Tuesday, March 25, 2008

So, Its Steven Miner Now, Is It?

Steve Miner used to be one of the more dependable horror hacks in the biz – and I mean that in the most complementary terms. After a stint of miscellaneous production work with Sean Cunningham on Last House on the Left and Friday the 13th, he was given a shot at directing with the first two Friday the 13th sequels in the 80s (Part 2 being the best of the franchise and part 3 being perhaps the best use of 3D to date), followed in quick succession by House and Soul Man (which probably isn’t nearly as funny as I remember it) for New Line before slipping into television. In-between episodes of The Wonder Years, Dawson’s Creek, and Karen Sisco, Miner returned to the genre with another franchise-best sequel (Halloween H20) and the more-fun-than-it-had-any-right-to-be Lake Placid. Though his forays into “legit” pictures haven’t set too many hearts a flutter; in spite of the presence of Mel Gibson and a script by a then-unknown J.J. Abrams, there’s nothing memorable about Forever Young, though if you had to watch a Tom Arnold movie, I’m sure there’s worse than Big Bully out there…

But having said that, I’ve never been disappointed by any of his horror work. There’s no visual stamp, no patented “Miner shot” – he’s a hired gun, brought onto projects when the studio wants someone with a genre track record, but who also works cheaply and quickly. Lake Placid showed what Miner could do with an ‘A’ cast – well, certainly a B+ – and a light, bouncy script (by David E Kelly, no less) and I’ll take that over all the smarmy “Oh my God, how funny is it that we’re talking about horror movies while we’re in a horror movie!!!” that washed up post-Scream (which was directed by Wes Craven, who also directed Last House on the Left).

I haven’t heard anything good about his Day of the Dead remake yet, but I’ll hold out some hope, anyway. I hope the perceived quality of the film isn’t responsible for the change from Steve (as he’s always been listed in credits, and how he’s currently listed on the IMDB) to Steven, as it’s unlikely to fool anyone – even Elmer Fudd wised up to the sexy lady rabbit disguises after a while. It would be especially bad to see a lousy Day of the Dead remake, because there happens to be a very good script for Day that never got made, and it was written by George A Romero. A last minute slash of the original’s budget forced Romero to completely rethink and reduce the scope of his script – consigning all the action to an underground storage mine. The original script is readily available online and I’d imagine that some minor check-writing on the studio’s part could have secured them the rights.

Well, good luck anyway Steve(n). Nobody’s rooting for you harder than I am.

And really, if you’re going to rip off a tepid werewolf/biker pic for your ad art, try Werewolves On Wheels.