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James Wan is the Most Important Horror Director of the Last 20 Years

James Wan

A couple of weeks ago William Bibbiani, a writer over at Blumhouse, wrote an article celebrating contemporary Masters of Horror. Among those celebrated were James Wan, Guillermo del Toro, Chan-Wook Park, Lucky McKee and Adam Wingard (I would have added Mike Flanagan, but that’s just me). All of these directors have made great films. They have also made some not-so-great films. Out of all of them, Wan is the one who has emerged to be the most impressive and important horror director of the last 20 years (no offense to the others intended). To give credit where it’s due: much of Wan’s success must be owed to the handful of scripts written by Leigh Whannell, but Wan simply shines as a director (and screenwriter) and deserves to be ranked with John Carpenter, George A. Romero and Dario Argento as a Master of Horror.

First, let’s look at the criteria. Bibbiani posits that in order to be considered a Master of Horror, the director must meet all of the following criteria:

A) They must have directed at least one truly brilliant horror movie.
B) They must have directed multiple films in the horror genre (or at least genres closely related to it, like psychological thrillers).
C) They must have only risen to prominence within the genre over the last 20 years.
D) They must have consistently directed good, great or at the very least interesting horror films.

Let’s start at the top, shall we? Wan has directed eight feature length films, six of which have been horror films.  His directorial debut was for the low budget horror film Stygian, about a couple who get trapped in another world known as Exile. First, I have tried to find a copy of this, be it hard copy or digital copy, and it just doesn’t seem to exist. It was from his early days in Melbourne, Australia and has apparently fallen off the face of the earth (James if you’re reading this, I would love a copy).

His feature length directorial debut would be 2004’s Saw. Of course, the Saw franchise is now synonymous with torture porn, but Wan’t first installment (the only one he directed) could certainly be considered brilliant. The fact that it started the trend of torture porn is puzzling when you consider that the first film really isn’t that gory, but it is what it is. The massive success of the film ($55 million domestic gross on a $1 million budget) shot Wan (and his screenwriting partner Leigh Whannell) to immediate stardom.

James Wan Saw

After the success of Saw, Wan opted not to direct the sequel (or any of them, for that matter) and instead turned his attention to Dead Silence in 2007, also co-written by Whannell. While far from a terrible film, it was the result of forced creativity due to a deal brokered by Wan and Whannel with their agents in case Saw was a flop. Basically, they promised a second film but had no ideas in mind for a script, so Whannell locked himself in his apartment and churned out a script. Their hearts clearly aren’t in the film and it shows. They got as much mileage out of those creepy ventriloquist dolls as they could though. 2007 also saw the release of Death Sentence, the Kevin Bacon revenge thriller that would be Wan’s first foray into a genre outside of horror. Based on the novel by Brian Garfield (which was his sequel to Death Wish), the film was a critical and commercial flop. This prompted Wan to take a break for a few years before returning to his horror roots with Insidious in 2010.

Insidious was when the world knew that Wan wasn’t just a one-trick pony. Wan knew that Saw is what people knew him for, and he didn’t want his name to be synonymous with blood and gore. Thus, Insidious was born. Once again working off a script by Whannell, Wan wanted to make a horror movie that used actual scares to terrify the audience, as opposed to viscera. He succeeded, as Insidious remains one of the best and most terrifying films to be released in the last decade (and that third act is amazing, screw the haters).

In 2013 Wan served us his one-two punch of The Conjuring (released in July) and Insidious: Chapter 2 (released in September). As many people already know, The Conjuring is a near-perfect film that doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel of modern horror, but spins the wheel remarkably well. It is Wan’s best-reviewed film and finally got mainstream audiences and the majority of critics to finally see Wan’s talent.

Insidious: Chapter 2, on the other hand, was a slight misstep for the director. While by no means as atrocious as the reviews would have you believe, it is goofier than the first film, giving a lackluster backstory to the first film’s secondary villain The Bride in Black. The film tied in with the first film well, but at the end of the day it’s just an inferior sequel. If you haven’t tried it yet, I would highly recommend watching it back-to-back with Insidious, as it works far better viewing those two movies as one (which is what Wan intended anyway).

James Wan The Conjuring

He left the genre again to film Furious 7, the latest installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise. It was here that he had to deal with the tragic death of Paul Walker mid-production while also focusing on making a good movie. Audiences seemed to think he did a great job, as that sequel went on to gross $353 million domestically, the most of any movie in the franchise. It’s sad to say that Walker’s death no doubt had a large impact on the box office returns, but it at least proved that Wan was capable of delivering a solid film that wasn’t a horror movie, even amidst a tragedy.

This brings us to 2016, when Wan returned to the horror genre again with The Conjuring 2 (read my review). It would be understandable to assume that Wan would pull out another Insidious: Chapter 2 on us, but if you’ve seen the film you know very well that that is not the case. The Conjuring 2 is a great film, let along a great sequel. He brought back characters the audience loves while still managing to scare the pants off of them.

Apologies for the lengthy history lesson, but it is important to fully grasp all that Wan has achieved during his 12 years in the film industry in order to understand his significance to the horror genre. . This isn’t even taking into account the horror films that Wan has served as producer on (all of the Saw sequels, AnnabelleDemonic, the upcoming Lights Out).

What makes Wan so important is that he is putting horror in the public’s eye without compromising his vision. More often than not, you see studios toying with horror films until the original vision is unrecognizable (just look at 2011’s The Thing or Fincher’s Alien 3). Wan has proved that he knows what he is doing, and studios are just letting him roll with it. With the exception of Dead Silence, Wan is in complete control of the film he is working on. So specific is his directing stile that you would be able to tell that you are watching a Wan-directed film even if you didn’t know it going in.

While a lot of this is due to the scripts that Wan has had to work with (some of which he has co-written), it is a testament to his skills as a director that he is able to deliver characters that the audience actually cares about. Whether it’s Ed and Lorraine Warren or the Lambert family, Wan has created characters that the audience empathizes with, a trait in horror films that too often gets forgotten.

James Wan

While box office success isn’t necessarily a factor that should determine a Master of Horror, it is still important to note that Wan’s films are delivered to the mainstream and watched by them. Independent horror is a wonderful contribution to the genre, but more often than not those films aren’t as easily accessible to audiences. It is important for a Master of Horror to have his or her films seen by a wide audience in order to keep horror in the public eye (and have them see that it can be good).

The key to Wan’s success is consistency and frequency. Wan doesn’t stop churning out movies and the fact that most of them are as good as they are is a testament to Wan’s talen as a director. All of the Masters of Horror that Bibbiani mentioned have had some issues with consistency. Del Toro has hit a bit of a slump recently with Pacific Rim and FX’s The Strain. With the exception of The Woman, McKee hasn’t made a decent movie since May in 2002.

Wingard has made some strong films (the best being 2011’s You’re Next), but they aren’t in the public eye nearly as much as Wan’s are. Of course, this may all change if early reactions to The Woods are to be believed. Bear in mind, I’m not saying that Wingard’s tendency towards indie projects is a negative (as I mentioned above), but that does mean that less people are exposed to his work.

I brought up Flanagan because he has yet to make a bad film (Oculus and Hush haters gonna hate). His debut feature, Absentia, is particularly impressive. It’s too early to call him a Master of Horror though. We’ll have to see where his career takes him in a few years (though if he’s able to make a good Ouija film he may seal the deal right there).

To top it all off: Wan is nice. Seriously, have you ever seen this guy in an interview? It’s clear that he has an insane amount of passion for his work. He gets so excited when talking about his films that you can’t help but be excited for everything he gets his hands on. This isn’t to say that the other directors that Bibbiani mentioned aren’t nice as well, but they lack the charisma that Wan exudes.

James Wan will be leaving the horror genre for a while to turn his attention to Aquaman (which is the main reason to believe that it won’t be terrible), but one hopes that he returns to the genre that he is best at directing after that. The genre (and fans of the genre) need him.

What are your thoughts on Wan. Do you agree that he is the most important horror director working in the industry today? Or do you think someone else deserves the title? Let us know in the comments below!


246 Comments
  • La Molcajete

    I admittedly didn’t read the article because the title is so ridiculous. Wan is the most overrated horror director out there. Dolls and jumpscares, that’s all he’s got. I actually enjoyed the conjuring series minus the over the top moments and insidious 1 was good til like midway thru, but I can’t be the only one who gets the two mixed up lol they’re damn near identical. There’s so many other great horror directors out there that actually put out original and unique content

    • Maybe read the article at least. It’s cool that you disagree (that’s the beauty of an opinion), but it’s just a suggestion.

      • La Molcajete

        I’ve read it since, still feel the same way about Wan.

  • Ruben

    I think you guys mean the most mediocre generic recycled director.

  • Mehliens

    Ben Wheatley wipes the floor with James Wan

    • EvilHead1981

      Who?

      • ScabieBaby

        Some nobody who directed a bunch of shit.

        • Mehliens

          Nobody and shit? You seem a little uninformed and confused, thats ok

          • La Molcajete

            I love Wheatley but he is still somewhat of a nobody to the masses. Maybe if he donned a hot pink emo hairstyle like Wan the hot topic crowd would start paying more attention to him. Talk about brilliant, Kill List anyone?

