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Craig Baxley has been involved with numerous elements of the film worls during
a long career, which has more recently seen him entering the realm of director
and making a name for himself. Read on to learn a bit more about this talented
and active man.
Baxley first started gaining fame for himself as a stunt driver, stunt man and
stunt coordinator in a nubmer of films, as well as tv shows. He was incolved
with various stunts in The Long Riders, the original Night Stalker tv series,
the Dukes Of Hazard tv series, Charlie Varreck, The
Parrallax View, Mr. Majestyk, Predator, Diamonds Are Forever
and many more films. It was here he
learned the craft of film-making, watching some of the best of actors, such as
Warren Beatty, Charles Bronson, the Carradines and more, while also keeping a
watchful eye on the directors. By all evidence, he absorbed like a paper
towel. What he saw clearly stuck with him.
He eventually made the jump from being in front of a camera to behind it, as
an assistant director and then a director. It was in this new phase of his
career that he became most applauded, especially for a series of Stephen King
horror movies shown as mini-series ventures on tv.
Storm Of The Century dealt with a group of people on a small island off the
New England coast, preparing for a massive blizzard to strike. As the town
begins to shut down, a mysterious stranger shows up, kills an old woman,
calmly waits to be arrested and thrives on his stay in the local jail. Is he a
demon? A warlock? The devil himself? No one is really sure, even at the end,
when his evil intentions become known. By this time he has used his magic
powers to turn everyone against each other, with a whole series of killings
In this film one wonders a bit if some of the victims didn't bring on this
killer from the twilight zone themselves. At times viewers even want to cheer
when these characters get what is coming to them. Evil begets evil, but
sometimes the good manage to survive, though no one escapes unmarked.
Likewise, Rose Red drew critical acclaim. King borrowed heavily from
Shirley Jackson's novel The
Haunting Of Hill House (which Robert Wise's groundbreaking film The
Haunting was based on), with a series of investigators going into a massive
mansion in Seattle, where a series of murders, suicides, vanishing and
supernatural happenings have taken place. Again, evil begets evil as some of
the characters fall under the influence of the house and its ghostly
residents, leading to a climax that is anything but happy.
Baxley's eye for stunt work, special effects and timing, due partially to his
past career, helped this film out greatly, elevating it beyond just another
haunted house tale.
In conjunction with Rose Red, Baxley also worked on a psuedo-documentary on
the Rose Red house and the "real" investigative team going into the
place, in The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer. Designed to pump up interest in the
film, this production took pieces of the fictional "diary" of the
house's mysterious owner, coming across like something that might be seen on
The Travel Channel, on America's Most Haunted Places. Curiously, there were
people watching who thought Rose Red was a real house and there were actually
investigative teams going in to exorcise the place. Shades of Welles and his
War Of The Worlds
Then came Kingdom Hospital, about a hospital built on the location of a
massive mill disaster in which several children died. The spirits in this King
story did not pass away pleasantly or remain dead. Draw your own assumptions of
the plot to follow.
In 2005 this director saw considerable action with back to back work. First
there was World At War, the third of Cloud Ten's Left Behind
with the coming of the legendary antichrist. Though just released in late
October, the movie has gained praise from Christian and secular
audiences alike, some seeing it as a great spiritual piece, while others view
it as a fine horror film. The final scene, with the villain walking
unscratched out of a collapsed, burning skyscraper and into the camera lens
with a triumphant smirk brings chills to all but the most steadfast onlooker.
This film was followed by Triangle, in post-production in October, which will
be seen as another mini-series on tv. This work enters the outright
horror realm once again, though in slightly more subtle form. A group of
survivors of supernatural incidents within the Bermuda Triangle attempt to
find the reason behind such happenings. Little else remains known to date
about this, so we will have to wait for it to hit the screen.
Curiously, in World At War, Baxley directed Gordon Currie to the role of a
lifetime as the arrogant antichrist. In Triangle, the star is Sam Neill, the
actor who played Damien, another antichrist, in Omen III, over twenty years