.

Source: AITH

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JimmyO is one of JoBlo.com’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.