          • Batmanfanboy

            Ugh.. Wheatley sucks, Kill List was garbage and High-Rise was an absolute piece of trash.

          • Mehliens

            The only thing that is really sure is that your communication skills are are even worse

          • La Molcajete

            Your handle gives away your obvious status as a troll

          • Batmanfanboy

            Because I like Batman, lol ok.
            Listen, Kill List was a slick movie, but as a story, it was shit.
            High Rise was one of the most dissapointing movies I have EVER seen. I have never seen a more potentially interesting story botched so fucking badly. It was like Snowpiercer but without the brilliance.

          • Mehliens

            Since I read the book multiple times I can tell you the story is not botched at all. The film is faithful to the tone and style of the original story which is quite an accomplishment since JG Ballard isnt easy to adapt. (see CRASH). Lots of weirdness and confusing shit is needed to happen or else its not Ballardian. Even if I’d give you the argument that the story was botched the technical side of the film is brilliant. Audacious filmmaking, masterful editing and and direction making it a hypnotizing kaleidoscopic experience by itself. I simply don’t see why Snowpiercer is hyped so much. Its not a bad film but thats about it. It has unnecessary shots all through the film that are eyeball burningly bad and pointless, it is missing every chance to be really original and some of its “twists” are so half assed and lame that it made me cringe for a day after watching it.

          • Mehliens

            Also I didn’t post it here to defend Wheatley. My argument is that Wheatley as director mops the floor with Wan any day. Its not hard to see that. His films are interesting as horror films and art pieces at the same time and much more audaciously made and better written in any conceivable way.

          • Batmanfanboy

            Well the article isn’t called the best director, it’s called the most important. Both Wheatley’s genre efforts can barely be called horror and were poorly received by most and made no significant impact anywhere. So he isn’t all that important. He makes niche films for pretentious horror fans at most.

          • Mehliens

            Niche? Barely horror? Pretentious? I’m really sorry for your definition of horror then, you clearly don’t understand the genre. Cheap jump scare popcorn flicks don’t register as horror with me. The only horror with those is how bad they are. Wheatley did already more for horror than Wan will ever do.

          • Batmanfanboy

            If you think High-Rise was a good movie or anywhere near horror your taste is simply awful. Kill List COULD eb classified as horror but just barely. It was a solid, stylish but mumbly flick with an ending that was bad enough to derail the whole film. That is why nobody talks about it. I usually seek out indy and foreign horror flicks to get my fill but there is no denying that Wan is making the best Hollywood horror flicks in years.

          • Mehliens

            There is a genre called existential horror. High Rise does firmly belong into that category.

          • Mehliens

            The horror genre in genre has always been “pretentious”. In other words it was mostly social / political. The jump scare films made in hollywood like Wan’s ghost flicks are not horror they are just forgettable expensive nonsense. They are 100% unimportant and lame.

          • Batmanfanboy

            Well you are an idiot then with no perspective. If every horror film was as dull as a Wheatley flick then horror would have died decades ago. So thanks for your shit opinion but horror is just fine without your involvement.

          • alwayswipetwice

            As far as mainstream horror goes – Wan has no competition and consistently makes a shitload of money with his movie adaptations of haunted houses. He’s got a strong technical competency but his stories are nothing and his characters are two-dimensional. He can scare the pants off me, but once the movie is over, there’s nothing left. They’re two-dimensional. Nothing ground-breaking. Nothing pioneering. Zero complexity. No allegory. No subtext. No social commentary. These are all core characteristics of the films by Cronenberg, Carpenter, Craven, etc. and the reason why they’re considered geniuses and true MoH.

          • Mehliens

            Considering he exclusively makes dark, cynical and controversial films he is well known and gets good press even in the mainstream. He is one of the most promising upcoming auteurs and his work oozes cinematic prowess and audacity. It’s obviously not meant for people that don’t give a shit.

    • Brett Strohl

      Sightseers is pretty amazing, and I love A Field in England.

      • Mehliens

        A Field in England is one of the great masterpieces of cinema. Just everything about it is absolutely perfect

  • Creepshow

    I can’t disagree here. Because in order to prove this claim as wrong, you need facts. And there just aren’t enough to support an argument well. I’ve seen all his horror films (I never wasted my time with ANY Furious film), and all are on the above average scale. Moving forward I would just like him to start shaking it up a bit more, because some of his scare techniques are getting a little long in the tooth (i.e. haggard old timer antagonists, children victims, and some of the possession stuff).

    • alwayswipetwice

      The more I’ve thought this over, the more I don’t see him as a MoH – mainly because of the last part of your comment (which is what I upvoted). I think he’s really talented, but relies too heavily on watered down formulas that are just there to set up scares rather than telling rich and thoughtful stories.

      • Creepshow

        The guy does way more right, than wrong. And he makes major coin for studios on miniscule budgets. I guess that adds to what makes him an “important horror director”, is the fact that he makes above average films, and is hugely successful at his job. It doesn’t solely come down to the quality or likeability of his films. And I’m not defending the dude, because although the Conjurings are decent films, I found them to be more on the “meh” side.

        • alwayswipetwice

          He’s definitely great with the technical aspect of his filmmaking (which is almost solely what makes his movies great, imo), but I think he really lacks imagination. His movies have genuinely creepy stuff in them, but he didn’t pioneer anything new that way. None of his films are poignant, they’re just scary popcorn flicks. He consistently delivers technically solid movies, but that should be a basic expectation of all filmmakers. So as far as the claim the article is making, I qualify “important” as being a brilliant mind – not just being technically apt – and he just hasn’t proven it. His work is very basic and expected, which isn’t enough, imo.

          • Creepshow

            He does need to shift gears a little in horror. And he’s got quite a project ahead of him, trying to make Aquaman relevant. Yikes!

          • alwayswipetwice

            I’m super excited for Aquaman! It will be so refreshing to see a major superhero movie about a new character. And big-budget water movies are always awesome! (well, except Waterworld). As always, it comes down to the quality of the script and the suits who tamper/respect it. Fingers crossed!

          • Creepshow

            Aquaman is extremely difficult, and I give Wan respect for tackling it. He is taking a “butt of a joke” character, and hitting it head on. I’ll take Wan over Snyder with a DC property any day. And I DON’T read comics…at all.

        • PsychoMantis18

          ‘Way more right than wrong’ – depends on if you consider retreading over-used horror clichés in ways that are inferior to what has come before as ‘right’.

          • Jay Brezzy

            So we get it, you really REALLY don’t like this guys movies. So, please, tell us what are your favorite ghost story films so we can pick them apart??

          • Creepshow

            That broken record gushes over laughable shit like Videodrome, Alien 3, and fucking Pacific Rim(job). He says the same shit over and over and over like a fucking parrot.

          • Jay Brezzy

            Alien 3?! Like…the movie not the super Nintendo game right?! I mean both were horrible…but there’s no way you meant the movie right??? Pacific rim?!?! Lmao…..if you are just going to lie to me, we are done here. I say good day to you sir!

          • Creepshow

            I’m providing you with the cold hard facts Mr. Brezzy. Utterly sad…but true.

          • alwayswipetwice

            C’mon, Creepshow. You can’t seriously be bashing Videodrome, especially in the same sentence as Pacific Rim. I expect better from you! I’ll just pretend you got it confused with TerrorVision… lol

          • Creepshow

            Honestly, I was expecting your wrath a little sooner (I flew under the radar lol). I’m sorry I had to mention your boy Croney’s film, but it had to be done. Desperate times call for desperate measures. James Woods was always a B grade actor in my book. And lets be honest here bud, Videodrome was some 80’s crud. *dodging tomatoes*

          • alwayswipetwice

            Haha, like the batsignal! Seriously though, with all its subtext, Videodrome is classic sci-fi literature – except it’s its own original source material. It has the hedonist psychology of Hellraiser set in a dystopian They Live universe. That’s nothing short of sci-fi horror gold. I can understand not enjoying it, but you can’t undermine its brilliance. To each their own, though… *sigh*
            [unloads a pallet of ripe tomatoes]
            ;D

          • PsychoMantis18

            How are either of those 3 films I mentioned laughable? Maybe try using your brain and some integrity to support your bull-shit statements this time. I know it will be hard, you being an Aliens fan and all, but please… try…

          • PsychoMantis18

            Ummmm… The Shining, Orphanage, The Haunting, Grudge, Ring, Session 9,….. That’s a start.

            Have fun

          • Jay Brezzy

            The ring…an awesome film. Atmosphere, tension. Great casting…REMAKE of someone else’s work. One of my favorites.

            The shining…not much to say here. Sometimes have superb source material is very important to a successful film. I’m sure that’s why it’s on your list.

            Session 9….I need to watch all of it give it a fair shake.

            The grudge…A REMAKE …..lol….I’m assuming you aren’t serious. Same old, same old small ghost of Asian decent bent on revenge. Buffy. Silly weird gurgling noise and stupid cat noise scares. Great flick if you are a 14year old young lady.

            The haunting…which one? From ’63 or the Liam remake? I have to ask..you apparently like remakes.

            Orphanage…beautiful filmed…shot well…I guess we’ll acted since its not my first language.

