Richard Stanley Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (2)  | Salary (1)

Overview (2)

Born in Fishhook, South Africa
Height 5' 10¾" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Richard Stanley is the award-winning South African-born filmmaker, who made a name of himself with his first feature film, the sci-fi movie Hardware (1990). A low budget movie about a mad-dog android loose in an apartment was released in 1990. Critics slammed it as a Terminator rip-off, yet the film became a financial success. The 1.5 million dollar budget was paid back quite handsomely and continuation was imminent.

In 1992, Stanley followed Hardware with Dust Devil (1992), a story based on the myth of a Namibian serial killer. A fallout with the distributors led to the re-cutting of the US version, while the bankruptcy of the British-based production company Palace Pictures temporarily shut the post-production down in Europe and the film remained mauled or unfinished, depending how you look at it. Finally Stanley himself managed to finance a new, restored print from the original negative, which has later gained a cult following similar to Hardware.

His third feature was to be The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), an adaptation of the famed H.G. Wells novel. Unfortunately it ended up a victim of creative disputes, leading to him being sacked a few days after production began. The finished film, released in 1996, carries little to no resemblance to the version he was originally set to make, using only about two words of his original script.

This, however, hasn't beaten the visionary filmmaker down and horror movie fans are now waiting for him to come back... with a one mean vengeance.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: sic_est

Trade Mark (3)

Typical elements of his movies are extreme violence, occultism, oneiricism and visionariness.
Often sets his films in the South African desert.
Frequently uses red and sepia color filters.

Trivia (13)

Removed as director of The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) after one to four (accounts vary) days of filming. He snuck back onto the the set in a dog-man mask.
Turned down an offer to direct Judge Dredd (1995).
Turned down an offer to direct Spice World (1997).
In the mid-90s his adaptation of Robert E. Howard's "Solomon Kane" was optioned by Edward R. Pressman who wanted to set it up with Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role. The whole thing was killed off by the "Moreau" affair.
Wrote a revisionist remake of The Wild Geese (1978). The project was essentially a modern day mercenary saga with meanspirited twists; it stayed in limbo despite the support of Roger Moore and the original movie's backers (Asia Argento was also in the frame for the female lead).
His adapted material includes: 'Shadowland' by Peter Straub (one of Stanley's favorite novels), "The Damnation Game" by Clive Barker, "The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch" by Philip K. Dick, "Flicker" by Theodore Roszak, "Cocaine Nights" by J.G. Ballard and "The Great God Pan" by Arthur Machen.
Wrote a script called "Nemesis" (inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft poem with the same title) about a group of robbers who break into the vault of a very old Dutch bank to get some diamonds, but end up trapped inside the building fighting a demon who possessed one of them. The project was planned as a starring vehicle for Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sam Raimi was looking to direct it in the 90s, but sadly it didn't happen.
Dario Argento is one of his favorite directors.
The great grandson of the explorer Henry M. Stanley, Richard was inspired to make a film from H. G. Wells's story, "The Island of Dr. Moreau", not only because it appealed to him on its own merits but because Wells had claimed that Joseph Conrad's character, Kurz, in his novel "Heart of Darkness" was based on Dr. Moreau, and Conrad, in his own defense, claimed that Kurz was based on Henry M. Stanley.
Around 2007 wrote a novel called "The Green Avatar" which involved genetically engineered animals, absentee parents and fake messiahs. The book remained unpublished.
Unmade projects include (quotation marks indicate Stanley's own description of the project):

