Today, FF2 celebrates director Stacy Title on the sixth anniversary of the release of The Bye Bye Man. The 2017 horror film finds Stacy directing a group of young people through a terrifying nightmare. Though perhaps her most well-known project, Stacy’s talents go far past The Bye Bye Man. She also frequently worked as a screenwriter and producer, as well as directed successful comedies and shorts. Though Stacy unfortunately passed away in 2021 after a battle with ALS, her legacy of filmmaking may still be enjoyed today and hereafter.
Stacy Title was born on February 21, 1964, in New York. She grew up in a creative environment: Stacy’s father worked producing commercials. However, Stacy herself moved away from the advertisement industry and towards filmmaking. Her first ever project, the 1993 short film Down on the Waterfront, was given the honor of a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Short Film.
After such an astonishingly strong start to her career, Stacy wasted no time in throwing herself into her next project. This time she would not be directing a short, but a feature film. 1995’s The Last Supper follows a group of graduate school students who plan to murder their conservative dinner guests. Despite this description, the film is a hilarious comedy. Its clever use of satire endeared it to audience members of the Toronto International Film Festival where it premiered.
In 1999, Stacy directed Let the Devil Wear Black. The crime film retells the story of Hamlet set in modern Los Angeles, California. Stacy co-wrote the film alongside her husband, Jonathan Penner, with whom she combined talents often. Four years later, in 2003, Stacy and Jonathan also co-wrote the script for the Warner Bros. television film, The Lone Ranger.
Combining her love for both the horror and comedy genre, Stacy’s next project came in the form of 2006’s Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror. The three stories which make up the horror anthology are connected by their ghostly narrator, played by Snoop Dogg himself. Stacy also worked in horror television, directing a 2017 episode for the television series Freakish, a highschool zombie shock fest.
2017’s The Bye Bye Man takes paranoia to new extremes as college students fight against an entity who gains power not only from his name being spoken, but thought of as well. The concept itself transforms the film from a simple scary movie to an allegory for deeper, more realistic and everyday terror. As FF2 contributor Georgiana Presecky writes in her review of the film, “The idea of a name causing so much terror and trauma is a pretty decent metaphor for human nature – the idea of having an important secret, but being unable to share it to spare others from harm.”
Walking Time Bomb was set to be a testament to the challenges faced by women directors.
After the sudden spotlight brought on by The Bye Bye Man, Stacy immediately began developing her newest project. Walking Time Bomb would have been another dark comedy, a genre Stacy had already proved herself to excel at. The film was set to be a testament to the challenges faced by women directors. As Vulture reported in an article on Stacy’s story, the director herself, despite notable talent and an Academy Award nomination, was not given many opportunities in Hollywood.
There is no doubt Walking Time Bomb would have shown to be a triumph within her wonderful filmography. Unfortunately, that same year, Stacy was diagnosed with ALS. Despite this devastating diagnosis, Stacy threw herself further into her art, and continued to develop Walking Time Bomb tirelessly for as long as she was able.
Stacy Title passed away on January 11, 2021. The tragedy of her passing is multiplied by the true storytelling talent lost alongside Stacy. First obstructed by Hollywood’s systematic sexism and later through illness, the world attempted time and again to steal Stacy’s directorial voice. Yet through all this, she continued to create. Though she is no longer with us, her films remain a testament to her success within the film industry, as well as her true passion for filmmaking. Stacy’s dark comedies and horror films will remain to remind us of her talent, and her dedication to her craft. Thank you, Stacy Title.
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read Georgi’s review of The Bye Bye Man here.
Visit Stacy’s Wikipedia page here.
Read Vulture’s article on Stacy Title here.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured Photo: Lucien Laviscount, Douglas Smith, Jenna Kanell, Cressida Bonas in the film THE BYE BYE MAN (2017), directed by Stacy Title. Photo Credit: © Intrepid Pictures via Entertainment Pictures / ZUMAPRESS / Alamy Stock Photo. Image ID: J2HTTY
Bottom Photo: Filmmaker Stacy Title died on January 11, 2021 after a years long battle with ALS. She was 56 years old. Click HERE to read the statement from her husband Jonathan Penner. Photo Credit of her gravesite: Barry King (4/22/23) / Alamy Stock Photo. Image ID: 2PR2ATD