            Now explain this Pacific rim stuff Lmao. Seriously though, the film’s you picked…some good, others laughable. Now group them all together. From the last 20 years. See what director out of all of them can..and has stuck mainly with that genre and had the success of Wan. 0.

            Like I’ve been saying, give this guy his credit. He’s not the best of the best…but who is doing what he is?

          • alwayswipetwice

            Carrie, InvasionOTBS, The Fly, The Howling, The Thing, Serpent and the Rainbow, They Live, The Shining, Cujo – some of the best horror movies ever made and all of them are either based on books or remakes of other movies. Obviously, there’s nothing objectively wrong with remakes. What matters is who the filmmaker/studio execs are behind the remake that determines the the quality of the final product. There was no hate against remakes until greedy, idiot execs started making shitty ones. Then all of a sudden horror fans became sensationalist hypocrites and conveniently forgot about all of the films mentioned above.

            Like you said, The Ring is also an incredible movie (thanks, Verbinski!), but it’s also a remake and adaptation of a book – and for the better, it’s nothing like the book. Ju-On (an exceptional J-horror, ghost story) was also an adaptation of a book. The Grudge, while not as potent as Ju-On, imo, is still a strong ghost horror movie. The mockery you direct towards Kayako is subjective and could easily be directed at the ghost in Insidious or the clapping hands in The Conjuring (a movie that also has source material and was made under the direct consultancy of Lorraine Warren). So again, who cares about remakes or source material?

          • Jay Brezzy

            Always…you stalking my post?! Lol..i kidding.

            Not much i can disagree with in your post.

            Carrie, Cujo and The Colony ( The howling ) were some of my favorite books. And i got a chance to read before watching. I also read Cabal before seeing Nightbreed…and that really did’t workout for the best ( although holy shit i love that film for some reason ). Graveyard shift? Not so much. Monkey Shines worked out well ( don’t laugh..that one was awesome when i was a kid! ).

            So, the one thing about the post…. the hand claps didn’t happen throughout the movie…the gurgling did. The weirdo cat sounds? I understand what they represented…just saying, once or twice..maybe even 5…it just really felt like a constant thing. Damn…that’s all i got for you this time lol.

          • alwayswipetwice

            What do you think of the Nightbreed Director’s Cut? I’ve only seen the theatrical and have been meaning to get around to the DC. I’d love to read Cabal at some point too. And no laughs – I like Monkey Shines too!

            As for the hand claps, it’s the same type of scare, just substituted with something different because there was no actual antagonist. Kayako was an actual character who was integrated into the story, so it’s different. Both are just dumb fun ghost stories though. I prefer Ju-On and The Grudge though. They’re interesting as anecdotes about Japanese superstition/urban legends and I appreciate that they aren’t passed off as factual history like the con artists of The Conjuring. Personal preference though.

          • PsychoMantis18

            I’m not going to address all the stupid things you’ve said cause there are so many and with your head clearly living up your arse, I doubt you’d admit when shit comes out of it buuuuuuuut, I will address one – when did I say that I was talking about the remakes and not the originals?

    • J Jett

      Creepshow, i agree w/ you 100%.

    • PsychoMantis18

      You don’t need facts to prove this ridiculous claim wrong; common sense is enough.

      ‘All are above average scale’ – do you mean ‘average quality’? If so, then you’re wrong here also.

      • Creepshow

        Mr. Wan thanks you for continuing to watch though. Maybe practice what you preach and stop, clown.

        • PsychoMantis18

          Wan thanks me for illegally downloading his movies?

          Nice one, moron.

          • Creepshow

            Thanks Man-tits.

          • PsychoMantis18

            You’re just jealous my milk is for me..

  • pablitonizer

    I like James Wan, he’s a good horror director but let’s be honest, most of his films (except for Saw) are pretty much the same, similar atmosphere and similar jumpscares. Dead silence seems to be the prequel for Insidious (I keep saying the Ventriloquist is exactly the same as the Bride in Black) and it’s also similar to The conjuring feeling. I’m not saying he’s a bad director at all, I’m just saying he’s found the comfort zone and how to make it work for horror fans

    • PsychoMantis18

      Let’s be honest – his films are forgettable horror-garbage for the less discernible and educated horror fan.

  • Rohan Sorensen

    Anyone who can kickstart a whole era of horror deserves to be a master of horror, even if it is shitty torture porn. Saw did allow for more gruesome movies to be released, and for more stories to be explored.

    • PsychoMantis18

      No….., they don’t.

      • Rohan Sorensen

        Yes, they do. Whether the era was full of shitty movies or great movies, it is still an era. People flocked to the movie theaters to see the Saw movies, which came out year after year. He created that, so yes, he does.

        • PsychoMantis18

          No… He doesn’t. Being a master of horror has nothing to do with how many arses he put in seats, it has to do with you know…. Actually making great horror films… Duh

          • Rohan Sorensen

            What you consider a great horror film is your opinion, therefore many people may consider the conjuring or saw to be great horror films. The widely accepted opinion is that the Conjuring is a great horror film, therefore making the creator of said film an MOH.

          • PsychoMantis18

            It is, but not all opinions are created equal as the current PC-zombies may have you believe e.g.: it’s the opinion of pedo’s that kiddie-rape is great fun – is this acceptable cause it IS an opinion?

            No, it is not, and it can be argued as such through appeals to common sense and its ramifications. Sure, if you don’t want to acknowledge this, then fine, all opinions are equal and no-one should ever have to reasonably justify their’s or take responsibilty for the resulting consequences.

            I guess James Wan is a master of horror then, based on all the opinions that point to his influence on the influx of shitty, generic, wide-market, studio horror films that get forgotten almost instantly.

            That’s not what I want as a horror fan but if everyone else is happy with condescendingly simple and factory-line products – ah, films – then so be it.

            Gone are the days of horror being the rock genre of the film world I guess…

          • Rohan Sorensen

            I don’t believe that child molestation being great fun is a widely accepted opinion. Also I’m not saying that his contributions and effect on the horror genre were great, just that they were significant and appealed to a wide audience. It led to a variety of different horror films that took influence upon the saw franchise and that many would consider great. He did something new in the horror genre that had a big effect, whether you like it or not.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Widely accepted is irrelevant – it’s an opinion that shouldn’t be given merit, as is the case here.

            He didn’t do anything new of value, whether you like it or not, and he sure as shit didn’t restart the horror genre as many claim; Aja and Zombie could reasonably make that claim.

          • Rohan Sorensen

            Wait, Zombie? As in Rob Zombie? Your opinion was just fully discredited with that statement.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Ummm… no, it wasn’t….

            But your’s was from – ‘Anyone who can kickstart a whole era of horror deserves to be a master of horror, even if it is shitty torture porn’

          • Rohan Sorensen

            At least he started something new. Rob Zombie just copied shit.

          • PsychoMantis18

            You’re getting confused – RZ started something new with influence from old horrors’, while Wan has just been viciously milking old horror tropes.

          • Rohan Sorensen

            RZ didn’t start Jack shit. He made shitty rip off movies of TCM, and was somehow granted the Halloween license by some idiot. He butchered that series, and will continue to make awful movies. Sorry to break it to you, but Rob Zombie is an awful director. He is a cool guy though, and has a lot of love for the horror genre, which I respect.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Influenced by TCM? Absolutely; made shitty rip-off movies of TCM? Laughable.

            ‘Granted licence by some idiot’ – why? Because he made two remakes that actually stand as on their own as awesome horror films? JW can’t make something that isn’t an imitation whereas RZ makes films like no other.

          • Rohan Sorensen

            The Halloween remakes sucked ass. If you think that they were better and more original than Saw and the Conjuring (which I admit has been done several times before, but is still a fantastic ghost movie that revived the sub-genre) you are dead wrong. And HO1000C was a complete rip off of TCM, not just ‘influenced’

          • Rohan Sorensen

            A lot of people consider the conjuring and saw to be great movies. If a lot of people like a movie, does that make them wrong? Or are you wrong by saying that they are?

          • PsychoMantis18

            People can like his movies all they want, but to call him a master of horror is a joke considering his lack of originality, technique and distinct vision. Someone who has made a career of making poor imitations is not a master cause he’s bankable.

            It’s like with Rob Zombie films, of which I am a proud fan – people can give him shit all they want but he has brought a distinct horror vision to the world of cinema just like the great directors of the genre before him. As has Eli Roth, who i’m not a fan of, so has Aja and a couple of others – all have their own “thing” on offer; Wan only offers weak imitations.

  • ScabieBaby

    I agree that he’s a horror director.

    • PsychoMantis18

      Well do we have to’ve actually been horrified to some degree?

      Cause if not then absolutely – he’s a horror director.

  • railridden

    He may be the biggest horror director today in terms of the box office, but I don’t think he’s “important” in the sense of creating great movies. In 20 years, do you think anyone will remember his movies? I don’t.

    • TheSlitheryDee

      They most certainly will. Probably more so than any of the stuff we enjoy and remember from 20 years ago.

      • PsychoMantis18

        This is one of the most dumb fucking comments i’ve ever read on any site, ever.

        Unless of course it’s a joke in which case – good one.

