Monday, December 9, 2013

ICONIC DIRECTOR-ACTRESS COLLABORATIONS AND WHAT THEY DID FOR HORROR

Ever since I was singing songs from Disney's HERCULES as a child, I've always thought that the concept of being a "muse" for another person was one of the highest compliments a person could receive.  Sure, I've had old boyfriends write songs about me (...about how I broke their heart) but to know that there are artists out there that find themselves the most inspired because of another individual's sheer existence, is magical.  Nowadays, it seems that we have a lot less muses and a lot more "creators falling in love with an actress and putting them in all of their movies."  Whether or not relationships were/are artist-muse or simply romantically linked, the horror genre has seen a fair share of creators continuing to spotlight the women with whom they seem to be fascinated.
(NOTE: Of course there are TONS to choose from, I chose my favorite five.)

Somewhere, some Goth kids in Tuscon are recreating this for an engagement photo shoot.

TIM BURTON & HELENA BONHAM CARTER
Quite possibly the most obvious pairing is between the king and queen of "People to inspire designs at Hot Topic." People often forget that before these two paired up and started working together, they had very impressive careers.  Bonham Carter is a two-time Academy Award nominated actress and Burton is a bonafide film auteur.  However, it can be argued that when the two join forces...the work isn't nearly as powerful as when they're apart.  Don't get me wrong, SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET was surprisingly solid, but when it feels like Tim Burton is writing roles to play to the strengths of both his wife and his best friend (Johnny Depp) the characters fall into a category of predictability.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, we all know exactly what we're getting when we buy a ticked for a Tim Burton film.  However, I'll bet money that his next project BIG EYES with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz is going to be a beast of a different color. You know, with the exception of the paintings of kids with saucepan eyes.

The lady behind Rose McGowan is making a hilarious face in that picture. Moving on.
ROBERT RODRIGUEZ & ROSE MCGOWAN
Once upon a time, Robert Rodriguez made El Mariachi which blew the doors off of anything else anyone was making for only $7,000.  So much so, Columbia pictures bought the damn thing and put Rob Rod on the map.  A long time collaborator with Quentin Tarantino and the king of kid's Sci-Fi films, Robert Rodriguez brought the horror world THE FACULTY, FROM DUSK TIL DAWN, PLANET TERROR, and a load of other genre films that many of us love genuinely or as a "guilty pleasure." (I'm looking at you MACHETE KILLS.)  Robert Rodriguez has made some pretty amazing stuff...and then he met Rose McGowan.  Whether or not Rodriguez was banging McGowan while he was still married is neither here nor there.  What DID happen, is that Rodriguez fell in love with this woman and then completely changed his filmmaking path.  SIN CITY 2 was put on hold because he wanted to remake BARBARELLA with McGowan in the titular role.  He had plans to remake RED SONJA also starring McGowan as well as a McGowan leading tv series about a women's prison called WOMEN IN CHAINS!  Where did all of these projects go?!  Why did we get SHORTS: THE ADVENTURES OF THE WISHING ROCK instead of these amazing ideas?  Well, because after leaving his wife for this woman, they did what all Hollywood couples did and broke up.  Rodriguez made serious, serious plans for his career all based around this woman and then it all turned to shit.  I'm hoping SIN CITY 2 doesn't suck, because I would hate to know Rob Rodriguez ruined his career all because of the chick from JAWBREAKER.

Hey, just forget the part where I psychologically tortured my actresses.
HITCHCOCK & HIS ICY BLONDES
While they may not have all been the same actress, Alfred Hitchcock's obsession with ice-blonde haired women has inspired the way horror films are cast today.  Alfred Hitchcock is considered by most to be the foremost master of suspense and thriller filmmaking, and his work has inspired just about every filmmaker working today.  Whether it's copying his film style or editing techniques, I can't tell you how many times I've heard people describe a film as "Hitchcockian."  So why the blondes?  Hitchcock himself has stated "Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints."  This belief is definitely still something we see today.  With a few exceptions, most of our "final girls" are brunette while their quick-to-die friends are blonde.  It's very strange, but Hitchcock's obsession with blonde women has rolled over into the way we as audiences view female characters in thriller/horror movies.

