In the 90s, fans of televised horror anthologies were well-fed. The success of Tales from the Crypt ushered in a wave of copycats but fans weren’t complaining. We got cheap knockoffs such as Tales from the Darkside and Monsters, updated reboots of older classics such as Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, adaptations of famous movies that drew very little inspiration from their source material like Freddy’s Nightmares and Friday the 13th and even horror shows aimed at children like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? It was the halcyon days, a glorious time to be a horror fan. But by the end of the decade, the fad was over and they all died out. For years, televised anthology horror laid dormant until a few started trickling in. The British got in on the action first with Inside No. 9 and Black Mirror, then we picked the baton with Creepshow and Love, Death and Robots, and hopefully, Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities will finally be the thing to bring it back in earnest. As of this writing, the show seems to be a success, with critics and fans both loving it. Netflix hasn’t officially renewed it but if they do, these are ten directors I think would be interesting choices for the next season.
These are my Ten Directors Who Should Direct Segments For Cabinet of Curiosities Season 2.
10. Kane Pixels
At just 16 years old, Kane Parsons (Kane Pixels on YouTube) directed The Backrooms — a short horror film based on the popular Creepypasta that took the internet by storm — and it’s one of the most impressive horror shorts on the platform. He has released a handful of follow-ups expanding upon the lore and each one is more impressive than the last. It’s truly remarkable what he’s able to achieve at such a young age and it’s just a matter of time before Blumhouse or even Marvel comes a-calling. His mastery of tone and VFX wizardry is already that good and he’s barely out of high school. Del Toro has the chance to tap a potential horror prodigy who would be the first to come out of the YouTube age and that to me is the most exciting thing about having your own anthology show, the ability to showcase a new, interesting voice in horror and there ain’t none newer or more interesting than Kane Pixels.
09. Jason Eisener
With some of the best and most comedically brutal shorts of all time, you’d think every studio would be lining up to work with Jason Eisener but for some reason, it just hasn’t happened. The last person to recognize his mad genius was Robert Rodriguez when he picked his Hobo With a Shotgun short as the winner of a fake trailer contest he ran to promote Grindhouse. That short eventually became a feature film and until this year with the release of Kids vs. Aliens, that was all she wrote. Every horror fan has seen his other shorts — Treevenge, Y is For Youngbuck, Slumber Party Alien Abduction, and One Last Dive, which means every horror producer has seen these shorts, and yet, his phone ain’t ringing. He’s already proven himself a unique talent, so Del Toro might need to throw him a bone to remind everyone how great he is.
08. Casper Kelly
Primarily known for the Cheddar Goblin commercial in Mandy, Casper Kelly is the lunatic behind Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell and the infamous Internet video Too Many Cooks. That’s about it. He doesn’t have that many credits to his name but his talent and insane sense of humor are already crystal clear. A feature-length version of his brand of crazy might be too much but a segment in a horror anthology would be the perfect fit. If Del Toro is looking for a hodgepodge of different voices to showcase, Kelly (and the next entry) would certainly add a different flavor of spice to the show.
07. Dario Russo
Anyone who knows me knows how much I won’t shut up about Dario Russo, the man behind Italian Spider-Man and Danger 5. When Marvel fired Gunn over offensive tweets from over a decade ago, he was my number one choice to helm Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. I think both directors have similar energies and I’d love to see him get a shot at the big time (still holding out hope that he’s picked for the inevitable X-Statix movie) but that doesn’t seem like it’s coming any time soon. He’s either far too strange to trust with a big budget or studios just aren’t aware that he exists. Someone, anyone needs to trust this man with a budget and while Del Toro isn’t necessarily known for rolling the dice on oddballs, he did hand-select Catherine Hardwicke to direct an episode in the previous season and that’s about as odd a choice as there is, so maybe his net is a bit wider reaching than it seems.