    • Jay Brezzy

      Come on now…

      • PsychoMantis18

        You’re kidding yourself

    • PsychoMantis18

      SPOT ON

  • the usual suspect

    The main reason the Aquaman movie isn’t going be terrible is not Wan, It’s cause it’s a freaking Aquaman movie. Can’t wait to see The king of Atlantis on screen alongside Ocean Master and Black Manta. Wan will definitely help out a bit though, it will be interesting to see how he tackles the under water scenes and filming.

  • Khy

    Here comes the “LET’S HATE IT BECAUSE IT’S POPULAR” Brigade. Wan saved the horror genre. ‘Nuff said. We owe so much to him.

    • La Molcajete

      It never needed saving. The best horror movies fly under the radar anyway

      • alwayswipetwice

        Yeah, I’m not sure about the “saved” part. If anything, I think he just capitalized on it (specifically the ghost sub-genre which was made huge by PA that came out a year before Insidious). Unless I’m forgetting something, it’s because of him and PA, we got this trend of cheap ghost and exorcism movies. That’s the only part of horror he made an impact on. The best horror films that never get wide releases don’t seem to be influenced at all by what goes on in the mainstream.

        • TheSlitheryDee

          Comparing Wan to Paranormal Activity is ridiculous. What a garbage movie that was. Just because there are demons and possessions in Wan’s work, it doesn’t mean he capitalized on anything. You may not enjoy his work (that’s fine) but he’s been an important part of the genre since SAW.

          • alwayswipetwice

            When did I compare the two? I’m saying that I don’t think he jump-started anything in the genre that hadn’t already been given a jump-start by PA. Yeah, Saw is great, but he’s become a household name in horror because of his work telling ghost stories – which has become a major pop cultural trend (seemingly) because of the response of PA.

    • PsychoMantis18

      The ‘LET’S HATE IT BECAUSE IT’S POPULAR’ brigade left long ago. Now it’s the ‘LET’S LOVE IT CAUSE WE’RE HIP BRAIN-DEAD POP-CONSUMERS’ brigade that is hip. And it’s a train you’re on…

      FACT – he did not save the horror genre and he owes me for wasted time. ‘Nuff said.

      • Khy

        LULZ, U mad boo?

        • PsychoMantis18

          What is LULZ? Is this another sweet-sixteen thing?

          • Khy

            Get with the times, bra.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Nah, the times would dictate that I should be a Wan-fan so they can’t be trusted.

  • jasonlives1986

    Conjuring 2 was bad. Like really bad.

    • ScabieBaby

      Tell us why.

      • jasonlives1986

        Jump scares aren’t an effective way to tell a story. The pacing was way off.

        The story made no sense.

        The first.one is untouchable. A true modern gem. Wan is a great film maker but the second was a unoriginal mess. It just didn’t work and don’t get me started on dialogue.

        Though I guess purge 3 really took the dialogue cake for movies I seen this week

      • Creepshow

        He never can.

        • PsychoMantis18

          The movie justifies his comment. No more explanation is necessary. Unless of course you need everything spelled out for as most Wan fans do.

      • PsychoMantis18

        Oooo me, ooo me – for starters, when seeing the trailer at the cinema I started laughing and thought maybe it was a prettier-looking-than-usual Scary Movie sequel, until familiar faces popped up…. then I started laughing harder.

        True story

    • PsychoMantis18

      Yes, yes it was. Good on you for having taste and a brain.

  • alwayswipetwice

    I’m not a fan of his movies (though I love his style), but I agree with the Master of Horror title. I definitely disagree with Del Toro having that title though. If anything, he’s a Master of Fantasy(?). And I strongly disagree with you overlooking All Cheerleaders Die on McKee’s roster. It wasn’t scary, but it was a ton of fun and well-executed for the type of movie it was. I wouldn’t consider him a MoH, necessarily, but he’s really damn consistent in the quality and competency of his filmmaking.

    • Jay Brezzy

      Why does everyone place Dante in there? Howling and gremlins…kinda ( not part two ). Piranha? No. So what’s the love fest with this dude?

      Hellraiser and nightbreed ( more fantasy though ) are really the only directed horror films Barker has done ever. I guess Lord of illusion as well…but thatz really the second one since breed is fantasy. Great writer though.

      And when most of the others venture out of their comfort zones…it’s tragic failure ( hello ghost of mars ).

      • alwayswipetwice

        If you’re looking at this as quantity over quality, then yeah, Dante is out. But The Howling, Gremlins, and his segment in TZ: The Movie alone are way more imaginative and irreplaceable than all of Wan’s stories combined (same with Barker). There’s nothing unique about Wan’s films. They’re super polished and effective, but they’re just cookie cutter, popcorn ghost movies. And within the ghost sub-genre, none of them are even close to the level of Poltergeist (for example). Wan knows the technical aspect of filmmaking to a T, but he has no imagination. He makes ghost stories in houses that rinse and repeat the same gimmick. His movies do their intended job. That’s it. There’s nothing more to them than what’s on the screen. No poignancy. No commentary. The guy can make effective horror, but he’s so damn far from proving himself as one of brilliant minds mentioned above.

        And no, when Cronenberg, Craven, Dante, and Carpenter have ventured away from horror, they all but fail. The fact that you mention Ghosts of Mars to try and discredit Carpenter’s well-proven versatility is pretty laughable.

        • Jay Brezzy

          Carpenter has big trouble, assault on and they live ( one of my favorites ) as his biggest ” out of horror ” ventures. Neither of which barley come close to the success of wan’s horror ventures. That means something. For you to think otherwise is what’s laughable. Facts are truth…and two of those films became ” cult ” classics. VHS release gave them the life blood they have today, not people showing up by the thousands to go experience them in theater. Say what you want, but that is fact. Same goes for assault on precinct 13. In fact, more people went to see the remake, than the original. I’m not making that up. His films has always done poorly at the box office. Wan’s worst efforts have done better. Say what you will…but all of the Carpenter fans don’t help his case when these are life time gross #’s:

          Halloween 47.0 million
          Starman 28.7 million
          Escape from L.A.25.4 million
          Escape from New York25.2 million
          Ghosts of Mars14.0 million
          They Live13.0 million
          The Ward12.8 million

          Seriously, no1 went to see dawn of the dead for its social commentary. No one. They went…on a date…to this popcorn flick to see zombies. The deeper meaning behind these guys films were never a ticket purchase reasoning. They purchased a ticket to ghost of mars because it had carpenter’s name attached ( and the fact it was supposed to be another snake pliskin film originaly didn’t help either ). Same with Prince of darkness and vampires. All spectacular bombs. That’s not my opinion…that’s box office fact.

          As far as poltergeist…Tobe shouldn’t even be attached to that obvious Spielberg handled film. Who watched that and thought otherwise? So yes, place wan and Spielberg on a project together, and maybe you will get something spectacular…who knows.

          • alwayswipetwice

            Basing the importance of these films on their box office draw is a really damn flawed logic. Money means nothing to anyone other than the cast/crew and the studio.

  • Mehliens

    McKees “the Woman” is a really good film btw

    • PsychoMantis18

      As is May and his MASTERs OF HORROR ep.

      • Mehliens

        Never saw May, going to hunt it down asap

        • PsychoMantis18

          Enjoy

  • DarkBree

    In my opinion, he really is a Master of Horror. I love most of his movies like Insidious, Dead Silence, The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. I really like Saw and the only one I don’t like is Insidious: Chapter 2. He knows how to scare the audiences and makes us care about the characters like you said. I love the atmosphere and the camera work he brings to his movies. But I think he needs to change the syle of his ghosts.

  • Dee-abolik

    Still don’t like “Saw” or “Death Sentence”, but he won me over with his succeeding movies. “Dead Silence” is a lot of fun.

  • Grimphantom

    Honestly it’s a bit too far saying he’s the most important horror director of the last 20 years. In all honestly i think of the movie Saw but i won’t think of James Wan the same way i think of John Carpenter when people talk about Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York. David Cronenberg with Videodrome, The Fly. Joe Dante with The Howling, Gremlins.

    James Wan has a long road to be consider important horror director, known horror director of this generation yes but as being place with the legends it’s too soon.

  • TheSlitheryDee

    Wan has certainly climbed the ladder in my books. The only smudge on his record for me is Fast Seven. Dead Silence gave us Mary Shaw (the creepiest old lady I’ve ever witnessed) and Death Sentence was actually great. There isn’t one person I’ve introduced that movie to that didn’t love it. I would always recommend it at Blockbuster as a gritty thriller or revenge movie and not once did a customer come back with a negative response. I’d say Wan is in my top 5 for Horror directors any day.

  • “D) They must have consistently directed good, great or at the very least interesting horror films.” – Lots of interrepation with this one.

    • Creepshow

      Interpretation?

  • dsxy

    This is the biggest pile of crap I’ve ever read, enough with the same pg13 horror crap recycled time and time again. Just because his films have made a few bucks, doesn’t make them any good.

    • gabriel

      Except that most of his films arent pg13 nor the same recycled horror crap.

      • Jay Brezzy

        Lol…I see what you did there…

      • PsychoMantis18

        They are the same recycled horror crap; anyone who’s actually seen a lot of horror films and has average perceptual abilities would realise this.

    • PsychoMantis18

      ‘Biggest pile of crap i’ve ever read’ – have I told you lately that I love you, dsxy?

  • aNYagenda

    Are you sure you want to stick with that headline?

