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Will The Next Coen Brothers Film Be A Full-On Horror Film?


Nordling here,
This is fully speculative, so keep that in mind as you read this - Empire Magazine sat down with the Brothers Coen about TRUE GRIT, and they were asked about what's up next for them.  As usual, they were coy and guarded, but one of the suggestions by the article writer made Ethan say, ""Funny you should ask, yes, we're working on a couple of scripts now, one of which it would be fair to call a full-on horror movie. Frances McDormand is the monster."
Not sure if that last part is a joke (it probably is, but who can say?), and obviously the Coens go where the wind takes them, but the horror genre is a genre the boys have definitely not taken on yet.  They've come close, and they don't shy away from violence and gore.  You could call A SERIOUS MAN a kind of horror film (it was for Larry Gopnik, for sure) and there's the human monster of Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh, but they haven't jumped full-fledged into the genre.  I'd be curious what kind of horror film the Coens would make.  The possibilities are limitless, whether it would be a supernatural horror film, a slasher movie, a haunted house story...  Obviously it's too early to imagine.
Also, their idea of a "full-on horror movie" might be different than anyone else's.  People have accused the Coens of being misanthropic, almost to a fault, but I don't think that's true.  They put people through the ringer and we respond to that because we care about the people they're throwing around, and although they can take glee at punishing their characters it doesn't mean they're being hateful just to be hateful.  They're trying to get a response.  Plus, anyone who has RAISING ARIZONA on their résumé has to love their characters.  So I'd imagine if you're a character in a Coen Brothers horror film, you can probably expect to squirm a bit at the very least.
Again, this is a speculative piece, so who knows what the Coens will deliver next.  It's just interesting to think about.  Thoughts?  Just remember, Joel and Ethan always put one in the brain.
Nordling, out.
Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Maybe it'll be "horror" in the Kevin Smith sense

    by rev_skarekroe

    He told everyone Red State was going to be a horror movie and everyone who's seen it says he's wrong.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:27 p.m. CST

    True Shit

    by CrazySlasher

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:27 p.m. CST

    The Dude?

    by m.dung

    Thought a sequel to the Big Lebowski was up next?

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:31 p.m. CST

    bring it on

    by elsewhere

    I'll watch anything by the Coen brothers. Though admittedly True Grit was a slight let down.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:32 p.m. CST

    full on horror

    by DylanDenham

    I'd say the last twenty minutes of millers crossing, parts of Proxy and Fargo all have a horror feel. Not to mention carter burwells score for,well, anything

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:40 p.m. CST

    John Goodman in Barton Fink is a scary mofo.

    by UltraTron

    Combine that aspect with the steady cam action of Arizona and you've got one fast moving camera on one fat, fat man

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:42 p.m. CST

    The intro to A Serious Man

    by UGG

    felt like a horror movie set up

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Sure, why not

    by Mr Soze

    How about Blood Meridan??? Western horror to a degree

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Teeth 2: Into the MILF of Madness

    by vic twenty

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Remake of "Butterfield 8"

    by wharfrat

    maybe they said "whore", not "horror".

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Even "Raising Arizona" has moments that would fit nicely into "horror"

    by WriteForTheEdit

    Ethan, you fucking tease... who do I have to blow to make a Coen Bros. horror movie happen?

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Jewhunter - so , most of their films don't work for you.

    by vic twenty

    That does not make them bad. When I forst saw Raising Arizona, I had no idea wtf I was watching. Just brilliant comedy that. They lampoon southern culture like none other. O Brother was helped by a familiarity with the Odyssey (a LOT). I flat out LOVED the Hud. Paul Newman in that was a minor god. I really liked True Grit also. Great performances throughout, and a more beautifully shot film you won't see. But they aren't for everyone. They seem to me to be auteurs (I hate that word) who do not take themselves seriously at all. Most of the stuff they do has tongue firmly planted in cheek. Anyways, that is why I enjoy their work.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Their idea of a spy movie was BURN AFTER READING

    by ROBRAM89

    Who knows what they consider a "full-on horror movie." Even ruling out parody that's a hard thing to define.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 12:59 p.m. CST

    saw a thing on TV last night *possible spoiler*

    by deelzbub

    said the Coens had optioned the story about the guy who lost his leg, fought to get it back from the hospital, mummified it, put it in storage, and lost it again when he missed a payment. Maybe Frances plays the bad guy who sells the leg on ebay.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:01 p.m. CST


    by Darth Busey

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:02 p.m. CST


    by Darth Busey

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:08 p.m. CST

    And after that they should do a porn movie

    by RedLeaderStandingBy

    For the sake of porn industry.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:08 p.m. CST