The Bones of the Earth - "A medium to high budget British action thriller. The script, written in collaboration with the late, great Donald Cammell, is probably the best material I have ever produced as a screenwriter. Very happy with this one but don't tell anyone otherwise they'll never let me do it. Cast members come and go and it seems to get announced at Cannes every year but the budget and subject matter (Afghanistan and the war on terror) holds it back". Stanley also described the potential film as "the single most apocalyptic, out-of-order, just plain vicious British action thriller ever made," explaining that its moniker "refers to a ring of standing stones in western Scotland associated with the Queen of Winter, the folkloric Dark Lady, grandmother of the clans and guardian of the wild herd. No hunter may slay a stag without her warrant, and an offering or libation is made each year on the 11th of September - coincidentally the first day of the Scottish hunting season, a mass slaughter that has come to be known as the Highland Cull. The plot concerns a professional stalker on the verge of retirement who clashes with a ragtag band of hunt saboteurs, only to find himself drawn into a deeper, more deadly conflict when one of their number turns out to be a psychotic veteran of the war in Afghanistan, a brain-damaged master survivalist determined to exact a terrible revenge on the stalker's millionaire clients, whom he holds responsible for both his and the world's pain." "Bones is an epic, all right - the finest screenplay I've ever worked on, and it may well end up being the one that finally puts me in my grave and then kicks the dirt in after me, I mean, it's a monster! A great white whale of a movie, as big as The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) and twice as dangerous. It hasn't even gone into production yet, and it's already trailing a body count. It began with a script written by Donald Cammell - the last thing he worked on before he shot himself. One of my associates is Nicolas Roeg's son Luc, and I literally came across the draft lying on a shelf in his office. Donald's name and the dateline drew me in at once, and it has been keeping me on my toes ever since. The film deals with our place in the feeding chain, with the civilized world and the atavistic, pagan impulses that chafe against it, the raw and the cooked, man and beast and the beast in man. Like it or not, a killer can be so much closer to the Earth, closer to nature, than a pacifist or a vegetarian simply because his soul is closer to an animal soul, and his bonding with the beasts he hunts is the stronger for it. I've lived in Britain for many years and wanted to address their culture, the death of the countryside and the passing of a certain way of life, lost honor and the sentimental illusion that it ever existed in the first place. It's the kind of thing Sam Peckinpah was driving at in his later years, but never found the project to fully express. Think Straw Dogs (1971) meets First Blood (1982). Think precision rifles, dogs, helicopters and fuel air weapons. Think of the royal family, the American president, the Highland Ball at Balmoral Castle and 20,000 tons of flesh-melting nerve gas!" Richard Harris and Guy Pearce were attached to the project at different stages of development.

Viy - "A low budget British Yugo-Vampire movie. Originally conceived as a collaboration with Kelly's Heroes (1970) scribe Troy Kennedy-Martin." "Viy is a vampire story set in a war zone, pouring its main inspiration from the Russian novelist Nikolai Gogol's short story. The main character is a Red Cross doctor serving in Kosovo, who causes the death of a local woman and must then serve in a three night wake next to her body. Eventually, VIY will appear..." "The film is set in the present day, Central Europe. It involves a team of UN blue helmets in the midst of a disintegrating Europe safeguarding a Bosnian Muslim safe haven, who fall prey to VIY. It is on the same speed as Dust Devil (1992), but a little different. [...] The whole thing is told in a testimony at the war crimes trial later. People try to explain what happened."

Hardware II: Ground 0 - An ambitious sequel to Hardware (1990). "Medium budget American sci-fi horror sequel (under its pre 9-11 working title) The one I'd be remembered for if only it existed. The project has been in development for 17 years but refuses to die because quite frankly it still *beep* rocks! Even now! Bigger, nastier, louder and somehow more personal than the original. The Mark 13 cyborg goes over the counter. Jill, Shades and the Nomad return from the first installment along with new characters such as J.C, a messianic luddite messiah, high on radioactive peyote buttons and leader of the equally crazed 'destructuralist' movement intent on monkeywrenching the technosphere back to the dark ages, his followers Melchizidek and Moon Rabbit , Mark 13 software designer and all round decent Californian family man and cat lover Matt Barlowe, Sub Commandant Javier Davalos (a McDonald's manager from San Antonio who believes he is channelling the spirit of Zapata) Juan Cordero, his bewildered Mescalero Apache sidekick and the film's long suffering lead, weapons inspector Lyle Maddox whose attempts to track down three missing warheads mislaid at the time of the cold war go tragically awry. Hence the working title. The droids are waterproof and equipped with microwave weapons as well as the usual cutting tools and household paraphenalia. . Angry Bob gets the last laugh..."

Wastelander - "Low budget American horror thriller - Dust Devil (1992) does Arizona. This time with better songs. ('One day it's gonna be MY voice you'll be hearin' on that radio!') "

The Sea of Perdition - "Low budget Anglo-American sci-fi epic concerning mankind's abortive efforts to terraform the angry red planet. Effectively pitched as The Descent (2005) on Mars". Project was killed off by poor box-office receipts on Sunshine (2007).

