The tremendous success of “The Shape of Water” further cemented Guillermo del Toro as a top director in Hollywood. Unsurprisingly, del Toro has inked a major deal with a top production house. Fox Searchlight will be bankrolling several new del Toro projects. What is surprising, however, would be the upcoming joint venture between Fox Searchlight and del Toro to create a horror label. Del Toro won’t be directing the horror films made by the label. Instead, he will assume a development and production role.
The horror genre has suffered ups and downs recently. A few films turned out to be big hits at the box office. “Get Out” and “Stephen King’s It” would be the two that quickly come to mind when discussing hits. Overall, however, the genre isn’t as hot with audiences as it was 15 or so years ago.
Del Toro clearly is a fan of the horror genre. The director wishes to see a horror resurgence. Del Toro’s new label would provide a forum for innovative horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The word to look closely at here is “innovative.”
One reason horror movies start to lose appeal at the box office would be a total lack of quality. “Jigsaw” serves as a perfect example how a poorly-written screenplay combined with boring characters turned off fans hoping for entertaining scares. When the producers of a horror movie don’t seem to care about quality, fans cease patronizing the genre. A “wait for DVD/cable” attitude takes hold. Theatrical releases stumble.
With the right approach to developing quality horror films, the genre could thrive again. Del Toro certainly has the right creative mind to run a horror label. Hopefully, the products he and Fox Searchlight eventually produce live up to their promise.