    They'll direct...

    by Lucky13

    ... The new Friday the 13th sequel, under the watchful eye of the multi-talented Platinum Dunes co-producers.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:10 p.m. CST

    TARA REID! TARA REID! They're bringing her back!

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

    She'll become a star again and then everyone will forget about her again.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:11 p.m. CST

    deelzbub, don't tease us with brilliance!

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Coens and horror.

    by blackwood

    Half their films can read as horror. Maybe they mean supernatural or something. Whatever. Cool. I'm in.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:15 p.m. CST

    I think JewHunter is the newest most annoying ass on the TBs today

    by SierraTangoFoxtrotUniform

    Between his pro-censorship ramblings and his apparent lack of any cinematic tastes (of course, those two "qualities" mesh well together), I think we've got either an angry 12 year old or a true troll. Either way, the sooner he propels himself from the highest elevation available the better for the world.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:21 p.m. CST

    mr soze

    by emteem

    James Franco is writing and directing Blood Meridian... supposedly in 2012.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Coen horror could be awesome.

    by Keats

    Or not. They have been kind of hit and miss lately. True Grit was good, though, and A Serious Man was among their best imo, so it seems like they are back in stride. Also, misanthropic? Seems to me that the Coens care a lot about their characters. They tend to seem like actual people with real personalities, and we are made to feel genuine affection for many of them (HI, Marge, The Dude). Stark contrast to someone like Kubrick, whose characters frequently came across as soulless. Jewhunter: the Coens are better than any of those directors you mentioned. Even Tarantino, in my opinion. He has two great movies, while the Coens have at least five I would say. PT Anderson is a pretentious wannabe, and Nolan and Fincher just make decent Hollywood blockbusters for the most part.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:25 p.m. CST

    The Coen's should give the horror genre a try...

    by brocknroll

    Joel and Ethan Coen never did a horror film before, they should definitely give it a try, as I can see them making a good one. Hopefully it won't be about vampires or werewolves or zombies. We've got enough of those movies. They can definitely make a good Friday The 13th/Halloween serial killer film though.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Masters of the uncomforable...

    by Billyeveryteen

    You're always uncomfortable during most of their films. Good Lord, that's why I love 'em so.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Remember There Will be Blood was PTAs version of a horror film

    by Lovecraftfan

    Wonder what their version will be.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:23 p.m. CST


    by Keats

    I can’t claim that There Will Be Blood wasn’t good. But I do think it was PTA’s first good movie.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Horror? Hasn't anyone here seen Blood Simple?

    by scrote

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Oh yawn. Coen Brothers are bored...

    by Fa Fa Fooey

    Why don't they just make a sequel to that awful turd known as No Country For Old Men that got so many of you fanboys all moist. So long, gay boyyyyys!

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:40 p.m. CST

    A Coen's horror movie? Yes please.

    by AsimovLives

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:43 p.m. CST



    How can you recognize the brilliance of There Will Be Blood and at the same time not appreciate the Coens? And PT Anderson has made not only one of the best movies of the decade with TWBB, but also one of the best movies of the 90's with Boogie Nights.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:44 p.m. CST

    It's difficult to take somebodies opinion seriously...

    by macheesmo3

    when they rag on the Coen brothers as being "overrated".... really? Let's break their movies down shall we? Great : Fargo,The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men,Blood Simple, Raising Arizona,Millers Crossing, True Grit Good: Barton Fink,Hudsucker Proxy,Burn After Reading (I thought it was a great bit of fun), A Serious Man, O'Brother Where Art Though? Meh: LadyKillers,Intolerable Cruelty, The Man Who Wasn't There So out of 15 movies they have 7 Great movies, 5 good movies and 3 kinda bad movies.... That's a pretty damn good record... Plus how can you not enjoy the richness of the characters and the writing? It's just brilliantly done!

