Editorial: What the Hell is Wrong With David Cronenberg?

David Cronenberg talks a return to horrorAfter two mafia flicks, I wondered what’s next for goo-great David Cronenberg. I got my answer: he’ll helm The Matarese Circle based on a Robert Ludlum (!) novel. And who might “star” in this film? Ironside? Irons? No. Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington.

Denzel fucking Washington.

Has David Cronenberg lost his fucking mind? Do I need to soak his signature off my Fangoria number 56? I really doubt there are any carnivorous vaginal parasites in this one either.

I blame myself. Maybe I did something to piss him off and he went, “Fuck horror, I’m going to direct Denny’s commercials.” Are you trying to fill Sydney Pollack’s shoes now that he’s dead? Will David Lynch be doing the new Tom Clancy film? And Tony Scott, guess he’ll be directing mutant-dick flicks from now on…

Horror to David: Baby come back. Cinema needs your icy stare and preoccupation with mutation, disease, and Julian Sands. While you're busy cozying up with Cruise, we remain abandoned in our quest to come up with new orifices to fuck in film.

Hell, even the Canadian government has shelled out some coin to accommodate cancer guns and crazed gynecologists. If that isn’t the life, what is anymore?

So go ahead and leave us if you don’t like us anymore, go hang out with your Ron Howards and Michael Bays. We’ll just mail your stuff back. It’s ok; it’s not you, it's me.

But don’t worry; we’ll take you back when you’re done with this “I’m a big boy director” phase. In the meantime “Long Live the New Flesh,” and that means you, Penny Marshall.

- Heather Buckley

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Ultimo Franco's picture

It's an editorial. People are supposed to comment on editorials, both pro and con. That's why they exist. My advice? Get thicker skin if you're going to keep writing them.

Submitted by Ultimo Franco on Sun, 02/22/2009 - 7:06pm.
Ultimo Franco's picture

One of the problems I had with Heather’s “editorial” was that it had nothing to say beyond the snark. It offered nothing interesting to think about. That’s what editorials are supposed to do! That’s their job. They’re supposed to provide some type of food for thought. They’re supposed to be a jumping off point for a deeper discussion. Her piece lacked anything resembling that. It was nothing more than one caustic remark after another. It was empty. I’d be happy to break it down into individual sentences for you, if it helps. It’s not a long piece. It’s not hiding anything. Yes, it got people “talking,” but not it a good way, not in a thoughtful way, not in an interesting way. It’s easy to get a large response when you say something dumb. That’s not some great accomplishment.

Good editorials provide the reader with something to chew on, something that perhaps they might not have considered before. Her editorial was just the whining of a pissy fan-girl who wishes her hero would make another gooey horror movie. Yawn. Many publications write their editorials anonymously, because they’re supposed to represent the authorial voice of the publication they appear in. Many publications take their editorials seriously. Shouldn’t Dread?

For someone who supposedly loves Cronenberg’s work as much as Heather does, she had a lot of shitty things to say about him. Why not aim higher next time? Why not take the subject, oh, I don’t know, seriously instead? Why not speak clearly and intelligently, instead of cracking lame jokes about Denny’s commercials? Why not raise the bar a little? Why not write sincerely? Why not take all that passion for the man and write something worthy of the subject? Is that somehow off limits? Is it too hard to do that?

Snark and sarcasm are fun on the boards, but if you’re going to label it an editorial there needs to be an actual editorial voice behind it, not just a bunch of whiney jokes disguised as an essay. Snark is easy. It’s a cop out. It’s what people fall back on when they have nothing of value to say. It’s a place-holder for actual insight. Coming up with something intelligent and/or thoughtful to say can be difficult. It requires consideration. It takes work. But it’s worth it! This piece did not take work. It reads like a typical knee-jerk reaction. It reads like someone hit the “send” button a little too quickly.

Finally, we shouldn’t have to know Heather in order to understand what she was really trying to get at beneath that layer of awkward snark and sarcasm. We should be able to understand her point of view based solely on the actual words in her piece. Now, I’m sure she’s a lovely person and a passionate horror fan, yada yada yada. But who cares? We’re talking about the editorial, and the editorial was dopey. All the after-the-fact explanations don’t change that.

Submitted by Ultimo Franco on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 5:17pm.
Terminal's picture

Wow, unfortunately I agree with Franco. Your "editorial" was tough to sit through. It WAS just statements combined to form a quasi-editorial, it WAS hollow and joyless, and it offered nothing that I couldn't already get from an average IMDB board user. It just wasn't good at all. And yes, there needs to be thicker skin had if you plan another "editorial." Who cares how deep a horror fan's love is, or why they write? Just write a good article with something to say.

Submitted by Terminal on Sun, 02/22/2009 - 10:05pm.
Ultimo Franco's picture

Unfortunately? Looks like someone else needs thicker skin, too.

Submitted by Ultimo Franco on Sun, 02/22/2009 - 10:57pm.
moderator Dude, we're all in CRAZY
Steve Barton's picture

Dude, we're all in CRAZY love with a genre that at times can celebrate absurdity. Not everything needs to be taken "so" seriously. Like I said, we ran the article. Editorials are like crap shoots ... sometimes they nail the intended beasts, and sometimes they misfire, but even that depends on the reader in general.

