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10 Great Non-Horror Films by Horror Directors

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Sometimes our favorite horror directors like to expand their horizons and tackle other genres. While some filmmakers are happy to confine themselves to one style for the duration of their careers, others like to try their hand at experimenting from time to time. There are directors who thrive on constantly pushing themselves through genre hopping; whereas, others only abscond from what they’re known for occasionally.

That being said, it’s always fascinating to see filmmakers divert from their perceived comfort zones and try their hand at something new, and this list takes a look at some of the great non-horror ventures from some of directors we typically associate with blood, guts, and terror.

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The Beastmaster (1982) – Don Coscarelli

Don Coscarelli is responsible for one of the greatest franchises of all time with his Phantasm series. He also gave us Bubba Ho-Tep, which I’m sure we can all agree is one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon mankind. Coscarelli has dipped his toes in other genres as well, and the results have been enjoyable – the best of which being The Beastmaster, a cheap Conan the Barbarian rip-off which saw the director tackle fantasy sword and sandal fare with impressive results. The Beastmaster was a mild box office success, at least enough to justify two direct-to-video sequels and a short-lived television series. As far as camp adventures with men in loincloths go, you can do a lot worse than The Beastmaster. 

Knightriders (1981) – George Romero

George Romero’s legacy will forever be synonymous with zombies, given that his Dead series spawned a trio of movies that still define the sub-genre. His influence on our beloved genre is immortal, but one of his brief forays into less scary terrains is one of his finest outings: Knightriders. It is a drama-heavy action film which fuses Arthurian mythology with biker gangs jousting in a dystopian future, and it’s just as good as it sounds. The film would mark a rare change of pace for Romero, and it was met with warm critical response despite poor box office returns. Thankfully, Knightriders received the Arrow treatment in 2013, giving it a new lease of life with a package befitting of its quality. While it might never truly get the plaudits it deserves due to being significantly overshadowed by his horror classics, it deserves to be acknowledged alongside them in its own right.

Everly (2014) – Joe Lynch

To classify Joe Lynch as a horror director does his films a disservice. While his roots have been predominantly rooted in horror thus far, all of his movies have been a cocktail of influences and genre-mashing treats. Wrong Turn 2: Dead End is like a Rambo movie cross-bred with The Hills Have Eyes; The Knights of Badassdom is what Role Models would be if it engaged in coitus with Army of Darkness; and Everly – his best movie to date – is a mixtape of Die Hard, Assault on Precinct 13, Takashi Miike, and the yakuza films of Kinji Fukasaku. However, despite being a love letter to other kick-ass movies and directors, it marked the first Lynch movie that really felt like his own, boasting a lead performance from Salma Hayek which lends the film an engaging protagonist you can emotionally invest in.

Red Eye (2005) – Wes Craven

There isn’t a Wes Craven movie I can say I dislike; even at their worst they’re still passable and entertaining, not to mention the fact he made films that redefined the horror genre three decades in a row. However, Red Eye – despite being a well-adorned box office success – seems to one of the most overlooked entries in his repertoire. A taut thriller that’s rife with suspense, Red Eye is one of Craven’s leanest movies, enhanced by terrific performances from Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy. While it leans more towards horror than his other non-horror venture Music of the Heart – a moving drama which showed the director of Last House on the Left had a soft side – Red Eye is a well-executed gem that deserves some plaudits thrown its way again.

Four of the Apocalypse (1975) – Lucio Fulci

Lucio Fulci – otherwise known as “The Godfather of Gore’’ – is responsible for some of the horror genre’s most beloved cult classics, including The Beyond and Zombi 2. Although best known for his gore films, he dabbled in other genres as well, such as Eurocrime, comedy, and Spaghetti Westerns – the latter of which is best typified with Four of the Apocalypse, a philosophical redemption tale with a savage mean streak. This movie is every bit as uncompromising as his horror flicks and shows that there’s more to Fulci’s arsenal than he’s perhaps given credit for. It’s one of the best films to come out of Italy’s splendid Spaghetti Western past, despite being overlooked in the director’s list of most revered films.

