Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Tribute To Horror Director Rolfe Kanefsky


I’d like to take some time to pay tribute to one of my favorite horror directors, Rolfe Kanefsky. Since making his first feature film in 1990, the horror spoof “There’s Nothing Out There”, he has been building an impressive resume of cult favorites in both the horror and comedy genres. When Rolfe was 20 years old, his father (film editor Victor Kanefsky) agreed to mortgage the family home in order to finance his first film. Although not the financial success the Kanefsky’s hoped for, “There’s Nothing Out There” has built a fairly strong following in the horror community over the years. The film’s claim to fame will always be the character of Mike (Craig Peck), who plays a horror movie aficionado who uses his knowledge of horror clichés in order to help his friends escape from certain doom. I don’t know, but I think Kevin Williamson might have rented this one in the early 90’s before he wrote “Scream”.

After over a decade of directing mainly soft-core films (“Emmanuelle”, “Sex Files”), Rolfe made his return to horror with 2004’s “The Hazing”, featuring a cameo by horror icon Brad Dourif. The film was well received by both fans and critics alike.

He followed that up with the noticeably lower-budget zombie film “Corpses”, which was released the same year. It starred scream queen Tiffany Shepis (who also starred in “The Hazing”) and Jeff “The Lawnmower Man” Fahey. Though not too happy with the way this one came out, stating various problems during the film’s production, I thought it was a pretty fun zombie-comedy flick.

In 2005, he made “Jacqueline Hyde” (a retelling of the classic Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde story). In this film, that Rolfe believes one day will get it’s just due, he again blends horror and comedy while bringing back traces of his past soft-core movie days.

The following year he finally got his shot at the big screen with “Nightmare Man”. After receiving multiple awards during it’s run on the film festival circuit, it was picked up by Lionsgate and released theatrically in November of 2007 as part of their annual After Dark Horrorfest.

In the years following “Nightmare Man”, Rolfe has released a couple of very underrated teen comedies (“Pretty Cool”, “Pretty Cool Too”) and a soon to be released thriller (“One in the Gun”). It’s been 5 years now since his last horror film, so I’m pretty sure his love for the genre should bring him back soon. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some fun horror movies that don’t take themselves too seriously, check out some of these flicks from a true independent filmmaker.

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