And not for nothing but your above post? Pretty deep.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 9:15pm.
Heather Buckley's picture

Pretty deep huh? Almost like listening to Gore Vidal speak. At this point I would CLEARLY take a stance and say these attacks are dead wrong and at this point flaming. A horror site is not the place for humor? Damn it makes me want to do nothing at all again for this audience...

Submitted by Heather Buckley on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 6:48am.
Sirand's picture

Franco intelligently laid it out for you and offered you constructive criticism. Just because someone is blunt doesn't mean they're flaming you. Maybe instead of getting all defensive and saying that these critiques are "wrong" you should listen and learn from them.

Submitted by Sirand on Sun, 02/22/2009 - 7:44pm.
Jim_McD's picture

If you give up, the terrorists win. You don't want the terrorists to win do you?

Like others have said, there's a lot of people who agree with you and who haven't said anything. Can't stop just because a couple people take exception with your ideas, if for no other reason than to antagonize them.

Submitted by Jim_McD on Sun, 02/22/2009 - 6:28pm.
SauceyJack's picture

Unfortunately, the people who agree with you, who appreciate the approach just smile and nod and then move on to the next topic.

Why is it only the detractors who have the excessive free time to sit and work up the venom and bile to tear anyone they disagree with down? Are people with open minds and constructive criticism too lazy or just too easily distracted?

Oh, gotta go. Judge Judy's on...

Submitted by SauceyJack on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 3:03pm.
gil mann's picture

Oh, for crying out loud. This was great, and anybody who doesn't see that it came from a place of respect and affection should stick to reading instruction manuals and other such fare that doesn't involve heady post-structuralist concepts like "hyperbole" and "not taking every single syllable at face value."

Heather, just e-mail me your stuff directly if this is the kind of response you're getting here (oh, and way to kneecap one of your contributors, Uncle Creepy). I can handle reading the occasional non-encomium to one of my heroes.

p.s. A History of Violence is not a good movie, as much as it pains me to say it. I can't say for sure whether it would've benefitted from the inclusion of an NTSC vagina, but honestly, what wouldn't?

Submitted by gil mann on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 12:39pm.
moderator I kneecapped her? Really? So
Steve Barton's picture

I kneecapped her? Really? So now that I have her immobilized -- Heather, it's time for the fun stuff! ;) You wont be getting away this time, missy! No matter how much you beg and plead or offer me Slim Jim's to keep me at bay while I enjoy meaty treats.

For the record, I love Heather. She's an incredible addition to our staff. All I said was sometimes wit and sarcasm don't translate well to text. I disagreed with some of her sentiments because I dig what Cronenberg's doing now. If you think that was me being harsh, brother, you are obviously unacquainted with my work.

I still blame the F13 remake. It's like a full-moon period that never ends!

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 2:33pm.
gil mann's picture

Oh, I'm plenty acquainted. That's why I found the ombudsman hat so ill-fitting. And sarcasm and wit do translate to text, just not to all eyes (not that she was being "sarcastic" per se). The piece read just fine to me, and my reading level's somewhere in the "bag of hammers" range.

But jeez, if I'd known what you were going to do to that innocent bit of wording, I would've just said "undermined." Poor little figurative use of "kneecapped." It's gonna take me all day to coax it out from under the bed.

Submitted by gil mann on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 3:27pm.
moderator I undermined her? Really? So
Steve Barton's picture

I undermined her? Really? So now that I have her weakened -- Heather, it's time for the REALLY fun stuff! ;) You wont be getting away this time, missy! No matter how much you beg and plead or offer me flan, that tasty weird Mexi-Jello which mesmerizes me into a state of tranquility.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 3:41pm.
gil mann's picture

Well played. I knew I followed you guys when you bailed on MonterVision (or whatever the hell it was) for a reason.

I still say this column deserves better than the reaction it's getting. And if you think "Friday the 13th" is bringing out the crazy vibes, just imagine what it'll be like for sci-fi bloggers once "Watchmen" comes out.

Submitted by gil mann on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 8:08pm.
moderator Dude, I shudder to think.
Steve Barton's picture

Dude, I shudder to think. The early word has been positive though.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 9:06pm.
Heather Buckley's picture

Uncle Creepy is my number 1. Hey I am seein' F13 this eve. I think there should be a forum created just to talk about this film. I can't tell you how many guys wanted my opinion at TOY FAIR about it. But there should be an ultimate throw down of fans and nay-sayers, no one I have talked to can agree on it. Man it should even be scheduled. BRING YOUR JASON ON.

Submitted by Heather Buckley on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 2:44pm.
moderator You know I'm considering
Steve Barton's picture

You know I'm considering doing a follow-up DFF with people who actually liked it vs. me and Andrew!

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 3:25pm.
Heather Buckley's picture

The fans have asked me when I might do a DFF. I now have seen F13 and that I got even more posting from "far out fans." I stopped people's days 64 times. That is really nuts.