Fortress (1992) – Stuart Gordon

What’s the one way to make a prison movie better? The answer to that question is to have it take place in the future, with Christopher Lambert playing a wrongfully convicted man trying to make a break for it with his wife and live happily ever after. Throw in one of the world’s greatest villainous actors (Kurtwood Smith) as an evil prison warden, and you have a recipe for a kick-ass action movie on your hands – and that’s exactly what Fortress is. The film was originally supposed to star Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he turned it down in favor of True Lies instead. This is arguably Gordon’s best movie outside of Re-Animator, although his entire filmography boasts a quality standard of B-movie goodness, horror or otherwise.

Pacific Rim (2013) – Guillermo del Toro

If there’s one thing we horror fans can appreciate as much as a good scare, it’s giant robots and monsters smashing the holy hell out of each other on a blockbuster scale. This movie bears no pretenses: It’s an affectionate tribute to Japanese kaiju movies and the Saturday morning cartoons del Toro grew up watching, delivering grand scale amounts of destruction and absurdity. If this doesn’t remind you that cinema is the most magical thing in the world, then nothing will. Like all of del Toro’s work, Pacific Rim has an unabashed love for what it’s representing, and in this case it’s otherworldly creatures and heart-stopping action. Whether you love or hate his movies, del Toro is a fanboy like all of us, seemingly having the time of his life making the movies he wants to make and like-minded folks want to see.

Cold in July (2014) – Jim Mickle

Jim Mickle is one of those up-and-coming genre filmmakers that continues to go from strength to strength with every movie. Having unleashed three acclaimed independent horror films with Mulberry Street, Stake Land, and We Are What We Are, he would branch out into Southern-fried crime thriller with Cold in July. Based on the novel by Joe R. Lansdale, it stars Michael C. Hall as a family man who gets entangled in a situation that spirals out of control after his kills a home invader. It’s an intense neo-noir full of twists and turns throughout, infused with black comedy to complement the film’s nail-biting moments – of which there are many. It’s only a matter of time before he breaks through into the mainstream, and supposedly that’ll happen with his next project, rumored to be Esperanza – a disaster movie produced by Legendary Pictures, based on a book about a great wildfire by John Maclean.

Death Sentence (2007) – James Wan

James Wan is a director who can’t quite break away from the shackles of horror, even if he has tried to distance himself from the genre in recent times. Like Michael Corleone, just when he thinks he’s out, he gets pulled back in, as his movies tend to make lots of cash money and require sequels. His horror output speaks for itself, but he’s a damn fine action director as well, and his success with Furious 7 – along with his involvement with the upcoming DC Universe release Aquaman – has solidified his place as one of Hollywood’s A-list directors. However, a movie that seems to have found itself lost in the shuffle of his career trajectory is Death Sentence, a revenge thriller starring Kevin Bacon as a grief-stricken father pitted against the criminals who murdered his son. Death Sentence is an intense, gritty action movie with an emotional heft that gets the blood pumping, and it’s the unsung gem of Wan’s impressive filmography.

Rabid Dogs (1974) – Mario Bava

The Eurocrime sub-genre was prominent in Italian cinema during the late ‘60s and carried over into the next decade. Inspired by the hard-boiled crime films coming out of Hollywood at the time, in addition to Italy being a country facing much political and social unrest, native filmmakers were making their own edgy crime flicks with scathing social commentary, including horror directors like Fulci and, of course, Bava. Up until Rabid Dogs, Bava’s films leaned towards Gothic horror with lush visual tapestries, but here he’d abandon all of that in favor of a gritty, ugly car heist film. Rabid Dogs is a tour de force in tension that bites and snarls. Not only was Bava mad at the state of the country at the time, but he was pissed at the film industry as well. and this was the product of his frustrations. It might be unapologetically cruel, but it’s a master class in filmmaking and a bona fide masterpiece of genre cinema.

 

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Synapse’s Suspiria 4K Restoration Gets a Release Date

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Earlier this year, we wrote about Synapse Films’ Suspiria 4K restoration and how it was available for pre-order. The weird catch was that there was no release date confirmed and that pre-orders would go out sometime in December 2017. Today that changes as we can confirm that the 3-disc special edition Blu-ray collection will come out December 19th, just in time for Christmas but a little late for Hanukkah. Any chance we can have one extra night this year?