In a Season of Soft Rains - "A global warming epic". In a near-future Great Britain, an American assassin code named Archangel is sent to eliminate the last remaining member of a royal family, who is leading an underground resistance against the government.

Stray - "Mutant hybrid big cat horror" which Stanley adapted from Vicki Allan's debut novel. Described as a contemporary, sophisticated horror film in the vein of Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965) and Rosemary's Baby (1968). The idyll between Milla, a cat behavior specialist, and Josh, a dentist, is irrevocably shattered when Purrl, an unusual albino stray cat, comes into their lives, increasing her sinister hold over the woman. The project was originally set to roll in late 2005 with Emily Mortimer in the lead role and Carine Adler at the helm, but it didn't entered production stage.

Death's Other Kingdom - "Feminist plane crash chiller". A troubled woman and a female air marshal must confront a dangerous serial killer on the loose after the plane carrying him crashes on the Scottish Highlands.

Steel Donkeys (a.k.a. Nemesis) - "Demons versus Yardies - Why do they call 'em that? Steel donkeys? I never seen 'em but I heard 'em once in my daddie's oum'phor and I tell you, man, they sound like a *beep* car accident!" "The idea was - there is a poem by H.P. Lovecraft with that title - about a bank robbery in Netherlands, they break into the vault of a very old European bank to get the diamonds, and they do it on Queen's day, there is a party to cover up the noise of jack-hammers. Together with the diamonds they get a box left there since the World War II. It's got some triangular black stones in it, and one of the guys cuts his hand on a stone or something, and then they're trapped in the vault because the police surround them, and then a demon possesses one of the hoods. Reservoir Dogs (1992) meets The Evil Dead (1981), chiefly because its largely bound to one location, and involves a shape-shifting alien demon which does unspeakable gloopy things to most of the leads. It's a pretty gloopy script, but I haven't been able to get it off the ground, even though H.R. Giger was interested in doing the demon." "Nemesis was a lengthy, unproduced treatment written for Sam Raimi's company in the early nineties. It was really my first attempt to create a Lovecraftian pastiche loosely revolving around the eponymous poem and a series of unlikely events that took place during my stay in Amsterdam shortly after the release of Hardware (1990). The typically twisted saga involved the illegal trade in archeological plunder and an individual I had gotten to know at the time who was smuggling artifacts from the temple of Baal in the Bekaa valley for retail on the black market. Among these treasures were the ring I am currently wearing and a magical grimoire written in human blood and bound in human leather. The smuggler in question was in fact dyslexic and although he was a very intelligent man he had never read a book in his life and thus had no prior knowledge of either H.P.Lovecraft or the Necronomicon. My curiosity was naturally engaged and I wanted to find out not only where the book came from but who the hell wanted to buy the thing to begin with. The resulting story pitted the Cthulhu cult against the European underworld with suitably grisly, if not downright apocalyptic results". "The piece you refer to was written on spec back in the mid nineties and provisionally entitled "Nemesis" or "Steel Donkeys" - a slang term I'd heard a Jamaican 'yardie' use to describe what were basically soul sucking demons from beyond space. I seem to recall the problem was that no-one was interested in funding a fully blown sci-fi horror fandango set in Amsterdam. Something to do with the accents apparently. The use of the diamond trade coupled with the red light district, the internecine conflicts between the Dutch hoods and the Surinamese immigrants, the backstory concerning the Nazi occupation in WW2 and the overlap between the black economy, the secret societies, and the environmental movement all served to make it impossible to readily transfer the action to the United States and the project withered and died on the vine accordingly."

Breathplay - "An auto-asphyxiation psychodrama".

Straight On 'til Morning - "Revisionist Peter Pan - paedophilia, child abduction, recovered memories and real life little people".

The Wizard of Wicklow - "The 20th century through the eyes of a deranged vaudevillian who develops miraculous powers after suffering shellshock on the Western Front."

The Grinning Gap - "The Da Vinci Code (2006) meets Jörg Buttgereit! Novice monk gets into necrophilia, starts talking to the dead and finds out what really happens when we die. It ain't pleasant."

Styx - "A cave diving drama centering on the river that flows through Hell."

Pilgrim (a.k.a. Black Rider) - "An African biker saga".

Fortunate Son - "Revisionist slavery epic (originally developed as a vehicle for Wesley Snipes only too be deemed a little too grim, too close perhaps to the awful truth)."

