Despite having only directed one movie in the history of cinema, the impact of author Stephen King on the industry is unparalleled, having helped bring the likes of The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me to life.
An avid horror lover, the influence of King truly knows no bounds, with the literary icon creating a comprehensive list of his modern favourites which includes the likes of the found-footage classic The Blair Witch Project and the claustrophobic terror, The Descent. In addition to such recognised modern greats, King also adds some strange surprises like the remake of The Last House on the Left from 2009 and even the uninspiring film The Hitcher released in 2007.
One of the strangest inclusions on the list might be King’s support for the 2004 remake of George Romero’s horror classic Dawn of the Dead directed by Zack Snyder, a film for which the author holds a particular passion.
Going so far as to suggest Snyder’s film is “genius perfected”, as referenced in his 2010 book Danse Macabre, King added that the movie “begins with one of the best opening sequences of a horror film ever made”. Describing the opening of the film that starts with Ana (Sarah Polley) in bed with her husband when a strange outbreak occurs outside, King recalls “in the Snyder version, the zombies move fast” as the protagonist grabs her car keys and dashes out the front door.
Facing off against the suburban carnage, Ana is faced with pure terror as her neighbourhood is overrun with bloodthirsty, mindless zombies. “I’d argue that the most effective terror sequences are either the result of instinct or pure accident rather than screenwriting or direction, and that’s the case here,” King asserts.
In the more recent filmmaking landscape, King exclaimed his love for a new 2022 horror film in Ti West’s X starring Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow and Kid Cudi, taking to Twitter to voice his excitement. “X is an extremely good horror movie,” the writer and horror-lover wrote, adding that he thought the movie was, “Scary, smart, knowing. Oh. And entertaining”.
Largely omitted from conversations about modern horror filmmakers, Ti West is a writer and director who rose to prominence at the turn of the new century with low-budget, low-quality horror fodder, including The Roost, Trigger Man and Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever. Sandwiched in-between these somewhat compulsory industry stepping stones, however, was 2009’s The House of the Devil, a distinctive, eccentric modern question mark that would illustrate the promise of the fervent filmmaker.
His brand new film comes after a six-year hiatus from feature filmmaking, having released In a Valley of Violence in 2016 with John Travolta, Ethan Hawke and Karen Gillan.
Take a look at the trailer for X, below, a film about a group of young filmmakers who head to rural Texas to make an adult film only to become embroiled in something much darker.