    You cant always print an apology and blame it on 4chan.

  • Jack Thompson

    He’s good but I wish he’d give the ghosts a rest.

    • One-Eye

      And stop glorifying those fraudulent scumbags the Warrens.

    • Jay Brezzy

      Or maybe he knows what he likes, has a passion for, and it really isn’t an issue if it works for him…and it obviously DOES.

  • gabriel

    I’d like to see James Wan and Mark Duplass team up for a low-key horror film.

    • PsychoMantis18

      It would fail because Wan films are built on loud climaxes with SFX preferable; he wouldn’t know how to make a ‘low-key’ horror film cause he’s a bland imitative one-trick-pony.

  • Cheshire TrollCat

    I can’t wait to see his next new idea. the Conjuring 2 is my favorite horror movie, maybe ever, and it also doubles as a great love story. You really can’t loose with it, something for everyone.

    • PsychoMantis18

      2 questions –

      Are you a child?

      Have you ever seen a possession horror movie before?

      • Shawn Simpson

        We get it you hate Wans work. No need to constantly comment on every single post that doesn’t line up with your own personal opinion whilst acting like a narcissistic asswipe the entire time.

        • PsychoMantis18

          Sure there is – these are absurdly stupid claims and I will point this out.

      • amasona

        The clue is in “T-R-O-L-L-cat”. You’re getting too emotional!

        • PsychoMantis18

          Maybe, but stupidity annoys me. If people like him fine but don’t go saying he’s a horror master cause his films put less-discernable arses on seats.

      • Cheshire TrollCat

        no.
        yes.
        Are you a butthurt hipster?

        • PsychoMantis18

          I need to get a life cause I criticised dumb comments defending this dumb article?

          Maybe you need to grown up….

          • Cheshire TrollCat

            2egy4me

          • PsychoMantis18

            Well use less next time

          • Cheshire TrollCat

            I cut myself on it.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Is this the vagina conversation?

          • Cheshire TrollCat

            No, but I can tell you where the clitoris is.

          • PsychoMantis18

            Oh yes, please do!

          • Cheshire TrollCat

            Right above the belly button.

  • Grimphantom

    Don’t know what age group you are but it’s obvious you don’t feel the same way we do when we have watched these movies when we where young. Everyone becomes grumpy when we get old, it’s natural.

    Those guys get more credit because it really show their works, Wan’s only known is his repetitive ghost plots, he should try to explore other elements of horror. Honestly i didn’t brought Eli Roth since i haven’t mention him at all.

    You never know, there are these recent directors that might play a big part later on in the horror media like Michael Dougherty, Fede Alvarez, David Robert Mitchell, Karyn Kusama, the last one i mentioned her because of the movie The Invitation which some should take a look

    • Jay Brezzy

      I’m 39. Not sure if that’s all that relevant or not since being a critic is all subjective.

      In any case, its not natural to get grumpy and old and bitter. And David C? Yes, 100%. Carpenter? Yes, 100%. You two guys helped horror move forward..you didn’t create it. You don’t own any portion of it. Every once in a while, Romero pulls the same thing….but perhaps he gets a passion for the creation of a genre thing.

      Wan is a ghost guy. What exactly is wrong with that? He has ventured out and done REMARKABLY well with furious 7. Came into the mainstream and did REMARKABLY well with saw. And came back after F7 and created what is almost impossible to do in any genre, made a sequel that may be better than the original. Give this talented guy a break.

      As for the other directors you listed…I shall check for there work for sure.

      • PsychoMantis18

        Being a critic is not all subjective; predictably wrong as always, macho-man.

        • Jay Brezzy

          Predictably wrong As always?? What are you talking about always?? I’ve answered a few of your post weirdo…we have no history of a back and forth.

          Macho man?? Huh? You’re a weird one. I think “Creepshow” was right about you Lmao…

          • PsychoMantis18

            Yeah, it was really hard to find the profile pic that you choose to display in every comment you make.

            Let me help to explain to you what you said, macho-man – ‘since being a critic is all subjective’

            This is you, macho-man, saying that being a critic is ALL subjective and therefor not at all objective; this is wrong.

            Bad, macho-man, very bad!

          • Jay Brezzy

            Still looking at it are you? I guess you like what you see. Sure shouldn’t be anything you care about..but, to each his own. And no….wasn’t very hard to find the picture at all, there in my portfolio little bug.

            So real quick so I can get back to anything other than answering you again: An objective perspective is one that is not influenced by emotions, opinions, or personal feelings – it is a perspective based in fact, in things quantifiable and measurable. A subjective perspective is one open to greater interpretation based on personal feeling, emotion, aesthetics, etc. It’s exactly what I meant. Realistically, a critic is subjective. You are going to like what appeals to you. You will judge it based on personal beliefs, likes or dislikes, etc. Exactly what I meant to say. Thanks for attempting to tell me what I really ment to say though crazy bug.

            So, if you are done copying and pasting my avatar in MS paint, selecting save as, surewishiwasnthisguy.jpg, save on desktop, select with right click, select set as desktop background…..then bye bye now keyboard tough guy.

          • PsychoMantis18

            You should stop wasting time explaining the definition of words to me that I already understand and instead focus on addressing all the flaws in your dunderheaded argument.

  • Brett Strohl

    It’s hard for me to consider Pacific Rim “a bit of a slump.” Aside from Del Toro and Wan, the other director I’d have at the top of the list is Joon-ho Bong. It’s a short list, but I think that speaks to the lack of depth in horror film making over the last 20 years. I’m crossing my fingers that the directors of movies like The Witch, The Babadook, and It Follows keep making horror films so maybe these guys will have some real competition.

    • PsychoMantis18

      Wan isn’t in the competition – the directors of Witch, Babadook, and It Follows have already proven that they’re far greater directors than Wan has ever been.

      • EB

        This statement is utterly ridiculous, and I like The Witch and Babadook (haven’t seen It Follows). One film hardly proves greatness. That’s why we have the term One-hit Wonder.

        • PsychoMantis18

          It may seem utterly ridiculous to a simpleton who can’t understand why we have the term ‘one-hit wonder’ – to describe when someone makes a ‘hit’ once – but it actually makes total sense.

          • Evan3

            So, you would argue a band like The Kingsmen (makers of the song Louie Louie) is greater than Bob Dylan? Or Don McLean (American Pie) is better than the Beatles? Because it makes no sense. I don’t care for Dylan at all. I think his voice is terrible and his songs are meandering. And like virtually everybody in the world, I love Louie Louie. But it would be preposterous to argue that the Kingsmen are a “greater” band than Dylan given the decades of hit songs that mean so much to a wide audience and have left a huge impact on the genre. It would be even more inane to argue they are more important.
            I am no Wan acolyte. I didn’t care at all for Insidious, hated Dead Silence, and have never seen the Conjuring. I like Saw well enough, but didn’t like any of the sequels. I definitely like at least The Witch more than Saw and wouldn’t fight you if you said Babadook was a better film too.
            But it is simply ridiculous to say that any of these directors are greater or more important than Wan. He has made films that for whatever reason, resonated with a huge populace of filmgoers. Like it or not, Saw, the Conjuring, and very likely Insidious will go down as genre classics. He has succeeded on virtually every level, including making a hit horror movie in summer blockbuster season. So it’s fine for you to say Babadook et al. are better films. And certainly you could argue they are more talented (although as a craftsman, Wan is pretty impressive). But to say they are better on the strength of one hit film, or more important, is as crazy as saying Kingsmen are better than Dylan, McLean is more important than the Beatles, or that Grover Cleveland is a more important president than Obama (regardless of politics, he is a very important president).

          • PsychoMantis18

            Jesus Christ

          • Evan3

            I am very happy to have educated you on this topic. I’m glad when your points are refuted, you just stick to plain boorishness!

        • Mehliens

          When the one hit they have is still better than the entire oeuvre of a director like Wan then its anything but ridiculous.

    • EB

      Is that because you view Pacific I’m as part of a long and sad decline in GDT films? If so, I agree 100%.

      • Brett Strohl

        No, it’s because Pacific Rim is an extremely fun and memorable movie.

  • alwayswipetwice

    What does them being bitter at the bullshit of Hollywood have anything to do with their talent? (I’m assuming that’s what you mean by “grumpy old men”).

    Wan is only as popular as he is because his movies get wide releases, are easily digestible, and are made with a strong technical competency (aka: they don’t look cheap). They’re popcorn flicks with stupid scares. Nothing complex about them. The horror genre has always been a cash cow, so if his movies are in theaters, people will see them. Also, the fact that they’re about ghosts, exorcisms, the afterlife – all hot topics in pop culture. A scary amount of people are gullible enough to believe in all of it and they’re the ones who eat it up. Just like they ate up the PAs, Ghost Hunters, etc.

  • PsychoMantis18

    What a fucking joke.

    Not only is he not up there with the all-time greats, he’s one of the most boring horror directors of all time. All his films are clearly influenced by far superior horror films that offer nothing of their own while failing to present a distinct vision themselves. The only trait his films have other than being piss-weak imitations is that they’re bankable, probably because they’re made for the general masses that haven’t seen his films being done many times before in far more interesting ways.

    If James Wan is a horror master then Rob Cohen is a master of the action genre.

