A Famed Horror Director Has Sadly Passed Away

By Dan Lawrence | 2 weeks ago

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The world of Horror lost a multi-talented creator in the form of Declan O’Brien on February 16th. O’Brien, a writer, producer, and director best known for his additions to the Wrong Turn franchise passed away at the age of 56, as per Deadline. He will be remembered in a special ceremony on May 13th.

Declan O’Brien’s film credits are packed full of films of the horrific flare. His output includes being the director for Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead and the writer/director for Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings, and Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines. As well as this, O’Brien took his horror cv beyond the Wrong Turn world with Joy Ride 3: Roadkill & Sharktopus. Fans of these movies will surely feel O’Brien’s loss, but more importantly, O’Brien is survived by his three children, Alec O’Brien, Aidan O’Brien, and Caitlin O’Brien and they will be of course greatly impacted by his loss. The thoughts of the film community will be with them. 

Declan O'Brien

Declan O’Brien’s career was always destined to be in the world of film. He was born in Rochester, New York on December 21 in 1965 and as per Dread Central, began his storytelling path in High School. O’Brien acted in several high school plays which spurred him on to pursue filmmaking as a career. His acting career fell away and O’Brien instead set his focus behind the camera, pursuing a film degree, and graduating from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.

Declan O’Brien’s brand of filmmaking came in the bloodthirsty world of horror. He was noted as being a particular lover of gore, increasingly demanding of the effects departments of his films asking always for more and more blood. Sean Decker of Dread Central recalls O’Brien’s filmmaking bloodlust; “Oh, and O’Brien loved FX gore. A lot. His shouts of “More blood! More blood!” anytime he was shooting his always innovative and elaborate kill sequences.”

Remarkably, Declan O’Brien’s knack for gore and horror betrays an award-winning work from earlier in his film back catalogue. One of his earlier writing credits is the 2007 family-comedy Alice Upside Down. O’Brien is also credited as a producer on the film that went on to win a best family feature award at the 2008 Kids First! Film Festival. This early success in the world of family film entertainment seemingly had no impact on O’Brien’s ability to craft violent horror features, showing a key attribute of flexibility within his film C.V. 

It’s always a difficult loss whenever a filmmaker passes, especially ahead of their time. This is definitely the case with Declan O’Brien. 56 is no age for the final curtain in one’s life and it seems all the crueller due to his three children bearing his loss. However, there are always two sides to every story and the beauty of filmmakers and filmmaking is the story of legacy. Thanks to his work on the likes of the Wrong Turn franchise, Joy Ride 3 and Alice Upside Down before them, Declan O’Brien has a time capsule of moments for his fans, peers, family, and friends to remember him by. Undoubtedly, this legacy will surely be the source of much joy when those close to O’Brien come to celebrate his life on May 13th.