06. Ernest Dickerson
When picking directors for an anthology, there’s a tendency to look toward the new. We’ve already seen what the OG masters of horror can do, so they don’t need to prove themselves. But a lot of those old directors need work and since they aren’t new, they’re most likely never going to get a chance to helm anything big ever again. Big directors like Carpenter, Landis, Dante, and Coscarelli have already left their mark and while it would be fun to see them direct one last thing, if I’m limiting myself to just one old-school horror director, I want one that never really got his due. Starting out as Spike Lee’s cinematographer, Dickerson eventually branched out on his own with Juice, a helluva debut. He followed that up with a handful of underrated action movies and two horror hidden gems: Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight and Bones. He’s been working in Television since the early 00s and outside of episodes in Masters of Horror and Fear Itself, he’s never gone back to horror and I think that’s a shame. He’s clearly a talented filmmaker with a real sense of fun in his films. Cinema needs more directors like him.
05. Tommy Wirkola
With each film he does, Wirkola tries to challenge himself by taking on a new genre and by embodying a director of the genre he’s tackling. Basically what I’m saying is, he likes mixing it up and keeping it fresh by never repeating himself and by imbuing his films with the essence of different directors. You can see shades of Rodriguez, Raimi, Bekmambetov, and Duncan Jones in his various films which is the perfect trait for a replacement director. He’d bring his own distinct sensibilities to the project whilst maintaining the feeling of the previous one by channeling the original director. It’s the best of both worlds. Basically what I’m saying is, he’d only enhance the segment around him without stealing the spotlight.
04. Timo Tjahjanto
When they announced a remake of Train to Busan, every horror fan immediately lost their shit because (a) it just came out and doesn’t need a remake and (b) you can’t improve upon perfection. Most of the fans stopped bitching however once they picked a director. One half of the Mo Brothers and one-time collaborator of Gareth Evans (the V/H/S 2 segment Safe Haven), Timo Tjahjanto may have a fondness for teaming up with other directors but his style is uniquely his own. Mixing the macabre with action and the grotesque with the horrific, Tjahjanto is a mad chemist who isn’t afraid to mix and match genres. He’s one of the most interesting horror directors working today and he’d be a perfect fit for Del Toro’s anthology.
03. Carlota Pereda
Del Toro loves advocating for and producing works of new Spanish directors and I’m betting hard money the next one he’s going to help will be Carlota Pereda. Based on the short film of the same name, her debut Piggy was a festival darling and a huge critical success with some comparing it favorably to Carrie. More of a revenge thriller than horror, Piggy follows Sara (Laura Galán), an overweight girl who is tormented by local girls in her village during the Summer. When her bullies are kidnapped by a stranger, Sara faces a dilemma about what to do about it: help the police find them or seek vengeance. It’s a brutal, uncompromising thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s about as good a calling card as a director can make, so it’s inevitable it put her on Del Toro’s radar.
02. Hideo Kojima
Since the overlap between movie watchers and gamers isn’t as big as you’d think, most probably don’t know that Del Toro is a huge video game fan and has tried to make one for well over a decade now. His first unsuccessful attempt was a FPS called Unsane and his second and more famous failure is Silent Hills aka P.T. It was going to be a collaboration between himself, Junji Ito, Norman Reedus and famed video game designer Hideo Kojima. It obviously fell apart but their friendship didn’t. They later worked on Death Stranding together and I’m betting they would love to work together again. While Kojima has never made a movie, his video games are notorious for having absurdly long cutscenes, so honestly, he’s halfway there. The man clearly loves cinema (and horror), so why not throw him a bone and let him direct something finally? It would be a weird left curve but if you’ve ever played anything from Kojima, that’s par for the course.
01. Joseph Winter, Vanessa Winter
Although their names conjure up feelings of cold, The Winters are white hot right now. They directed Deadstream, which was a huge hit for Shudder and To Hell and Back, inarguably the best segment in V/H/S 99. Their works are reminiscent of early Raimi and Jackson and I’m extremely curious to see what they do next. Pulling off a successful horror comedy that pays equal service to both the comedy and the horror, is no small task. Far too many lean into the comedy and forget to be scary but Deadstream is scary and funny in equal measure. It’s a damn good debut and I personally think it’s one of the best horror films of the year. They are the most obvious choice for an anthology show but sometimes the obvious choice is the right one.