    Either BD is getting perks for licking JW’s arse or Trace has even more appaling taste than I thought.

    • alwayswipetwice

      Agreed about Wan, but c’mon, you know BD isn’t getting perks for this. And regardless of what Trace likes or doesn’t, the article is just analyzing Wan based around the criteria established by Bibbiani. I think it’s ridiculous to judge quantity over quality, and also the “need” to pick a contemporary MoH just for the sake of picking one. Wan is a successful brand – that’s all. Apparently it’s enough hype to convince people he’s a MoH, while ignoring other one/two-hit-wonders who are way more brilliant and visionary than Wan.

      • PsychoMantis18

        How do we know they’re not getting perks for it? Seems like they get perks/paid-off for some of the other stuff they push…

        And I can’t excuse Trace – this is a promotion of one of the horror genre’s regressors who is sadly successful, while many other filmakers, who don’t do nearly as well as he does financially, are making far far far far superior horror films and not getting the recognition on BD that he does, this site absolutely deserves to be called Bloody Disgusting…

        • alwayswipetwice

          You think WB and Sony are paying BD to praise Wan?

          Regarding the MoH thing: I think too many people are asking who is the current MoH instead of asking why – as in why does there need to be one at the moment?

          • PsychoMantis18

            I think that there are certain properties that seem oddly pushed on this site and it is very normal, and a shame, for sites to advertise in order to function. BD being in some form of financial/promo agreement with Wan reps or WB’s wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

            I absolutely agree that it should be based predominately on quality rather than quantity and I also agree that we don’t need a MoH title.

            What i’m arguing is that if there are candidates for the title, James Wan is certainly not one of them; not by a long-shot.

          • alwayswipetwice

            Well, I don’t think they’re getting paid, but even if your conspiracy is true, it wouldn’t change the argument. An opinion is still an opinion, whether it’s paid for or not. Given both the objective and subjective information that’s available, it’s up to the consumer to make up their own mind. Reviews and analysis are fun to read, but I sure hope people don’t hang their decisions on them.

            But yeah, agreed. Wan is the biggest and most consistent right now, so he’s stolen the spotlight. I do think he’s talented, but the constant recycling of the same watered down formula makes him seem like a gimmicky horror filmmaker as opposed to a master visionary.

          • PsychoMantis18

            I don’t think it would change Trace’s argument either – it does a great job of discrediting itself.

            I can agree that Wan is the biggest and most consistently shit.

    • A-TOWN CALI DUDE

      Oh thank god thats only your opinion

      • PsychoMantis18

        You were worried my opinion wouldn’t be my opinion????

        • A-TOWN CALI DUDE

          CAN you read the sarcasm….?

          • PsychoMantis18

            Clearly not, do explain?

  • Evan3

    I’m not a huge Wan fan. I think Saw largely lived up to the hype, but really disliked Dead Silence and insidious (I haven’t seen either Conjuring film yet). I thought he did a hell of a job with Furious 7. But I can’t deny the premise of this article . Master or not, he has to be considered if not THE most IMPORTANT (keep in mind it is important, not necessarily the best) horror talent, then certainly one of them. I’d argue only Sam Raimi could be as important of a horror director currently in the spotlight (now with Craven passed away, Carpenter largely retired, and barker unable to get anything off the ground). And Drag me to Hell notwithstanding, Raimi hasn’t been as directly involved with horror as Wan has been.

    @Trace – any reason you didn’t include Hellboy 2 and Crimson Tide (his second worst film to date) in del Toro’s mini-decline?

    • Evan3

      To expand a bit more, I think the Friday the 13th movies are generally dull and have very much disliked the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, and have the same feelings towards Jason and Leatherface. But i could never refute the importance of these series and killers.

      So too with James Wan. He has had an undeniable and incredibly successful impact on the horror genre. Clearly his films resonate with the masses. And despite mainstream success, he still wants to play in (and succeeds in) the horror genre. So it is simply indisputable that he is a hugely important figure in horror cinema.

  • Luke

    While I don’t necessarily find his films to be “scary”, I do hold a lot of respect for him. His film’s are successful both critically and commercially; he started one of the biggest franchises from the 2000s (Saw), and two later franchises (including spin-offs and sequels of those). Yes, they’re mainstream films, but they’re mainstream films that have helped to keep horror movies in cinemas, and even get horror into the big Summer box office season.

    I will go on the record though and say that one of the draft scripts for ‘Dead Silence’ that is floating around the cinema, and that I read back before the film came out, was actually far more impressive than the film. Somewhere between a major re-write and shooting the film , something went wrong.

    So yes, his film’s are mainstream, and pander to the masses but he’s helped revive the horror genre twice over. You may not like his films, but you have to have some respect for his work in that regard.

  • Alanmac

    Dead Silence kicked ass. Was WAAAAY better than Insidious. Gotta agree that The Conjuring 2 was awesome. I liked part 1 well enough but part 2 knocked it out of the park.

  • Tetra-Gramaton-Cleric

    I’ve been a fan of the genre my entire life and Wan’s films are dishwater-dull to me for the most part.

    I’d argue that Christophe Gan’s Silent Hill represents a larger and more profound contribution to the genre than all of Wan’s work combined but to each their own.

    Also, Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal TV series is superior to anything Wan has ever done or will probably ever do.

    • Saturn

      So from the moment of conception you were a horror fan?
      Awesome!
      😉

  • guest

    wow that headline actually made me jump. didnt see that coming.
    and the content grabbed me by the ankles and dragged me backwards across the floor away from the camera.
    and the ending sent me flying across the room through the air and smashed me into the wall.
    [the wall had some kind of creepy black oozy veiny stuff spreading across it.]

    • Saturn

      *clap clap*

    • Mehliens

      I kneel before thee

  • alwayswipetwice

    “Wan saved horror”, “He revived the genre”, “He’s the most important horror filmmaker” – Why and how?

    Is there anyone that can step up and articulate these superfluous, sensationalist statements that were most likely just regurgitated from a review or headline someone read? Wan might have helped to jumpstart a specific type of horror – a sub-genre that has flooded the market with movies like Ouija and The Devil Inside – but he didn’t save the genre. His movies are also a sub-genre that already had steam from the pop culture phenomenons of Paranormal Activity and before that the Ghost Hunters show.

    As far as his role in the Splat Pack, Wan made one successful film (Saw) amongst so many others who were making graphic horror films at the time. Yeah, Wan produced the Saw sequels, but he didn’t write or direct them, so it’s bullshit to deny just as much, or more, credit to Bousman and Whannell for literally making the damn things. Aside from Wan’s role in producing Saw movies, he’d been relatively absent from the Splat Pack – those who were almost solely responsible for carrying the genre through the first decade of the millennium. Either way, the Splat Pack didn’t “save horror” – they saved graphic, R-rated horror. The genre makes money because they’re cheap to make and have huge return on investments. So it’s nothing short of sensationalism to say the genre is ever “dying”.

    • Mehliens

      Its always a joy to read your well written posts

      • alwayswipetwice

        Thanks, bud!

        • Mehliens

          If anything I see High-Rise as ultimate showcase of Wheatleys rapid unfolding as an auteur who is so obviously deeply rooted in dark cynicism and horror. The score is utterly flawless and worth the ticket alone. You have to watch A Field in England next, its such a great work of art. PS: Re-watched Crash yesterday coincidently while cursing the fact there is still no Blu of it on the horizon :/

          • PsychoMantis18

            Was very impressed with High-Rise. Still think I like Kill List best though.

    • PsychoMantis18

      While I often don’t agree with you, 100% sweet post – great job.

      But the answer to the question – ‘Is there anyone that can step up and articulate these sensationalist statements?’ – is no; Wan-fan don’t know logic, only the pain of adolescence.

  • The_Gentleman

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I don’t know if you’ve watched SAW lately but it’s a terrible movie. laughably bad. My 16 year old daughter and I were cracking up. Wan is a serviceable stylist, nothing more. You’re a moron, Trace. Brad, where do you find your writers? Elementary schools? Mental institutions? You need to do a better job vetting these kids because they suck, top to bottom.

    • Grimphantom

      Too much? lol

      • Eyz

        Hahaha!
        As soon as I randomly saw a gif of Sylvia here I thought, man, how random is that, is that someone I know like Grim’? And yes, it was you! Ha!

        • Grimphantom

          lol nice to see you here, man =)

          • Eyz

            Oh, i’ve been lurking on bloody-disgusting since for-ev-er, but I rarely leave any comments. Once or twice a year probably 😛
            I tend to avoid reading the comments tho…

  • Cheshire TrollCat

    I’m predicting that Fede Alverez will rise to the rank of Horror Master.

  • Saturn

    So Neil Marshall does’t qualify. Right……

    I really do enjoy Wan’s movies (although Insidious lost it towards the end, and Conjuring 2 had it’s silly moments….) and do think he’s one of the better recent horror director’s – but Marshall beats him with both The Descent and Dog Soldiers (both movies are better than anything that Wan has done imho)- as neither movie “lost it in the final 3rd” like what happened in several of Wan’s movies.

