Robert Eggers has been bringing his own particular brand of creep to cinemas since his feature
length debut, The Witch, back in 2015. Since then, he has gone on to write and direct 2019’s The Lighthouse and this week sees the release of sweeping epic, The Northman. Eggers seems to be able to instill a deep and unsettling sense of uncanny in his work, choosing to explore
unconventional characters in unusual settings.
It feels like he has directed or written many more films than these three feature length movies. In such a short space of time, Robert Eggers has become synonymous with the indie production house, A24, and with their particular style of horror movie. Eggers never goes in for anything too graphic or standard jump scares. Instead, he allows lengthy pauses or blink-and-you’ll-miss-it images to do all the work. He certainly has those A24 vibes down to a tee.
Robert Eggers is also rumoured to be working on a remake of F.W. Murnau’s silent Expressionist classic, Nosferatu, starring Anya Taylor Joy (oh, please, let this be true). So, with that in mind, we’re listing five other movies we’d love to see the Eggers touch applied to.
Waxworks is a German Expressionist horror classic, starring Emil Jannings and Conrad Veidt. The
director of a wax museum hires a writer to create stories for three new models: Harun Al-Rashid, Ivan the Terrible, and Jack the Ripper. Anyone who has ever been to a Madame Tussaud’s knows that it feels like the eyes of the models are following you across the room.
And, in this film, they really do. It’s the perfect creepy setting for one of Robert Eggers’ tales because it feels claustrophobic and dystopian. And, while he wouldn’t have to shoot in black and white, it really does lend itself to the horror of this story.
James Whale’s movie is full of dripping walls, spiraling, uneven staircases, and dramatic bolts of
lightning. So far, so Eggers. Going deeper than the surface level shocks, it’s about man’s right to
play God, power corrupting the soul and mind, and how we treat those who are different to us. It’s these layers of complexity that would lend themselves perfectly to Eggers’ mellifluous storytelling.
And, of course, we’d love to see how he would re-imagine The Monster, made famous (and deeply sympathetic) by Boris Karloff’s portrayal. It’s such a familiar story – that has been re-made perhaps too many times – but Eggers could really breathe something new into it.
Okay, hear us out, because this is a biggie and we understand that Gus Van Sant’s shot for shot
remake added absolutely nothing to cinema. At the heart of Psycho is Norman Bates’ crippling
loneliness, spiraling mental health and murderous impulses. He’s a sweet boy, really, it’s his
mother that’s the problem. You cannot tell us that this doesn’t have Eggers written all over it.
The intense scenes in the motel office; the lingering sexual undertones; the shocking violence. He could do so much with Bates’ characterisation, not to mention the inherently creepy setting of the isolated motel. Now that we’ve mentioned it, you know it makes sense.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
This film pitted two “real life” enemies against each other in Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, with their on-set antics now notorious. But the story itself is something that lends itself to Eggers’ fascination with the unconventional. Baby Jane, in her grotesque make up and infantile behaviour is the perfect central character for the director to explore. It’s a film full of literal and
metaphorical decay and decline. We’d love to see what kind of oozing, festering mansion he’d
create and how he’d use the single location to create something insidious.
A little left-field, since it is a musical, but this is a film rippling with unconventional desires;
“otherness”; and, of course, political commentary. Eggers seems the perfect director to reimagine the seedy, sweaty Kit Kat Klub, all the while remarking on the current state of the world and the rise of a dictator. Sally Bowles gives him the chance to explore a vulnerable character, whilst The Emcee allows for something darker; to live deliciously, if you will.
It wouldn’t even have to be another musical, we just think that this particular era – with its distinct make up and costuming – would be ripe for an Eggers re-boot. He could revert back to Christopher Isherwood’s source material in order to truly bring pre-war Berlin to life. Our bodies are ready for Willem Dafoe’s interpretation of The Emcee.
The Northman, written and directed by Robert Eggers, is in cinemas on April 15. For more movie director content, check out our ranking of Denis Villeneuve movies.