Fun Fridays – Director’s Favourite Films – Winding Refn-Wan Double Bill

Hello Film Doctor friends.

Two quite different films premiere this weekend in the UK – catering for both supernatural horror and crime thriller fans. “Only God Forgives” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and “The Conjurning” directed by James Wan.

So, for the first Friday of August, we’re handing you a “double-bill” of Director’s Favourite Films!


Wonder what Nick Refn‘s favourite cinema picks are? Here are a few, with his own comments:

“Tokyo Dirfter” (1966, dir. Seijun Suzuki) – Unique, brilliant, fantastic! I love this movie!” (N. WInding Refn for, 2013)

“The Battel of Algiers” (1966, dir. Gillo Pontecorvo)I was twenty-four years old when I made my first film, “Pusher” (about the Danish drug underworld), and for it I stole everything I could, both visually and technically, from this film and “Cannibal Holocaust.” (N. WInding Refn for, 2013)

Vampyr (1932, dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer)Vampyr has always reminded me of a mysterious dream I once had when I was very little. The film has always stayed with me. I watch it before I make every film, and yet it still remains a mystery to me.” (N. WInding Refn for, 2013)

“Videodrome” (1983, dir. David Cronnenberg)This film is a great mixture of sex and violence.” (N. WInding Refn for, 2013)

“Flesh for Frankenstein” (1973, dir. Paul Morrissey)Flesh for Frankenstein is the only film I’ve ever wished that I had made.” (N. WInding Refn for, 2013)

“Sweet Smell of Success” (1957, dir.  Alexander Mackendrick) – “In its perfect combination of directing, writing, cinematography, music, sound, and acting, this film is pure cinema.” (N. WInding Refn for, 2013)

“My Life as a Dog” (19., dir. Lasse Hallström)I saw this film with my mother when I was very young. It’s the only movie aside from It’s a Wonderful Life during which I’ve cried because I was happy.” (N. WInding Refn for, 2013)

“Beauty and the Beast” (1946, dir. Jean Cocteau)

“Branded to Kill” (1967, Seijun Suzuki)

Film Doctor - James Wan

James Wan has made his name with darker flicks (“Saw”, “Insidious”, “Death Sentence”) and “The Conjurning” is one of the most eagerly anticipated horror releases of recent times. Here are his own “dark influences”: 

“The Exorcist” (1973, dir. William Friedkin) – It seems so cliche to cite this movie as one of the scariest movies ever made. But it truly IS! A film that has stand the test of time and is still extremely disturbing with how extreme it gets and its religious subject matter.” (J. Wan for, 2011)

“Carnival of Souls” (1962, dir. Herk Harvey) – A low-budget, forgotten gem. The black and white photography and the cheap makeup add to the eeriness of this film. It’s the kind of movie one would catch on late-night TV while half-asleep on the sofa, and have the images creep into your mind like a dream-induced nightmare.” (J. Wan for, 2011)

“The Sixth Sense” (1999, dir. M. Night Shyamalan) – Simple, economical, brilliant. Filled with atmosphere and genuine chills, with one of the best rug-pull in cinematic history. Yes, I was a sucker and fell for it.” (J. Wan for, 2011)

– “Jaws”  (1975, dir. Steven Spielberg) – “A brilliantly crafted movie that is pure cinema at its finest. Right up there with Spielberg’s Duel as one of my all-time favorite movies. This film has scarred me for life, and I’m terrified of the ocean because of it.” (J. Wan for, 2011)

– “Poltergeist (1982, dir. Tobe Hooper) – “I saw this movie when I was seven, and boy, and I have been terrified of clowns and dolls ever since. Hmm, I’ve noticed that the two movies that have scarred me are both Spielberg productions!” (J. Wan for, 2011)

“Deep Red” (1975, dir. Dario Argento) – “An investigative whodunit in the vein of the best Agatha Christie mysteries, shot like a horror movie and told through the macabre and baroque sensibility of the Italian Hitchcock, Dario Argento. This film has the coolest rock score.” (J.Wan for, 2011)

“Black Christmas” (1974, dir. Bob Clark) – “An underrated masterpiece. One of the finest modern day slashers. The “kills” in this film aren’t necessarily bloody, as they are just outright suspenseful and scary as hell. The “killer-is-calling-from-inside-the-house” conceit here predates another movie with a similar twist.” (J.Wan for, 2011)

“Lost Highway” (1997, dir. David Lynch) – “No one does David Lynch like David Lynch. Greatest horror filmmaker who technically isn’t a horror director. The scene where Bill Pullman encounters Robert Blake at a party is one of the creepiest and coolest scenes ever committed to celluloid.” (J.Wan for, 2011)


“The Conjurning” and “Only God Forgives” open in UK cinemas nationwide today.

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