By: Maniac E
Date: March 26, 2012

Robert Fuest director of quality

Robert Fuest a man that holds not as many titles to his name as many others, but he was a man where quality overruled quantity. He died at the age of 84 on the 21st of May. We here at SlashingThrough.com wanted to highlight his work one last time.

Fuest is a director that was mostly active in the late 60tees and 70tees and his career ended around 1989. Fuest wasn’t a horror director but he grow towards the horror genre in time. He started as an art director for the TV series " The Avengers " (1961). His first feature movie was a comedy in 1967 and gave him some more changes to more movie productions. But since the offers weren’t around for projects he wanted to do at that point he went back to " The Avengers ", albeit in the new capacity of a director. Two producers of the series, Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell, wanted to move into movies themselves, and chose Fuest to direct their debut effort, the incredible, chilling, rural thriller And Soon the Darkness (1970), which proved to be a success.


After that came the literary adaptation Wuthering Heights (1970), made for American-International Pictures; the studio would cut a lot from the picture, only concerned with how much money it made, and it made enough to keep them happy. This would lead to Fuest's directing the revered Vincent Price vehicle The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), which critics admired for its dark humor, sets and nasty but inventive murder sequences. A sequel proved to be inevitable, and Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972) followed two years later. It was intended to be more blatantly comedic and a send-up the original, but the studio reduced the comedy content and, unfortunately, it was not so successful.


Next for Fuest came the cult favorite The Final Programme (1973), for which he himself wrote the script and convinced investors he could make it for 600,000 pounds or less. It would be a critical but not commercial success. The Devil's Rain (1975) was offered to him by producer Sandy Howard. Filmed in Mexico, it cost approximately $1.5 million to make and took about 29 days to shoot. However, the resources available weren't really enough, and it became quite a difficult shoot for the director, who says he nearly suffered a nervous breakdown. He would then return to TV for "The New Avengers" (1976) and spent three years in America shooting such TV movies as Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980) (TV). His last theatrical movie to date was the 1982 French-made Aphrodite (1982).


After more TV work, he became semi-retired, returning to painting and also lecturing at the London International Film School. Fuest became more and more of a cult director, his movies grew out to be beloved by many and didn’t receive any real awareness until years after the releases of his movies. For me personally the Final Programme stood above all and showed how Fuest was really visionary on filmmaking and how to produce horror with more meaning in it.


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