Appearing at the 2018 Television Critics Association press tour, AMC teased its third "Visionaries" docu-series, Eli Roth's History of Horror. Following a similar format to that of Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics and James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, the six-part show will feature interviews with famous horror directors, writers, and actors.
"My wish list for this show came true," Roth said. "I knew these three, and all are incredible storytellers. Mick Garris got the horror directors together for dinners, called the Masters of Horror. As we were losing these guys, we were losing their stories. And I wanted to get these people together, but I also wanted a mix of a lot of different voices. I also want to hear their perspectives of other movies. The fun was Joe Dante talking about other people’s movies."
Talk soon turned to the cultural discussions that the genre can often broach.
"Horror gives us the opportunity to discuss the undiscussable," said Roth, going on to explain how The Walking Dead served as an allegory for the 2008 economic crisis. "The Walking Dead hit, and it was heavily tied to the mortgage meltdown about displacement. I feel like maybe in two or three years [horror] will reflect the political divide, and it might not be exactly about that, but horror taps into the subconscious fears of the time."
"Horror is so fun to act in because it’s so liberating," added Alex Winter (Bill Preston in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure).
Also in appearance at the TCA event were Robert Englund (the original Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Catherine Hardwicke (director of Red Riding Hood).
Reflecting on the role that made him a genre icon, Englund said:
"I was a repressed fan boy. I was a snob as a theater actor. Wes taught me to respect horror ... Wes changed horror at least three times to my eyes ... [He] was stressing divorce and alcoholism, and Freddy symbolized the loss of innocence in the '80s."
Hardwicke touched on the need for more female voices in horror when she said:
"We want to encourage more female voices. There are some cool ones but we need more. We have our own nightmares we need to get on screen."
Echoing this line of thought, Roth brought up the fact that one of the most enduring monsters of all time was created by a woman:
"Mary Shelley created Frankenstein. Every now and then a powerful female will come out and change the direction of filmmaking."
Eli Roth's History of Horror premieres on AMC Oct. 14 at 12 midnight ET/PT, just in time for Halloween.
"The series is a chilling, revealing, and funny exploration of horror," said AMC Networks President Josh Sapan.
In addition to Joe Dante and Englund, you can also expect interviews with Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, Jordan Peele, Jason Blum, Linda Blair, Tippi Hedren, Rob Zombie, Haley Joel Osment, Jack Black, John Landis, and Jamie Lee Curtis.