Submitted by Heather Buckley on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 6:54am.
hellbilly_drp's picture

That sounds good...

Friday Night Fights!!

Submitted by hellbilly_drp on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 3:37pm.
Heather Buckley's picture

I guess I will be submitting my piece " Why Mick Garris Hates Stephen King Novels" rant directly to you.

Submitted by Heather Buckley on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 1:20pm.
Johnny Butane's picture

No you will not! I want that on my desk in the morning!

(I don't actually have a desk for this to be put on, but it sounded good...)

Submitted by Johnny Butane on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 1:22pm.
SauceyJack's picture

A couple of thoughts here, guys.

This is our house, a house of horror. Inside here, where it's all nice and safe and sticky and icky, we get to tear down our heroes and build them back up. We get to say what we think sucks and why all remakes should be banned from theaters.

That's in here. Out in the 'real' world, we all stick together and go see the new Friday the 13th and if we see any yuppie pukes roll their eyes at our Jason tattoos, we band together and eviscerate them. It's what we do.

C'mon, guys (how's that for an argument ender), HB obviously loves Cronenberg more than life. She's in her house, our house, surrounded by loved ones, missing the man who brought us the real stuff, the squishy stuff.

I loved A History of Violence, but I admit it, and the day DC wins the Oscar is the day I hold the gayest Academy Awards party ever, but deep inside, I kinda wish he'd regress a bit and give me another Rabid.

Been missing the gooey stuff.

Submitted by SauceyJack on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 2:28am.
Johnny Butane's picture

*SNIFF* ... I love you guys...

Submitted by Johnny Butane on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 10:13am.
SauceyJack's picture

You say that now, but you're always gone in the morning.

Submitted by SauceyJack on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 4:39pm.
moderator Offer to watch Memoirs of a
Steve Barton's picture

Offer to watch Memoirs of a Geisha with him. He'll never leave your side!

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 4:49pm.
SauceyJack's picture

Memoirs of a Geisha, me, Butane, a pint a ice cream, and stubble burn...

but it's still not as gay as the Oscars.

Submitted by SauceyJack on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 4:53pm.
moderator And just to clarify ...
Steve Barton's picture

And just to clarify ... Dread Central would never run an article specifically damning any filmmaker for furthering their careers.

Except of course if they base said careers around shitty remakes that infuriate me to the point of dislodging kidney stones within my system.

*shakes fist*

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 2:02am.
Heather Buckley's picture

This will help you with the enjoyment of the interwebs:

Submitted by Heather Buckley on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 2:11am.
moderator Wow. I go on medical hiatus
Steve Barton's picture

Wow. I go on medical hiatus for three days and the whole place goes psycho. A few things:

1. Having known Heather a while, I can attest that this latest piece was written in an extremely tongue-in-cheek fashion. Believe it or not she's one of the biggest Cronenberg fans I know. But the problem is sarcasm and tone rarely come through when it comes to reading text. Maybe if the piece were longer or more fleshed out it would have. Who knows?

2. Even though she's being sarcastic, I still disagree with her points so I am not defending them. I think David is doing just fine doing what he's doing, and I (like many, including Heather I'm sure) live for the day that he makes his return to the genre.

3. Editorials are meant to spark discussion, heated or otherwise. That's exactly (for better or worse) what this one has done. It's good to see that despite his absence from Horror/Sci-fi people still give a shit about him, and that's a good and just thing. He's one of the most important filmmakers of our times.

4. As for all the "DC is better than this" stuff -- keep in mind when it comes to editorials, it's hard to decide what's worthy of being posted and what's not. And even then editorials reflect the views and opinions of ONE person and NOT the company as a whole. It's like walking a fine line. Heather has been with us for quite a while. I can assure you she's far from a "know nothing"; I just think that maybe she presented her ideas in a way that was less than sufficient. We try our very hardest to give you guys the exact kind of content you crave, but (A) -- you can't win 'em all and we are always learning, and (B) -- at the very least it got you all talking and people who normally can't stand each other are actually agreeing about something for once.

5. I blame all of this madness on the Friday the 13th remake.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 10:46pm.
Heather Buckley's picture

The glasses I wear EVERYDAY are in reference to the glasses he wore on the back of the MAKING OF NAKED LUNCH. The point was David is going to be in the multiplexes in a big way and no one yet has filled his shoes on the horror side. I actually dream of the day he interpret the works of Dostoevsky, Nabokov or Celine. That is why I love him, not for his FLY (though I do love his Fly), but for CRASH and DEAD RINGERS. Things seeped deeply in existential themes. Imagine if he did Camus' The Plague? I would just weep.

My love for him is so unbelievable when I met him at the horror con I ran away. But I can not BELIEVE the comments. Do you think that DREAD would ever post something seriously damning the man. I would even at this time say if THIS is the audience then just delete the article, and we will go back to news and I will go back to interviewing. I am sorry for not filling my silliness with LOLs. I had no idea the horror community had lost their humor; must have been the Friday the 13th remake.

Submitted by Heather Buckley on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 11:07pm.

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