Masters of Horror 3: Robert Eggers

The Masters of Horror is a series of articles discussing the upcoming faces of the horror genre, and what makes them noteworthy and standout. Today’s subject needs no introduction; he is the A24 darling, the pride of Film Twitter he is, of course, Robert Eggers.
Of all the names in this series, Eggers has directed the least number of feature films, but the one he did direct, 2015’s The Witch, was such a chilling hit, that it put Eggers on everyone’s list of directors to keep an eye on.
Cut to 2019 and Eggers second film the Lighthouse has released images, at the time of writing, only and everyone in the horror and film community is already ablaze with intrigue. This illustrates just how utterly brilliant Eggers feature film debut was.
The Witch is a hard sell on many levels, for one thing, the characters talk in Old English which at times can be hard to understand, and secondly, the plot suffers from the same thing Aster’s is said to do, namely, being overly drawn out and boring.
However, if you get past this, you see it for the masterpiece it is and know how both of those complaints are invalid. The plot focuses on a family who is excommunicated from the church and is left to fend for themselves in the wilderness; while being stalked by the Devil Himself.
The events of the film are very intricate in that you need to pay attention to the smallest detail to be able to figure out quite what is going on; this lends the film to re-watching, as I have re-watched it at least four times learning something new every time. Furthermore, there is a beautiful juxtaposition of thoughts as you are left thinking is the family just going insane or, are there evil demonic forces at work. The atmosphere of the film is oppressive right from the start, with a building sense of dread that never leaves, only intensifies. The cast is superb, with each actor bringing something to the film in a meaningful way, even the three child actors in the movie are good, if a little hate-able, which is no small feat.
However, the breakout star of the film is Anya-Taylor Joy, who went on to be in Split and the as of yet unreleased New Mutants. Joy works so perfectly off the themes Eggers employs, such as the corruption of the youth and freedom through sin vs servitude through morality. Throughout the film, we see her character become more and more tempted to sin, as eventually she is forced into a situation where it is her only hope.
Eggers plasters religious allegories and metaphors throughout the film, which only serve to heighten this duality between good vs evil in the most well-thought-out way. With each character dying by the hand of their own deadly sin.
Eggers’ film is so utterly oppressive and enthralling that he easily deserves a place amongst the Master of Horror, and if his second feature film outing The Lighthouse can keep this same tone and effect then it could easily be one of the best horror films of the generation, possibly even up there with the Witch.
A final fact of note is that Eggers is working on a remake of the classic vampire film, Nosferatu which I couldn’t be more excited for, I can’t wait to see Eggers take and hopefully deconstruction of what is a vampire.

Masters of Horror 2: Jordan Peele

So to briefly recap, The Masters of Horror is a series of articles I’m writing in which I drive into new and upcoming names in horror cinema, to hopefully inspire you the reader to check out these visionaries and their works. Said creators and directors are all bringing something new to the table with their specific creative visions; none more so embody this than today’s subject Jordan Peele. Peele rose to prominence as a comedian with his friend Keegan- Micheal Key; having proven his comedic genius over many years of performing, with Toy Story 4 and Keanu as proof. However, in 2017 it all changed Peele took a substantial left-field turn into horror, this, of course, was his film Get Out.
In the lead up to Get Outs release, many people were skeptical as to whether a horror film written and directed by a comedian could be good. Then the first trailer came out, and all the doubt turned into cautious anticipation. When Get Out released audiences realised just how misplaced their suspicions had been, being met with was a horror film that made you think. The horror wasn’t in jump scares; there were no demonic possessions or over-reliance on gore; instead, it focuses on a man going to meet his girlfriends family for the first time, a very personal and human fear. Admittedly this was no ordinary family; instead, a family obsessed with the ideas of racial superiority and a strange form of hypnotism, but hey it’s a horror film. The subtle racial tensions that coursed through the film’s veins added an extra layer of not only uncomfortability but also social commentary. Get Out was an unexpectedly massive hit with it becoming far more significant than anyone would have ever expected it to be. This significance mainly comes from Peele’s breed of horror, which focuses itself on themes of identity and races taking his horror cues from human nature and the inner darkness within us all. Much like the subject of part one Ari Aster, Peele likes his films to be ambiguous, for them to be able to be interpreted different ways by different people lending them more to debates and theory crafting. Peel’s second release US, a film with more of a conventional horror threat evil, killer doubles, shows this almost without question as the film poses many questions, who are the Teethered, why are they so hell-bent on murder, and what does the whole Hands Across America event have to do with the overall narrative? None of these questions have answers, and that is by design; with Peele most likely knowing that the answers he could provide are less satisfying than the ones in people’s heads; there is an intense horror in ambiguity after all. Peele is very keen to show us all that real fear can lurk below the surface, sometimes literally, and can come from even the most mundane of circumstance. In this current year of 2019, you can’t have a conversation about horror cinema without Peele’s name coming up, and that is an incredibly good thing, as his approach is undeniably fresh and novel. With a new Peele horror film releasing horror fans are feverish with excitement, and I believe that is because he, much like some of the other names on this list, can be trusted to provides us horror fans with a much-needed break from the same old possession or haunted house horror film. For his deep dive into what drives us not only as people but society through the means of horror, I think Jordan Peele is very deserving to be amongst the ranks of the Masters of Horror.