Monthly Archive: August 2014

Is M. Night Shyamalan Really Dead?

Director-Writer-Producer M. Night Shyamalan

Director-Writer-Producer M. Night Shyamalan

Ah, how the critics love to take swings at M. Night Shyamalan, once the horror industry’s golden boy and Disney’s next best hope for salvation.

Even regular Joes who have now become armchair movie critics via the internet have joined in to fray to make sure their collective boot lands solidly in M. Night’s groin.

But is all this criticism really deserved?

M. Night Shyamalan is one of our best horror directors and creators, one who has continually taken risks to break new cinematic ground, even when it might threaten his own hind-end.

As it is customary for our culture to build up our heroes simply to knock them down, on closer examination much of the time it’s undeserved. In the case of M. Night Shyamalan, I believe it isn’t.

SIXTH SENSE  was, for me, one of the most cleverly written and executed thrillers I can remember in a very long time. SIGNS may not have been a masterpiece, but it certainly was spooky and different. LADY IN THE WATER was a risky endeavor, and I never really got it, but THE VILLAGE was well written and directed (with a fantastic score) and their performances were exemplary. UNBREAKABLE was a respectably creepy and entertaining film. [I have not seen AFTER EARTH yet, but will do so soon.]

Like M. Night Shyamalan, I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs of Chester County, and love the way he uses that area’s creepy locations, iconography and cultural history in almost all of his films. As he still lives and makes movies just outside of Philadelphia very close to where I spent much of my youth is a testament to his love of roots and family, and his love of Pennsylvania.

His films have strongly influenced me as both a writer and filmmaker, and his inspiration is evident on my own upcoming film, ABANDONED DEAD. 

Many think that M. Night Shyamalan’s latest outing, the microbudgeted “SUNDOWNING,” is his final slouch toward oblivion – a final opus for a man past his prime and now shambling off into the sundown of his career – causing the masses to ask the proverbial question ‘Is M. Night Shyamalan REALLY Dead?’

I wouldn’t bet on it.

Announcements recently made from the M. Night Shyamalan camp is that Bruce Willis has been confirmed for M. Night Shyamalan’s next big budget picture to be titled LABOR OF LOVE, and the new upcoming 10-part Thriller TV series on Fox UK, WAYWARD PINES  will be out in 2015 in both the US and the UK.

Don’t count M. Night Shyamalan out – I believe the best is still yet to come.

Mark W. Curran – August 2014
Los Angeles, CA.

Halloween’s Michael Myers vs The Giant Sharkasaurus of the Living Dead

sharknado-2-the-second-one

sharknado-2-the-second-one

The recent success of Syfy’s  ‘Sharknado 2′ is evidence that indie horror is still alive and well.

It also opens the gauntlet for an endless slate of potentially zany combinations, with titles like ‘Zombiestein Terminators,’ ‘The Final Turkeynator,’ or and even ‘Sharkinator Part IV.’

We’ve heard of Halloween’s Micheal Myers vs Jason Vorhees. Frankenstein vs. Godzilla. Those are easy.

How about ‘Micheal Myers vs The Giant Sharkasaurus of the Living Dead’ -  the possibilities boggle the easily entertained mind.

I applaud creativity on all levels, but personally I like my horror suspenseful. You know, a little more on the psychological side.

Call me an Alfred Hitchcock die-hard, a Brian DePalma nerd, or just a guy that still believes it’s what you don’t see that is scariest.

As far as shark movies go, there’s JAWS , and that was a classic.

But personally I think OPEN WATER is still the best one out there – because it merely suggested what was just below the surface – and dared to break the rules when nobody else would. (I have not gone in the ocean since I saw that movie and I’m not planning to.)

OPEN WATER

OPEN WATER

When I set out to make ABANDONED DEAD, I wanted to make sure I honored those filmmakers I have always admired, the ones that kept me on the edge of my seat, and didn’t go for the jugular. (At least right away…) I made sure to build the suspense before introducing the horror bit by bit. Not only is that more entertaining, it keeps audiences engaged, and asking ‘What happens next?’

A friend of mine told me the best movies are the ones that you don’t want to go to the rest room until it’s over.

No matter how crazy it gets, one thing is for certain.

Horror, no matter how you slice it, is still alive and well, and very likely will always be with us.

For us fans and moviemakers, there will always be a place in this world for great monsters, no matter how absurd.

As long as their zipper isn’t showing.

Perhaps Roger Corman  gets the last laugh on us all?

Mark W. Curran
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.abandoned-dead.com

For the latest horror movie news and updates on the independent suspense horror film ABANDONED DEAD, please visit http://www.abandoned-dead.com, where Writer-Producer-Director Mark W. Curran shares his unique insights on the horror movie industry and offers cinematic ruminations on horror films and horror directors new and old.
—-