    • Anezka Kolaceke

      Although I really like The Descent and Dog Soldiers (and prefer either over Insidious or The Conjuring any day), I would still say that Wan is more important than Neil Marshall because of the first item in the criteria list. Marshall’s movies are great, but not brilliant. Not in the way Saw was. And I don’t mean Saw is the best movie I’ve seen, but it fathered a new genre within horror. Even if personally someone doesn’t like it that much, it will always carry the same importance as films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jaws, Alien and such other genre defining flicks.

  • Being the most popular horror director doesn’t make him the best and I love some of his movies, but I think there are better genre directors out there right now like Ti West. I do think he might be the most important horror director in 5 or 10 years, and that’s because of his producing company, if Light Out is amazing and he keeps giving new voices oportunities lie he did with David Sandberg, and it works great, then yes, Wan will become the most important horror face of the last 10 years.

  • Simon Allen

    I would comment but i have said enough nasty things on this site lately and also i don’t want to kick a dog when he’s down .

    • Creepshow

      I admire your self restraint.

      • Simon Allen

        It wont last 🙂

        • Creepshow

          Boy, you weren’t kidding!

          • Simon Allen

            Leopard , spots etc 🙂 .

      • Jay Brezzy

        Don’t do that…let him off the leash man!

  • astronauta69

    i can’t wait to see his take on Aquaman

  • Cauê Custódio

    “Del Toro has hit a bit of a slump recently with Pacific Rim and FX’s The Strain.” Well I don’t agree. The Strain has it’s bad scenes but it is a great show. And Pacific Rim is awesome. I just find Wan lacks swag and finesse, it’s a little cheesy (Insidious have ver bad taste in lots of departments) for me… But I respect the guy and wish he continues to grow.

    • Simon Allen

      Now “Awesome” is a word that should NEVER be used to describe Pacific Rim .

      • Blk Mgc Maverick

        I agree. He forgot extremely before the word awesome.

      • Batmanfanboy

        It’s the only one to use actually.

        • Simon Allen

          You are easily pleased .

          • Cauê Custódio

            I am easily pleased, if the subject have monsters and giant robots… But a lot of people hate the movie. It is known.

          • Simon Allen

            As long as it makes you happy …..i would never deny you that 🙂

        • Mehliens

          Please continue…

          • Batmanfanboy

            Pacific Rim is awesome, it`s not a great movie.. but it`s an awesome one. Pretty self explanatory.

          • Mehliens

            Ok, got it. Awesome, extremely important films these are

  • macguffin54

    Horror has stunk in the past 20 years, so your thesis doesn’t mean much. Neither do his films. He does NOT belong in the same league as JC, but George Romero, maybe, who only has a couple of good movies (and a few other ok ones). This guy makes cheap movies with interesting premises but which are disappointing. Period.

  • Gabbi Cordero

    in my opinion any promise and genuine talent, albeit unrefined skill and spotty record, that james wan has is weighed down by sycophantic sheep all-too-ready to crown the next “master of horror” as if that title even means anything anymore. you can add this website to his troupe of blind followers. i’m not saying he’s as bad as shyamalan, but lest we forget the lessons of history when people were bequeathing him as the next great anything. child please. in the 2000’s we were so desperate for the next icon that people were crowning eli roth as the second coming of the genre and where is that hack now?

    • Vader the White

      With Shyamalan and Roth, people did proclaim them as masters with very little to earn it. Wan has proven himself over the past decade.

      • Gabbi Cordero

        Clearly you misread or missed out where I said “spotty record” so allow me to elaborate. Saw is a grossly overrated film and void of horror, not to mention pedestrian in its direction. Death Sentence and Dead Silence, do I even have to? Insidious is amateur hour at best and derivative at worst. If you want to talk the Conjuring, as far as im concerned that’s where the “savior’s” career started as far as quality and news flash it took him 4 movies to get there. As much as I liked the sequel, what his defenders, admirers, and shills alike FAIL to mention is how many of the same beats it hits from the original. People will rake Star Wars & Terminator sequels over the coals for such schemes yet the chosen Wan gets a free pass. Give me a break. If this figurehead has “proven” anything, its how wildly hit or miss he is. Hardly the makings of greatness

    • Mehliens

      This

  • Robert Goode

    The Saw franchise, including Wan’s entry, isn’t horror. It’s a long push to find out how much gore you can get into a film these days before you hit the dreaded NC-17 rating. The answer of this little social experiment was “You can basically show anything except penis”. The Conjuring and it’s sequel are nothing more than the cliche-filled fantasies of an old woman who’s convinced herself goblins and ghouls exist. Insidious was about as creepy as The Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World. Like most modern horror directors, James Wan is a hack, who probably paid Bloody Disgusting to drum up an article.

    • Can you say some good horror movies in your opinion? Thanks.

      • Robert Goode

        From the last 10-15 years, I’d say Trick R Treat(It has a wonderful 1980s feel to the anthology, some unexpected twists[Which weren’t major] and a good cast), Koji Shiraishi’s Noroi/The Curse(A found footage film, which I normally despise, and is much more in the way of psychological horror with a supernatural basis. The fear isn’t the demon, it’s how various people react to the demon, for the most part) and the Taking of Deborah Logan(Except for that ending, which almost completely destroys the rest of the film)

    • SpaceManSpliffz .

      mhmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    • Un Gsund

      i understand.. u dont like wan.

    • Overton Green

      wow you tossed some massive shade at Wan lol. I think the original Saw isn’t horror and I never saw it as horror. The sequels were definitely horror and feel totally different than the original in terms of tone..

      I agree with you on most of his films. The Conjuring, and Insidious are both movies that have strong first and second acts but extremely weak third acts.

      I wouldn’t call them weak however. Outside of Saw (and that is only because of the franchise and what it ushered in) he doesn’t have any truly great movies..

      He doesn’t have a Halloween or The Thing. I don’t think in 30 years people will still be talking about how great Insidious and The Conjuring were…

  • he is extremely talented and I like his restraint when it comes to the revelation of the monsters! But the majority of his films are kinda suffering from a dragged third act in my opinion and an explanation of everything towards the end. Still, his images and direction are good enough to make me a fun and the avoidance of using CGI gives him extra points!

  • alwayswipetwice

    How is it ignorant to dismiss box office numbers in a conversation about the quality of someone’s work? There are brilliant filmmakers with movies that make squat, and then there’s also filmmakers like Bay who set records, so again – what’s your point? You’re using one of the biggest fallacies to support your point – which is correlation without causation. Box office draw does not equal quality.

    Saying he’s amazing because he makes the movies “his way” is ridiculous too. The subject matter of his movies is highly marketable. Why would anyone not be allowed to make what he’s making? He’s banking off of a very successful trend, a pop culture phenomenon, a sub-genre, and he’s created franchises out of it (aka: repeat business). There’s nothing creatively brilliant about that. Also, his movies don’t get torn apart by the MPAA because they’re super tame, so he doesn’t have to deal with interference on that level either.

    You’re also putting words in my mouth, which is fucked up. I never said he or his films are trash. I’ve consistently defended him as being talented. What I’m saying is he’s overpraised and I don’t think he deserves to be called a MoH for merely being consistent. He’s got a strong technical grasp on filmmaking, but his movies don’t do anything unique. They’re solid, but there’s nothing groundbreaking or inimitable about them. Nothing.

    Lastly, it’s pathetic that you spent half of your response dismissing me with self-deprecating snarkiness, and in the process referring to Wan fans as “lowbrow horror nimrods” (something I never even insinuated). “So safe travels on your quest to find and only watch/enjoy/appreciate the finer parts of the horror genre.” – what the fuck is that immature bullshit about?

    • Jay Brezzy

      1972, Godfather…one of the best openings…one of the highest grossing films of the year. Why? Jaws grossed 470 million. Why?

      How is this flawed logic to you?? It truly doesn’t matter huh? You are making it seems as if a guy who turned down all the rest of the saw films, is just creating crappy franchisees so he can fill seats. He has two films that he’s created and decided to do sequels to. Two. It’s the studio houses that push that 9 times out of ten. Look at nightmare on elm street….

      I’m saying there is something to making a good horror movie…that’s made your way..and can still be enjoyed by the masses….and physically place people in a theater to go see them. For you to keep thinking it doesn’t matter is laughable.

      As for as my attitude, I’m purposely being silly man, relax. I’ve read a few of your post about Wan, I don’t think you completely disregard his talents. However, you do come like an elitist snob who prefers your specific brand of horror. And I guess that’s fine…it’s all perspective. But if you can’t watch deep blue see and see the fun in that, watch shark night 3d and be disgusted at the trash it is…then see Jaws for the brilliance, ide say there’s a problem with your logic, not mine.

      There is a place for Wan. Do I think he’s a master of horror, no. Never said that once. Can he make a great film that obviously can be enjoyed by the masses? Yes. Is there n art form to this? Obviously. If it was that easy, then one of my favorite films ever, The Fall, would be one of the highest grossing films. It’s not.

      • alwayswipetwice

        The Devil Inside? The PA series? Ouija? or Bay and Sandler movies? Most romcoms? – these are shit films that make money because they aren’t niche films. You’re looking at these numbers in a vacuum, completely devoid of any other influence. Wan doesn’t make niche films, which is why they make money – especially because his films exist in a time when the sub-genre they’re apart of is huge. There’s absolutely zero proof that the quality of a film means it will make a certain amount of money. You continue to draw a vague line between good movies and their box office gross, but haven’t proven a sound logical system. Correlation without causation. Especially when shit movies like the ones I just mentioned make as much, or more, money than Wan’s (both horror and non-horror). The Fall is a niche film. It’s eccentric, which means it’s not marketable. Wan’s films have wide appeal and make money because of their subject matter. So yes, anyone can sell something to a highly profitable market (see above movies).

