7 Respected Directors Who Did Horror

Shane Meadows has confirmed that his next project will be a horror movie.

While he came close with Dead Man's Shoes , it's his first solid stab at the genre.

And he's definitely not the first director to surprise us by getting into the horror business.

Here are a few helmers who ventured into a genre that got no respect at the time...

Stanley Kubrick

The Reputation:
Having built up an impressive roster across various genres, including historical ( Spartacus ), black comedy ( Dr Strangelove ) and science fiction ( 2001 ), Kubrick had cemented his rep for intelligent, verging on highbrow stylised film.

Originally known for stark realism, he moved via Lolita into more of a surreal feel that would dominate later movies.

The Horror Flick: The Shining (1980)

Adapted from Steven King’s novel, it finds writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) and his family headed to the isolated Overlook Hotel for a winter stay, only to have paranormal forces turn Jack into an axe-wielding loon.

The Signature Move:
Aside from his now legendary perfectionism (more than a hundred takes on one shot), the film bears out his obsession with long parallel walls.

It also has what Roger Ebert describes as The Kubrick Stare, with a character – in this case Torrance – staring into camera as he goes mad, with his head down and his eyes looking up.

The Critical Response:
It was a critical flop but a commercial success.

Among its detractors was King, who said the director was: “A man who thinks too much and feels too little.”

Variety slated it, saying, “With everything to work with, director Stanley Kubrick has teamed with jumpy Jack Nicholson to destroy all that was so terrifying about Stephen King's bestseller.”

Next: Hitchcock  

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Next: Coppola  

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Next: Friedkin

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Next: Siegel


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Next: De Palma

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He's also known for his homaging of other directors - Hitchcock is all over both Sisters and Carrie .

The Critical Response : Sisters had a mixed reaction – Roger Ebert, though, seemed taken with it. “The movie works not so much because of the twists and turns and complications as because of the performances.”

But it’s largely been seen as a B-Movie.

Carrie , on the other hand was a sensation, grabbing massively positive reviews, with New West magazine proclaiming: “It's a horror classic, and years from now it will still be written and argued about, and it will still be scaring the daylights out of new generations of moviegoers.”

Next: Kenneth Branagh


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