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:44 p.m. CST

    I also would like to see a space Sf movie by the Coens. Or just SF.

    by AsimovLives

    That would be interesting.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:45 p.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    "the birth of the oil nation in america through a greedy and evil tycoon" That's a big fucking horror right there.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:47 p.m. CST

    "What defines Horror?"

    by joet88

    It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:50 p.m. CST


    by tronknotts

    Doesn't like films by Jewish guys? That's some shocking shit right there. Also, Blood Simple was definitely a "true horror movie" by my definition. Nordling would do best to not throw around absolute statements like "a genre the boys have definitely not taken on yet". Wording an opinion like it's fact begs contradiction, and irritation. Better to leave things open ended and clearly subjective. Something like "though the Coen's have done some films that are inarguably horrific at times, I don't think they've ever made a film that qualifies as true horror, though some may disagree with me on that." I like Nordling's style, and I see nothing wrong with opinion and speculation, but it would be even better if he left some space for the opinions of other to fit into these "What do you think?" posts. You can't really start a conversation with a post that already contains the beginning, the middle, and the end of a discussion, all before we even started talking (back).

  • I always took TWBB as a character study of a sociopath's descent into madness, with the oil industry as a backdrop.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 3:58 p.m. CST

    The Coens and Sam Raimi


    were friends that worked together on the first Evil Dead I believe, so they should know a thing or two about "Horror" films.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 4:13 p.m. CST



    I could be wrong, but i could swear that Joel Coen was an editor on the film.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 4:14 p.m. CST

    Whatever the Coens make, I will see.

    by MattmanReturns

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 4:14 p.m. CST


    by Nordling

    No, he's not. Joel Coen was one of the editors of THE EVIL DEAD. Raimi directed a Coen script (CRIMEWAVE). Raimi's even been in several of their films (most famously as the goofy police officer who gets shot outside a liquor raid in MILLER'S CROSSING). Raimi directed the rolling hula hoop sequence in HUDSUCKER PROXY.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 4:17 p.m. CST


    by SebastianHaff

    The Coens are my favorite working filmmakers (aside from Pixar), and horror is my all-time favorite genre, so I'd absolutely love for this to happen. <br><p> But it won't. They might make a drama with a creepy score and call it a horror film, but that's about it. I remember right after There Will Be Blood came out, and I fucking loved that movie so don't think I'm bitching, and someone asked PT Anderson if he'd ever make a horror film. His response: <br><p> "I just did." <br><p> Dude. No you fucking didn't. Sadly, I fear the Coens are too clever for their own good, and would go the PT Anderson route. I have a feeling they'd find genuine horror beneath them. <br><p> Suspense they can do with their eyes closed. But to really scare us? Like how scared I was the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead, The Haunting, or Chainsaw Massacre? We aren't that lucky. I'm all for experimentation, but even Kubrick realized The Shining actually had to be scary in order to be considered a horror film. Otherwise you just have an exceedingly dark drama, which was the case with There Will Be Blood. <br><p> That is all.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Different things scare different people

    by palimpsest

    And you don't need a boogey-man mask or a butcher knife and a hard-on to be a horror character. Plus you can create that fearful emotion in different ways. Like Stephen King says (at some length) in DANSE MACABRE, there's terror, horror, and gross-out. The Coens (and the likes of PTA) don't do terror, sometimes do gross-out, but to deny that they do horror on occasion is flat-out dumb.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 4:25 p.m. CST



    Thanks, I knew I wasn't crazy. I totally forgot about Raimi in Miller's Crossing. He was the guy that shot the dude that wandered out waving a white flag after they tear gassed the joint. Did not know that Coen's wrote Crimewave.