I can't believe those Duck Dynasty guys got such hot wives! Oh, that's Rob Zombie...
 ROB ZOMBIE & SHERI MOON ZOMBIE
Talk about a man who loves his woman.  What started out as just a another glorified video vixen relationship became a staple of Zombie's filmography.  Personally, I really enjoy Sheri Moon Zombie.  I think she's extremely talented and has a really strong range of characterizations.  Unlike Tim Burton who I believe writes his characters for the actors he has, I genuinely believe Rob Zombie writes his characters first and then finds the people to fill the roles.  Sheri Moon Zombie was an amazing Baby Firefly in HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, and I actually liked her as Mama Myers in his first HALLOWEEN movie.  But then...HALLOWEEN II happened.  If the blatant stray from the Michael Myers mythos wasn't enough, he transformed what was an amazing character in Deborah Myers and turned her into this weird ass...thing.  The characterization was so ridiculous, people were laughing at Sheri Moon Zombie and talking about how "awful" she was.  Here's the thing, she wasn't awful, that character was awful. She was actually doing her job very well and giving a performance that fit what Rob Zombie wanted...but what he wanted was just a little absurd.  Following that mess, THE LORDS OF SALEM happened.  I think Rob Zombie actually wrote a solid piece, but Sheri Moon Zombie was painfully miscast.  That doesn't mean she's a bad actress, it means she wasn't right for the role. I commend someone who looks this beautiful to often bare it all and be downright "ugly" which is a feat many actresses are afraid to tackle.  However, you can be the best actress in the world and be miscast.  THAT is what we can learn from these two.





JOHN CARPENTER & ADRIENNE BARBEAU
Adrienne Barbeau made a name for herself when she originated the role of Rizzo in the first Broadway production of GREASE.  Following the Tony nominated performance, she played Bea Arthur's daughter in the hit-TV show MAUDE.  In an effort to destroy the notion that she could only play comedic roles or roles on television, she auditioned for the made-for-tv movie SOMEONE'S WATCHING ME! where she met and fell in love with John Carpenter.  Carpenter was absolutely smitten with Barbeau and the two soon married.  While Barbeau wasn't cast in his next film (a little movie called HALLOWEEN) he later cast her as the lead in THE FOG, and in ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, and she's the only female (excluding the alien) in THE THING as the voice of MacReady's computer chess game.  Adrienne Barbeau and John Carpenter's collaborations may have been only a few films but John Carpenter completely changed the course of Barbeau's career.  Adrienne Barbeau went from a musical theatre/tv darling and is now one of the biggest horror and genre film icons.  She was a bonafide sex symbol that wasn't afraid to play with ghosts in the fog or battle in a dystopian future known as 1997.  Without Carpenter, we would have never been lulled by the velvet voice of Antonio Bay.


HONORABLE MENTION: Roger Corman & Hazel Court. Obviously.

3 comment(s):

Illsa Gorrey said...

I have to admit that probably my all-time favorite performance by Adrienne Barbeau was in Creepshow. "Very funny, Henry. Now, if you don't move, you're gonna be wearing your balls for earrings." Adrienne and Hal Holbrook had the best relationship gone bad ever in that bit and "Fluffy" (the thing in the crate) was the icing on the cake.

Marvin the Macabre said...

Yay! Someone on the internet who doesn't despise Sheri Moon Zombie! I would like to hear you elaborate on why you think she was miscast in Lords, though. I thought she was perfect for the part.

Warden Stokely said...

Oh Baby, She was a little darling Baby, for sure. I dug on Lords of Salem, and thought she was great, especially in the studio, but then when she was staring at the Neon cross, I thought, hhmmm, I don't think I'd look like that if I was in a trance staring at a Neon cross, it just seemed a little flat. Than she seemed to get great again, seriously nailed the return to being an addict part, but then once she got into the theater, and was walking up to the altar, she got flat again. And then, the climax, or the last 20 minutes of the movie, I was just trying to keep up, but was totally lost. She might not be the greatest actress, but I'd bet many of the naysayers are simply jealous. Until next time...Keep those fires stoked.
Eternally Yours

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