Best known as a B-movie director with a flare for camp, director David R. Ellis was found dead today at age 60.
Ellis started his career as an actor in 1975, appearing in the film The Strongest Man In The World alongside Kurt Russell.
He quickly transitioned in to stunt work, both acting as a stunt coordinator and performing as a stuntman. Some of his recognizable credits include Scarface, Fatal Attraction and Patriot Games.
His first break as a feature film director came in in 1996 with the release of Homeward Bound 2: Lost In San Francisco. He wouldn’t direct again for 7 years but would be given another shot on the horror sequel Final Destination 2 in 2003.
From there Ellis kept a steady directing career. He followed up Final Destination 2 with Cellular only one year later.
Hoever, it would be Ellis’ next film that grabbed the attention of both the film world and the internet; Snakes on a Plane. The film starred Samuel L. Jackson and become a viral internet sensation thanks to its campy on-the-nose title and self-aware, “in on the joke” marketing.
After a heavy marketing push leading to a modest but unexciting success Ellis ventured back into the low-budget world with the little seen horror film Asylum in 2008 . Looking for a sure hit Ellis returned to direct The Final Destination in 2009.
For what would turn out to be his final movie Ellis jumped in the water with another campy creature feature, 2011’s Shark Night 3D.
Indiewire reports that David R. Ellis was found dead in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was prepping his next film, Kite, which was set to reunite him with Snakes on a Plane star Samuel L. Jackson. The cause of death is unknown at this time.
Davis R. Ellis created a steady career as a director in Hollywood directing profitable films for major studios. He never won an Oscar but he leaves behind a memorable filmography that deserves to be respected and honored for years to come.
Here’s the teaser trailer for Snakes on a Plane:
What do you think, is David R. Ellis one of the great directors of the last generation?