  • Also, tell your girlfriend I said "nah" Bill Murray

  • Youre either in or youre out pal

  • Bash the Coens. Then when you call them on you get, and tell me how many times you've heard this Coen fans, "I get it, I just don't like it!"

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 5:37 p.m. CST

    They need to reboot Cloverfield

    by Behemoth

    It's time.

  • What passes as horror today is a fucking joke. I'm sick to death of countless "Saw" sequels, the unnessecary reboots/remakes, the bullshit PG-13 horror films, and the many paranormal/exorcist films that flood the market. If there's anyone who can bring something new and exciting to the genre, it's the talented Coens. I also hope that Del Toro's "At the Mountains of Madness" is not only good, but a financial success, so we can start seeing a resurgence of quality horror films in the vain of "The Shining", "Alien", and Cronenberg's "The Fly" remake.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 6:17 p.m. CST

    by Garth

    "Wording an opinion like it's fact begs contradiction, and irritation." But it IS fact. Sorry, it IS fact that Blood Simple is NOT a horror film. It is pretty much straight up film noir. And the term "full-on horror" was used in the interview and you simply can NOT argue that the Coens have done "full-on horror" before, because they simply have NOT. It's not opinion, it is fact. Blood Simple is not a full-on horror movie.

  • But I agree with him. Theres no supernatural elemtns but it is about not that nice of a guy descending into total madness and taking people with him. There is absolutely no hope in the film. I do think its horrific.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 6:32 p.m. CST


    by scrote

    ...that's your opinion; it's not a fact...

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Anything they did would probably rival The Shining

    by SithMenace

    as the greatest psychological horror film ever.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Christ, now we have a guy named Bill Murray on here?

    by SithMenace

    Why do half the people on here have to have a gimmick or catchphrase. Get a fucking life.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 6:46 p.m. CST


    by SmokingRobot

    I want to see their version of a Philip K. Dick novel. I think they would be a perfect match for PKD.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 6:54 p.m. CST


    by Garth

    No, it's fact. Whether someone finds it scary or not is up for debate, but it is not a horror movie. Fact.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 7:07 p.m. CST

    every time i try to read a Nordling update

    by Arcadian Del Sol

    i bump my forehead against my monitor. USE A BIGGER FONT, FFS.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 7:19 p.m. CST

    On a serious note...

    by Lucky13

    Roger Deakins shooting a horror film that takes place mostly at night, in the middle of the woods, would be lots o' fun.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 7:46 p.m. CST

    True Grit Reloaded was more boring

    by quintana007

    than Gus van Sants shot-by-shot remake of Psycho. What the hell? But... Jeff Bridges delivered some hyperfine acting. The Dude abides

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Southern Gothic please.

    by Fred

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 7:59 p.m. CST

    Barton Fink?

    by Boomstick824

    Seriously? Barton Fink is the closest thing they've done to horror! One of the main characters is the fucking Devil!!!!

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 8:18 p.m. CST

    The Big Zombowski? n/t

    by ironburl

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 8:24 p.m. CST

    Would love to see their take on...

    by Cruzboy

    a giant monster movie. That could be interesting. Or Michael Chabon's other great novel.. The Adventures of Cavalier and Klay, that book was fantastic.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Blood Simple has some truly horrific sequences

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Mainly the entire sequence with Dan Hedaya getting buried alive in that field at night. From the time the John Ritter-looking dude sees him pitifully crawling alongside the road to him shovelling dirt onto his still-screaming face, I can't think of a more protracted and terrifying scenes in recent cinema memory. And the later dream sequence where Frances McDormand imagines him couching up a geyser of blood...eep. I supposed Blood Simple is more accurately described as REALLY hard-boiled crime noir, but no other Coen movie comes closer to genuine horror than that one.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 10:26 p.m. CST

    Joel was an assistant editor on Evil Dead

    by HadWoodenTeethChasedMobyDick

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 10:28 p.m. CST

    SithMenace, you menacing little menance you

    by Willis

    So much anger in the hanger pal! But there's still room to park the airplane of friendship.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 10:38 p.m. CST


    by Bunger!