The Language of the Birds - "A French pickpocket and an American OSS officer team up to track down a deadly femme fatale in occupied Paris".

Year Zero - "Time travellers return to ancient Galilee to find out the terrible truth."

San Graal - Grail of Blood - "My first completed screenplay, a verhoevenesque medieval bodice ripper - features lamias, gay knights, cannibal bishops, impalations, witch burnings, the plague and a really neat arrow through the head set piece that I still dream about even now. All that before anyone told me there was no point trying to write high fantasy."

Summerisle - "An illegitimate The Wicker Man (1973) sequel."

Wild Geese III - Mercenaries Never Die - "A revisionist remake of The Wild Geese (1978) with Roger Moore, the mind reels! A modern day mercenary saga, better than it sounds, in the end the House of Commons is infected with a mutant strain of Ebola, the Prime Minister melts, everyone dies, even Roger Moore. Fed feet first into a shredding machine in a meanspirited twist on the Bond movies- this time no-one rescues him, none of the gadgets work and he does not leap free with a single mighty bound. Asia Argento was in the frame for the female lead, a Palestinian computer expert and a true artist when it comes to new and ever more cunning ways of blowing people to pieces (how do you make small talk or effectively seduce a lady whose only real desire in life is to explode as forcefully as possible?). Predictably this project stayed in limbo despite the support of Mr Moore and the original movie's backers but the script still puts a goofy smile on my face." "The project was developed in the mid-nineties by Chris Chrisafis, one of the producers of the original 1978 action/adventure. It was positioned as a direct sequel rather than a remake or reboot. Roger Moore was to return in the role of Major Shaun Fynn, who was positioned as the ageing mentor to the lead character, a young Royal Irish Marine who seeks employment in the 'private sector' after being wounded in action. The plot, involving an Ebola type biological weapon, was based on my research into modern mercenary activity, notably Mark Thatcher and the Sandline affair. Asia Argento was mooted to play the female lead, 'Mali', a failed suicide bomber forced to aid and abet the leads in their quest to save Queen and country from a dastardly apocalyptic conspiracy, an outrageous adventure that would take them from the Nile delta, through the slums of south London and the mercenary headquarters and training grounds in Aldershot to the hot zones of central Africa and a final, fiery confrontation in the house of commons as a genetically engineered plague engulfs Westminister. I am still charmed by the idea of having a female lead who just wants to explode, only to be constantly frustrated in her efforts. It would have been an epic swan song for Roger Moore, whose character was ear marked for a very special destiny..."

Blood Ties - "Kids battle diseased parents on remote Scottish island. The Ministry of Defense are to blame - Doomwatch (1972) goes Postal."

LOA - "Remember Wade Davis and that The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) malarchy? Well what do you think the American pharmaceutical company wanted the zombie potion for in the first place?"

Lachrymae - "My own take on the Three Mothers mythos, one I still enjoy so much I'm not going to say another word for fear of breaking the code of omertà or silentium or whatever you want to call it. (Okay, it was set in a future Rome and involved global warming, the mother goddess, the rivalry between the corrupt Polizia and the equally corrupt Carabinieri, the process by which new popes are chosen and... well... blood... so much blood it scares even me!)"

Scourge - "Nunsploitation movie. Aging space inquisitor Father Clavius and his loyal scribe are dispatched to root out heresy and strange new alien sins on a planet of desperate women! (People get crucified on wind turbines, the mother superior is eaten by genetically modified locusts and all the space nuns have martial arts!) In true Scooby Doo fashion Father Clavius discovers the demonic apparitions and related murders are a fraud designed by the very theocracy he represents in order to stamp out non-comformists and to force the wayward colonists to return to the bosom of the mother church. As in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) and "The Sea of Perdition", hubris and terraforming play a central role.

Untitled Edgar Allan Poe Biopic - "Not to mention bio-pics- including a major life of Edgar Allan Poe, developed for several years but dropped for never being the Corman style creepshow people seemed to expect. My research was pretty bang on and integrity prevented me from playing fast and loose with the facts. Instead the script (written with Steven Berkoff) focuses on the social issues that Edgar blithely ignores in his morbid quest for the sublime. (We're talking pre-civil war Virginia and Mississippi - I mean I love the poetry but who made the paper he wrote it on? Who starched his collar, fixed his drinks and made his ink?) Central roles were created for the Allan family's long suffering retainers including the heroic 'Dab', who in real life helped support Edgar after he was cut off by his step father, John Allan, himself a slave trader. In return Edgar never noticed, thanked or even mentioned them but hey, he invented the whodunnit? So who's complaining?"

