Nerdy Stuff, Pop Culture

Directing the Dead – Horror Films at SXSW

Photo from Flickr user TommyC


  • Neil Marshall – The Descent
  • Quentin Tarantino canceled :(
  • Robert Rodriguez – Sin City
  • Matt Reeves – Cloverfield
  • Scott Weinberg
  • Ruben Fleischer – Zombieland
  • Ti West– the House of the Devil
  • Moderator: Scott Weinberg –, cinematical


Topic 1 – MPAA Ratings Board

  • Tactics to getting what you want: Add shock at the beginning so they can give me something to cut, desaturate the blood
  • Cloverfield – got an R at first for “Monster Intensity”
  • Rules for trailers: Nothing with violence and kids, can’t shoot a gun directly at the camera
  • Fleischer: On Zombieland, we knew it would be R, because you have to shoot a zombie in the head to kill it
  • Fleischer: You don’t want a “soft R” so the 17 year old kids who get to go hear one more ‘fuck’ – recurring comment “not enough boobs”
  • Advice: Do the cut you want initially, fight over that
  • Guidelines change year to year – at one time there was as much gore as you want but no sex, no nudity – very arbitrary

On Nudity in Horror

  • What does nudity add to a horror film? Nudity = vulnerability
  • Also, the arbitrary boobs for the teenage audience who rarely sees R rated movies, they expect it

Topic 2 – Remakes

  • Great remake – the Thing
  • Matt Reeves: “It really comes down to your respect and love of the material”  “it matters what your intentions are” “the original will always exist” “be respectful and intentioned, hoping to bring something new”
  • West – “As long as I have my own ideas, I’ll try to do those”
  • Marshall – “the problem is the overwhelming amount of remakes – they think it’s a cash cow, and that’s not allowing original stuff to come out as well. But I don’t have a problem with remakes because if it’s a really passionate project”
  • Robert – avoid the traps of honoring the original – “I take the George Lucas approach – when he couldn’t get the rights to Flash Gordon he went and made Star Wars”

On Premiering Movies in Austin

Good place for premiere – Alamo Drafthouse in Austin “eye opening experience of how awesome things can be” “the way you support films in general, you may not know this – but it’s not as good everywhere else”

Topic 3 – 3D!

  • Rodriguez – Horror films are perfect for 3d
  • West – “I saw Alice in Wonderland in 2d” “In avatar, the 3d was cooler than the movie. You gotta wonder when the technology comes first, is that good or bad for movies?”
  • Ruben: “You’re seeing the world in greater dimension” “when I look at shots in Zombieland, I wonder how much better they would have been” “It’s a cool way to make it more entertaining” Zombieland 2 we’re writing with 3d in mind
  • The biggest point: 3d is a tool – it can be used well or not

On the support and positivity in the horror genre

Making a film is a really traumatic experience, so having nice people around you is important.

“A lot of us came from low budget or no budget” – so we want each other to succeed.

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