Vol. 1, Issue #20 Oct. 27th - Nov. 9th, 2006

Lucky McKee: The New Master of Horror
By: Ryk Weston

Lucky McKee knows horror films. With several films already under his belt, up and coming horror film director Edward “Lucky” McKee is setting new standards in the direction of todays horror cinema. Take for example his newest opus The Woods released this year from United Artists which tells the story of a young troubled girl befallen by a boarding school with a cursed and sinister past. A true ghost story if there ever was one, The Woods almost didn’t see light as the film was temporarily shelved before being the studio was bought out by Metro Goldwyn Mayer. “Yeah, I was hired by United Artists to make the film as an independent, and was hired by a real cool dude. About halfway through cutting he was no more at the studio and MGM took over. It was a whole other deal, fighting with the edit for over a year. And then right when I finally finished the cut, MGM got bought by Sony so my movie was in limbo for a year with nobody knowing what to do with it. Nobody wanted to claim it because its kinda left and center. It’s not a remake, it’s not Japanese. It was this weird old fashioned atmospheric horror movie!”, laughs Lucky.

If there’s one thing to be said about Lucky McKee, it is that he shows a penchant for originality. Since his days of growing up in the foothills of Calaveras County, California, to his newest residence in Oklahoma, Lucky has strived to make the most of what he deems as “true horror films”. After a four year stint at USC, Lucky traveed back home to shoot his first independant film All Cheerleaders Die which has since become a cult classic among true horror film buffs. A few years later, he would soon erupt into the movie scene with the Frankenstein-inspired release May, a film about a girl who assembles her ideal friend through the body parts of selected victims. Filmed in late 2001, May saw its release at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival for a one night showing. Eventually, Lions Gate Films released May for a short theatrical release. Now with The Woods already in stores, Lucky is currently in production with Red which is based on the Jack Ketchum novel. “It’s kind of not really a horror movie. It’s funny because it’s based on a book by one of the most notorious horror authors. It’s like a drama, but it’s got some violence and some bite to it. It’s really fucking harsh in some places. For the most part it’s really character driven drama, so it’s going to be kind of a shift for me after finishing my female horror trilogy.”, says Lucky.

With so many fresh ideas, one has to wonder if originality even has a place in Hollywoods horror market being that so many remakes are being pushed onto the market today. Says Lucky, “I just don’t understand why a film maker would want to remake something that’s just been made. They’re remaking The Birds! It’s ridiculous. But you know, what are you going to do? Hollywood is based on owning a property and milking it. I get offered shit like that all the time, but I just can’t do it, you know? It’s like having a brand name that you just keep milking. And a lot of those directors are guys who come from commercials. They just have a completely different mind set than someone who’s striving to be a real cinematic visual stylist; someone with their own unique brand of stamp. But they’re making a lot of dough!”, Lucky says with a laugh. “But my life’s pretty fulfilled, you know. I get to meet really cool people and I get to work on original shit.”

Let’s face the facts. A good horror film has no business being remade. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”, and this logic holds true to Lucky. “I like watching the old stuff, man. It’s like, what do you have time to watch? Do I want to watch something that’s old and original, or do I want to watch something new and remade, you know? Like the Texas Chainsaw thing is just blasphemy to me. All of it! Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the Citizen Kane of modern horror. It’s like, just re-release the old one. You’d just get as much out of it.”

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