Providence - "A Lovecraft biopic focusing on his last few days and lonely gut wrenching demise while still salvaging some small degree of optimism from the cancerous dregs. Again the specters of racism and anti-semitism are invoked and balanced against the authors works, arguing that sometimes we have to tolerate even the very worst in human nature for the sake of what is best in all of us. Sometimes you have to drink a bottle all the way to its dregs to know it's true taste."

Floriana - "The true story of a utopian German colony that goes to Hell in the Gallapagos - includes sharks, manhunts, volcanic eruption, a self-proclaimed 'Pirate Queen' contesting the blonde ubermensch for control of the island, mass murder, a Jewish leading lady and a gigantic man-eating razorback hog dubbed 'the Satanic Boar'. (Project dumped in favor of The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), briefly revived by 'Angelica Huston', then swiftly dumped again.)"

The Secret Glory - "The documentary was likewise originally intended as a study for a feature film (think The English Patient (1996) crossed with Kiss Me Deadly (1955)!)."

The Catacomb Club - An urban horror about rat people coming out of the London underground. Stanley said he wrote it in the early 90s for Italian director Michele Soavi.

Dark Continent - A mystical suspense thriller series conceived by Rob De Mezieres, to be produced by Johan Blignaut, with Arnold Vosloo as the lead. Stanley was interested in directing and writing the feature-length pilot. Project was based on an ancient myth of Phoenician slavers, who rampaged on the continent 3000 years ago, killing or enslaving thousands of locals. In 1200 B.C. Africa, one of the most tyrannical of the invading Phoenician kings, Karesu, is buried in the bowels of a dormant volcano with eight of the strongest African slaves chained to the sarcophagus to serve the king in the afterlife. One of these is a witch doctor, and a blood oath is made among the men as the tomb and their fates are sealed forever. The plot then leapfrogs to the present, where in the midst of a civil war a military government is engaged in the secret construction of subterranean bases to enhance its power over the enemy. One of these bases is inadvertently situated in the ancient tomb of the Phoenician king, and when the staff at the base are mysteriously decimated, a crack squad of soldiers is sent to investigate.

Vacation - "Bryce, a failing East Coast banker with a coke habit who books himself and his significantly younger lap-dancer 'girlfriend', Carly, into a seedy Middle Eastern tourist resort. He's hoping for a spot of late-season sun and surf, a last, desperate stab at romance and the happiness that has always eluded him. They are so caught up in their own petty problems that neither of them realize at first that the end is truly nigh-quite literally the end of the world and human life as we know it. As the sun changes its cycle, freak solar storms take western civilization off-line forever, leaving Bryce and Carly marooned without credit cards in a hostile year-zero society that despises everything they represent. Faced with harsh existential choices and their own imminent extinction, they inadvertently find themselves, and happiness of a sort, albeit at a price. It's an intimate holocaust for two-a bitchy, blood soaked farce with a runaway body count played out against the backdrop of a wider calamity: the coming apocalypse of mankind." Project came really close to happen several times between 2005 and 2009. The male lead was originally going to be played by Bruce Campbell, who was then replaced by Dean Cain. Denise Richards would have played the female lead.

The Secret Life of Lord Musashi - A samurai movie epic written for Takashi Miike.
Around 2010 he collaborated with Vincenzo Natali on the long gestating screen adaptation of J.G. Ballard's "High-Rise", which Natali was going to direct for HanWay Films, the company of famed producer Jeremy Thomas. Project stayed in limbo for a few years before finally being made as High-Rise (2015) by director Ben Wheatley, who used a brand new script written by his wife, Amy Jump.
Vincenzo Natali once said of him: "He's an extraordinary character. There aren't many like Richard Stanley.".

Personal Quotes (2)

I do not feel that at any time it was ever my decision to make any of the movies I made, although I don't regret them.
I've always had the desire to show people things they have never seen before, which is difficult, because Hollywood prefers things which are like something else. I want to find something that people have never seen before and put it on screen. The desire to bring people back something they don't know about or haven't seen is pretty strong.

Salary (1)

Hardware (1990) $12,000

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