Restored over three years, Synapse has been working tirelessly to create the ultimate version of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic supernatural horror film, which has since gone on to become one of the most recognized and lauded titles in the genre. This cut has been overseen and approved by Luciano Tovoli, the Director of Photography on the film.

Pre-orders are still available via Synapse Films’ website.

Special features:
*Limited edition of only 6000 units produced
*Exclusive Steelbook packaging and collector’s o-card sleeve, featuring artwork from Malleus, Van Orton Design, Juan José Saldarriaga & Chris MacGibbon
*Three disc [Two Blu-rays + One CD] limited collector’s edition (only 6000 units) containing a new 4K restoration of the original uncut, uncensored Italian 35mm camera negative exclusively done by Synapse Films, with color correction supervised and approved by SUSPIRIA Director of Photography, Luciano Tovoli
*Original 4.0 1977 English language LCRS sound mix not heard since the theatrical release in 1977, presented in high-resolution DTS-HD MA 96 Khz/24-bit audio
*Italian 5.1 surround sound mix
*Two audio commentaries by authors and Argento scholars, Derek Botelho, David Del Valle & Troy Howarth
*Do You Know Anything About Witches? – 30 minute SUSPIRIA visual essay written, edited and narrated by Michael Mackenzie
*Suzy in Nazi Germany – Featurette on the German locations from SUSPIRIA
*A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of SUSPIRIA – All-new anniversary retrospective on the making of the film and its influence on cinema
*Olga’s Story – Interview with star Barbara Magnolfi
*Original theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
*Special Collector Edition Booklet containing an American Cinematographer interview with Luciano Tovoli, liner notes by Derek Botelho and restoration notes by Vincent Pereira & Don May, Jr. Cover artwork by Matthew Therrien Illustration
*“International Classics” English “Breathing Letters” opening credit sequence from U.S. release version
*Alternate All-English opening and closing credits sequences, playable via seamless branching
*Newly translated, removable English SDH subtitles for the English language version
*Newly translated, removable English subtitles for the Italian language version
*Exclusive CD remaster of Goblin’s SUSPIRIA motion picture soundtrack, containing additional tracks not included on the original 1977 soundtrack release

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Creep 2 Starring Mark Duplass Hits Netflix This December

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Just the other day we shared with you guys an exclusive interview with Partick Brice, the director of the Mark Duplass-starring found footage flicks Creep and Creep 2.

Today we have the awesome news that the killer sequel Creep 2 will be hitting Netflix streaming on December 23rd.

The original creeptastic motion picture is already streaming on Netflix so if you need to catch up – or just watch the original again – you can do so tonight and get ready for the sequel which, personally, I found to be superior (if even just slightly) to the original.

What did you think of the original film? Are you excited to check out the sequel? Or have you already seen it? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Creep 2 starring Mark Duplass and Desiree Akhavan hits Netflix December 23rd!

Synopsis:

Desiree Akhavan (“Girls”, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) stars as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass, reprising his role from the previous film). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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Waxwork Records Unveils Phenomenal 2018 Subscription Package

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Our pals over at Waxwork Records have unveiled their 2018 subscription bundle and it’s packed to the brim with some absolutely fantastic titles! Horror fans who enjoy spinning their music on turntables can look forward to two Romero titles, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, and lastly they’ll have Jordan Peele’s smash success title Get Out. On top of getting those five records, those who join the subscription program will also receive a t-shirt, coffee mug, poster, notebook, magnet, enamel pin, calendar, and more.

For Night of the Living Dead, Waxwork Records worked closely with the film’s original creators, including Romero himself prior to his passing, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Criterion Collection so that they could source audio from the 4K restoration. It will be released as a 2xLP package.

Dawn of the Dead will also get a 2xLP release that will include brand new artwork, re-mastered audio, and more. The same kind of treatment is being given to The ‘Burbs. Christopher Young’s Drag Me to Hell soundtrack will be a single LP but will get the same level of attention and quality as the other titles.

As for Peele’s Get Out. Michael Abels; score will be released on a 2xLP vinyl set and will pay tribute to one of the most culturally significant movies of the past several years.

The Waxwork Records subscription package will be $250 ($285 in Canada) and will open up for sale this Friday, the 24th. More information can be found on Waxwork’s website.

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