Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay's blog

Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: Tommy Lee Wallace

When a young filmmaker’s career is linked heavily to another filmmaker early in their career, it can sometimes be difficult to extricate themselves from the shadow of their partnership and make a recognizable name for themselves as separate creators. When the other filmmaker is John Carpenter, one of the most well-known directors in the horror genre, it makes the challenge all the more difficult.

Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: BRIAN YUZNA

Some creators are so indelibly linked to a certain franchise or film that it becomes the thing for which they are known, and the title of that film is always located in parentheses after their name. In the case of “Re-Animator,” you might think of director Stuart Gordon, actor Jeffrey Combs, or even original story author H.P. Lovecraft. However, you’d be missing the most important piece of the Herbert West franchise: writer/director/producer Brian Yuzna.

Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Aside from the Hammer Horror films at their peak and the work of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, the British have had a hard time making a big impact on American horror audiences. Whether it be the cultural divide, the differing sensibilities in both comedy and scares, or simply the secret truth that Americans don’t like much of anything from anywhere but America, British independent horror has had trouble gaining a foothold in the States.

Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: ETHAN WILEY

The balance between horror and comedy is often difficult to maintain, because they are impulses that exist nearly on opposite ends of the spectrum. A skilled writer or director can use moments within a film to play as both horror and comedy at the same time, something which allows for both genres to stretch as a result. Writer/director Ethan Wiley is one of those people.

Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: ERIC RED

Horror often works because of its outlandishness, from David Lynch to Rob Zombie. But there is another level upon which horror works well; the level wherein there might be something supernatural involved, but the gritty realism and focus on character in the story refuses to allow the audience to dismiss the project as simply a “scary movie.” It is in the latter category that you will find most of the films of filmmaker Eric Red.

Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: SAM RAIMI

Some directors make low-budget horror films because they love the excitement, the transgression, and the lack of boundaries that are inherent in working with such an unregulated arena; some directors make low-budget features in the hope of creating a calling card for their skill and work their way up into big-budget, mainstream filmmaking. And there are those rare occasions when someone works in low-budget horror, gains the notoriety and mainstream success, and comes back to low-budget horror simply because they still love it. Sam Raimi is one of those rare occasions.

Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: MARY LAMBERT

Though women are the primary on-screen stars of both the music video and horror film industries, it is a much different story behind the camera. Female directors are a much smaller percentage than should be represented by population or by talent. One woman filmmaker who was able to carve out a successful career in both was director Mary Lambert.

Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: GLEN MORGAN

Until very recently, film and television were antagonistic entities; television was the inexpensive stepchild of film, and the creators of each were unlikely to be found working in the other. It changed in 2005, when Geena Davis and Glenn Close decided to appear on television series, and the act of creators and performers crossing back and forth between the two mediums is relatively common. But in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, it was unusual that a creator could easily jump back and forth between film and television. One creator who did was Glen Morgan.

Horror Icon Mini-Marathon: WILLIAM LUSTIG

Years before popular indie filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez were paying loving homage to the grindhouse films which they remembered and loved from their youth, there were directors from the grindhouse era that were still producing great and shocking films long past the heyday of the exploitation and grindhouse film boom. One such director, influenced by classic exploitation films and arguably one of the beacons of preservation for the entire movement, is William Lustig.

Best of 2013 - Chris and Kathy's Take

Top 10

10. Warm Bodies
On the podcast, Eric called it adorable; we would have said whimsical and charming. Regardless, if your cynicism is stowed in the overhead compartment during viewing, this should be a pretty enjoyable experience.

9. Mama

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