        You think I’m a snob because I don’t equate the quality of Wan’s films to those of Carpenter, Cronenberg, etc.? This conversation is about crowning Wan as one of the best-of-the-best. While his films are really well made, they’re not groundbreaking. And because I feel that way, then you assume I must not be able to enjoy cheap entertainment? So you are an absolutist who sees people as binary cliches. And by the way, I enjoy the shit out of turds like Jason X.

        • Creepshow

          Everybody loves the shit outta turds. If we are in confession mode here, then…
          “I love the Corky Romano!!” (there, I said it)

          • Sal Silvio

            I’m just a little wired. Ahh, I’m mean wired as in jumpy, not as in there’s a concealed wire in my crotch.

  • James_from_Haulix

    I would like to add Mickey Keating to the list of modern horror masters.

  • Harley Mitchel Dirk

    I’ve fallen in love with James Wan’s recent work. He’s a master craftsman and has consistently made some strong horror films in a time where they were truly needed.

  • Meisha’s Taint

    Mickey Keating is leaps and bounds better in every way and he doesn’t keep doing the same thing over and over again.

  • Meisha’s Taint

    TI West is leaps and bounds better and he doesn’t keep doing the same thing over and over again.

  • ALearnedDoctor

    I really really like what Wan has done but he hasn’t made a masterpiece yet.
    As good as Insidious, The Conjuring and even Saw are there’s just always a little bit lacking or missteps that prevent them from being “masterpieces”.

    He’s great and I really really hope he sticks with the genre because I’m tired of horror just being treated as a stepping stone to something else but he does not deserve the title “Master of Horror” just yet.

  • alwayswipetwice

    Interesting on the Nightbreed and The Howling. Really damn cool to hear Dante knocked it out of the park specifically as an adaptation.

    Just watched The Conjuring again last night because of this discussion. Really damn scary, but the story is nothing. It’s a bunch of scares strung together leading up to the exorcism (which is the only scene that gets an R-rating). I still think Wan is a really talented technical filmmaker, but his films are almost too polished. The fact that it looks so much like a high-end, squeaky clean movie makes it unbelievable. Just a personal thing. I do think his scripts are seriously lacking though. At no point do we see the family functioning in their daily routines as a family. We never get to settle into normalcy in the new house before crazy shit starts happening. Amityville Horror is way better. It’s literally just a movie version of a haunted house. And it’s also nearly the exact same structure as Insidious. It’s almost like The Conjuring is just another draft of the same story except with different names and details plugged in. Creepy house. Married couple. Kids get tormented. Paranormal investigator (with two male assistants). Chairs move on their own. Doors close on their own. Wan completely paints by numbers all too literally. And yeah, the Warrens are just con artists. I’m assuming they used their career as a sneaky way to proselytize their religious beliefs. They weren’t complex characters like Karras in The Exorcist. Just the same from start to finish.

    Oh yeah – Link! With Elizabeth Shue. I’ve been meaning to watch that. I added it to My List a long time ago and has since been buried by other movies. Hopefully it’s still on Netflix. I’ll definitely check it out! Speaking of primate horror/sci-fi, I always loved Congo. I’d love to see Shout give it the blu treatment. Outbreak scared the shit out of me when I saw it. Same freakiness as Contagion.

    • Jay Brezzy

      Yessss…he really did. It was shot well, characters, mood ( something i think is overlooked allot ), special effects were some of my favorite werewolf affects ever ( not the claymation wolves at the very end though lol ). Good stuff.

      So, here’s the thing…you are right. 0 character development in his spooky tales. That part, i do not like. It’s paint by the numbers for sure. Very fun, glossy numbers…but number none the less. I agree. I have been holding my breath for a haunting flick that says right out of the gate, F spooky, here is something horrific right out the gate. Something that while the movie is progressing, I’m still thinking about the one thing that happened 20 minutes ago. Like withing the first 30 minutes…shock the hell out of me with a , ” WTF…the ghost/poltergeist/specter did that “?!?! Not the slow burn attempts, or ” this is what happened in the house before this family purchased it “. Give me something new like that…it would be different for sure. Toss the safe rules. Remember that moment in deep blue sea where Sam Jackson gets killed? It’s still the part everyone talks about. Give me some of those moments throughout. No1 is talking about his films after they have seen them once or twice, because of what you are saying. They are fun while you are there.

      Yes! With Mizz Shue! Freaking loved that movie, you gotta watch it. Fun

      Congo for me was all about the hippos lol. That was awesome. But ” Amy, mad..Amy mad ” lol, ugh. I think the creature effects were done by Stan the Man Winston. The bad apes looked excellent for sure.

      Outbreak was really good i thought too. If were going to go for virus films though…28days later!

      • alwayswipetwice

        “Ugly. Gorillas. Go away.” – Has me rolling every time! XD
        And Dylan Walsh, which is a plus for me because I’m a die-hard Nip/Tuck fan.

        28DL for sure. I think I saw it 3x in theaters because it was so hard to digest what I had seen. I went in expecting a straight-up horror movie, but it transcended the genre into so much more. I’d never seen anything like it. Boyle + Garland = GOLD.

  • Vincent Kane

    I’m sorry but Insidious was not good and The Conjuring was solid for the first two acts. Saw was great though. But what do I know about horror, I think the Exorcist was more of a comedy…

    • Travis

      It’s good to be aware of what you do and don’t like.

  • alwayswipetwice

    Yeah, Nip/Tuck went off the deep end after a while, but I was so invested in the characters by then that I don’t think I was all that phased. That whole story arc of S5 with Colleen Rose was pretty crazy (but awesome, I thought). Once they moved to Hollywood, it almost became like GTA V or Maps To the Stars (masterpiece), in regards to the satirical lunacy of that culture. Miami didn’t seem half as crazy in perspective! lol. I thought Walsh was good for the role in The Stepfather, it was just the script that sucked. He was like a crazy version of Sean.

    Sounds like a damn cool job! Boyle is definitely a technical genius, among his other talents.

    Dog Soldiers is amazing. Not sure if it’s just shitty dvd quality or that their budget was too low to have proper lighting, but is it just me or is that movie really poorly lit? (like TCMIII and Hatchet). Off the top of my head, the only other werewolf movies I like are Ginger Snaps (1 & 2), Wolf, Silver Bullet, Cursed, Wolfcop, and American Werewolf In Paris. The last three on the list are complete shit, but good entertainment, imo.

  • PsychoMantis18

    So cause I didn’t specify and you prematurely concluded that I meant the remakes, i’m responsible for making you look stupid? Alright then.

    • Jay Brezzy

      Holy shit photo creeper, you are still clicking on my photo dude? There’s no one else you stalk today? Must really be on your mind. Isn’t it enough that you keep holding the control key and scrolling your middle mouse button to zoom in as close as you can to the bottom half of my avatar? Can’t get enough I see.

      You didn’t specify, I prematurely concluded: sure sounds like that’s my fault. Sure made me look stupid. You got me creeper…you did.

      • PsychoMantis18

        Way to loose gracefully.

  • PsychoMantis18

    You’re still going…..

  • Mysterious_Man

    I just watched The Conjuring 2, and I’ve finally decided I don’t like James Wan. All of his post-Saw period movies have essentially been the same movie over and over and over again. He never leaves the whole ‘haunted house with possessed kids’ formula, with the result being that if you’ve seen one Wan movie you’ve seen at least 5 or 6 others. Just watch The Conjuring and you can skip pretty much everything he has done since 2006 because it’s all the same movie.

    In addition to the fact that his movies are all the same, they have no character development whatsoever. His characters just feel like replaceable stand-ins with no life of their own, aside from MAYBE John Kramer. He definitely hasn’t produced a horror icon on the level of any of Carpenter’s.

    I realize Leigh Whannell shares some of the blame for this as he wrote most Wan films, so you can substitute ‘Wan/Whannel’ for ‘James Wan’ if you wish. Although the suckage did continue in the Wan films that Whannel didn’t write…

  • ben

    have to say none of the above films were good horror movies.There hasn’t been a good horror in the last 10 years. The Genre has died a painful death. People fear what they dont see, Films that make you use your imagination. Just because you can now show someone chopping off a limb in all its graphical glory doesn’t mean you should. Look at great movies like Psycho, there is zero on screen violence and it is still scary to this day. Saw one is not a horror movie at all, its simply torture and although torture is extremely distasteful it is not horror. Today directors would do well to learn the difference. There is a vast difference between horror and making people feel uncomfortable and disgusted. Putting someone in a horrific situation, in itself is simply not horror and it seems people no longer understand the difference. They just want to go for more disgust and push the boundary’s of what they can show on screen. They would do well to concentrate on an actual story and character evolution, to make the viewers care about them, because horror comes from being afraid of what can happen to those characters and maybe one day we will see a decent horror movie, rather than being grossed out or becoming desensitised to the violence on screen.

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