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 10:42 p.m. CST

    "the Magicians" by Lev Grossman

    by Bunger!

    The Cohens should adapt this. Really entertaining mishmash of mulitple genres in one contemporary novel, with lots of demonic horror at the edges. And given the inevitability of a franchise in novel form (sequel out this summer) this could be another first for them: their first contribution to a blockbuster film franchise. I am aware this has nothing to do with "pure" horror films. But those are bullshit and boring.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 11:49 p.m. CST

    didn't they work on one of the evil dead movies?

    by darwinmayflower

    count me in.

  • Feb. 9, 2011, 11:54 p.m. CST

    Joel Con was an Assistant Editor on Evil Dead

    by Happyfat73

    Wouldn't it be awesome if they tackled something along those lines?</p> The Coen Brothers operate on a completely separate level when it comes to an understanding of cinematic language. They make the sublime look effortless.</p>

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 12:10 a.m. CST

    Clearly, they were joking

    by Teddy Artery

    They tend to be that way.

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 12:21 a.m. CST

    it's a monster movie, the monster is female

    by HadWoodenTeethChasedMobyDick

    Frances McDormand is the monster

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 12:34 a.m. CST

    what's happening with hail caesar or to the white sea?

    by HadWoodenTeethChasedMobyDick

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 1:27 a.m. CST

    Americans really don't understand...

    by billyhitchcock1

    ...sarcasm do you? 3 paragraphs on what was obviously a throw away joke! i haven't read this talkback but shame on anyone that took this seriously.

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 2:41 a.m. CST

    Coens and horror

    by mrgray

    Joel was assistant editor on Evil Dead. They wrote Crimewave (admittedly more comedy than horror, but I'd say it still counts). And to everyone who keeps trying to justify using the term "horror" when applied to the other Coen films: just stop it. No, Barton Fink is not horror. It's a bit of a mind-fuck, but it's not horror. Nor is Blood Simple. Barton Fink, genre-wise, is far more of a dramedy and Blood Simple is a crime drama. If we're going by classical definitions. And we are. Unless you want to get super subjective and shitty.

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 6:42 a.m. CST


    by scrote

    ..says who? You?

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 6:45 a.m. CST

    okay garth

    by scrote

    ...just so I understand where you're coming from, I have a question for ya - Is Angel Heart a horror movie?

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 6:46 a.m. CST

    and please

    by scrote

    try not to use the word 'fact' too many times...heh-heh

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 7:40 a.m. CST

    True Grit ended my love

    by brobdingnag

    for the Coens films. It was a good film but certainly not measurably better than the Wayne version but most importantly it was completely devoid of any of the dark humor or quirky characters that made me enjoy their older films so much. Without that it just another flick, and one I wont pay theater prices for.

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 10:46 a.m. CST

    David Lynch needs to make a full-on horror film


  • Feb. 10, 2011, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Just get started on the Big Lebowski sequel


  • Feb. 10, 2011, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Watched the first True Grit the other day...

    by Michael Tyree

    ...and I could barely get through it. The Coen's adaptation is infinetly superior to the first. Superior performances by every actor and especially Bridges. I understand the emotional attachment to The Duke but his was an Oscar performance only in the "Hey, let's give the guy an Oscar, FINALLY!" sense. His Rooster just doesn't hold up to Bridges. Hope this isn't a joke but I'll be in the theatre to watch anything the Coen's do.

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 11:18 a.m. CST

    No cuntry for old fucks

    by Jeremy Davis

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 12:40 p.m. CST

    misanthropic... almost to a fault?

    by j_difool

    odd choice of words. i thought misanthropy WAS a fault.

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 1:03 p.m. CST


    by shodan6672

    Miller's Crossing was an absolute masterpiece. You don't have to like it to be able to recognize it as so. Example: I fucking hate the Wizard of Oz, but I know it's a great film.

  • Feb. 10, 2011, 1:05 p.m. CST


    by shodan6672

    True Grit, didn't have dark humor? Did we watch the same film? Or is an extremely odd mountain man offering to buy a corpse not dark?