3. Conclusion Having done my survey duty, I’ll return to my theme. In the post-Hollywood (post- classic, post-studio) world, the invention of the notion of the auteur-director in horror film at least, I think generally, is a function of the breakdown of more substantive and “objective” – that is, more collectively shared and agreed-upon – definitions of genre, and a function as well of the fraying and multiplication of the discourse of horror to the point where its continual reconstruction (the continual need to reconstruct it) by each successive film and each successive newly put together production company has become apparent to all concerned. A director nowadays is no more a lone, heroic individual romantic artist horrifying us from the depths of his genius than s/he was when working as a studio hack in the old days – though it’s perhaps worth noting that s/he wasn’t just a technician on the payroll back then any more (or any less) than a modern director is. The Cahiers critics were right about
19 that at least. But nowadays, developing from the late fifties into the present, the di- rector (probably along with the star) is what has replaced the studio, not as the source of money or of production facilities, but as the focus of organization around which films continue to be made by the bankers, writers, performers and technicians whose organized collective labor has always produced them. “Director” is (is still) a function in a system, a site or role into which a variety of individuals with a variety of interests and skills can fit. The increasing specialization of the field in terms of tech- niques like special effects and of marketing strategies (which can be seen as both exploitations of and defenses against the increasingly uncontainable multiplicity of the field itself) has made “horror director” a career choice. It is a choice the individ- ual film professional can pursue as a personal marketing strategy under the new conditions of film production, where before a studio might have assigned it to him or her. Such a director markets him or herself, and pursues his or her career as a spe- cialist, an expert reader and producer of the discourse of horror, when it is no longer intuitively clear what that discourse is before it has been re-read and reproduced. Part of the expertise is knowing the history of the discourse and having an interpre- tation of it; a horror-director is perforce a film scholar and a practical archivist, but also a theorist of horror.
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