S. Craig Zahler

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S. Craig Zahler
Born Steven Craig Zahler
(1973-01-23) January 23, 1973 (age 43)
Miami, Florida, United States
Occupation Novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, musician, director and cinematographer

S. Craig Zahler (born January 23, 1973) is an American author, screenwriter, songwriter, musician, director and cinematographer.

Life and career[edit]

Zahler has written novels in various genres, including western, crime and science fiction, and these works have received support from major award-winning names in both genre literature and film, most notably, Walter Hill, Kurt Russell, Larry Niven, Joe R. Lansdale and Jack Ketchum. His debut noir western novel, "A Congregation of Jackals" was nominated for The Spur Award by the Western Writers of America and The Peacekeeper by the Western Fictioneers. "Corpus Chrome, Inc.," "A Congregation of Jackals" and "Mean Business on North Ganson Street" all received starred reviews for excellence in Booklist.[1]

As a drummer, lyricist and singer, Zahler (as Czar) collaborates with his longtime friend and new music composer Jeff Herriott (as JH Halberd) to write and perform songs as the heavy metal band Realmbuilder, who have three albums on I Hate Records of Sweden.[2] This is following Zahler's foray into black metal with the project, Charnel Valley, where he played drums, wrote lyrics, and shared songwriting duties with Worm. The two Charnel Valley albums were released by Paragon Records.[3]

Zahler also wrote the script for a 2011 horror film Asylum Blackout (also called "The Incident at Sans Asylum" and the The Incident), which was then directed by Alexandre Courtès.[4]

In October 2014, Zahler made his directorial debut and wrote original screenplay for Bone Tomahawk, which stars Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Lili Simmons, David Arquette and Richard Jenkins.[5] The film was released on October 23 in theaters and video on demand.[6] Critical response was very positive from the press. "[A] witty fusion of western, horror and comedy that gallops to its own beat." —NY Times[7] "Great dialogue, strong characters, and imaginative and memorable kills." —IGN.com "...Bone Tomahawk succeeds in demonstrating the voice of its massively talented creator." —Twitchfilm.com [8] "A handsome Western with horror overtones." —Hollywood Reporter [9] "A genre-smashing confluence of an oater and an eater, Bone Tomahawk is an absolute blast..." —birthmoviesdeath.com [10] "There's a humming genre intelligence at work in the grim, witty horror-western Bone Tomahawk." LA Times [11] "...a most violent delight" —Variety [12] "[T]his modest feature leaves The Hateful Eight in the dust. It’s provocative, original, extremely violent and extremely good." —Leonard Maltin[13]

At the Sitges International Film Festival Bone Tomahawk won the critic's award for best picture, and Zahler was given the award for best director.[6]

The Indie Spirit Awards nominated Richard Jenkins for Best Supporting Actor and S. Craig Zahler for Best Screenplay.[6]

The movie won acclaim from the majority of established critics and was 'Certified Fresh' by Rotten Tomatoes, where 89% of the critics supported the movie.[14]

Scripts in development[edit]

In 2015, Zahler told Creative Screenwriting, "I’ve had maybe a minimum of 21 different screenplays optioned or sold, and not one of them was made in Hollywood. I had one made by a French company in Belgium, but the other 20 or more – and some of those have been optioned multiple times, I had a television series that was at FX that went to Starz that went to AMC – none of them have been made."[15]

On June 22, 2006, Variety told that Zahler began his career at NYU film school as a cinematographer.[16] In 2004, he wrote six scripts, including a western that topped the prestigious Black List entitled as The Brigands of Rattleborge,[16] which Park Chan-wook was set to direct the film.[17]

On September 7, 2007, THR reported that Warner Bros. has acquired the film rights to the anime Robotech with Tobey Maguire attached to star and produce the film, while Zahler was set to write the script for the film.[18]

On March 25, 2011, Sony's Columbia Pictures has picked up the script of the film The Big Stone Grid written by Craig Zahler, produced by Michael De Luca.[19]

On September 5, 2012, it was announced that FX is developing a martial arts drama, Downtown Dragons, Zahler is set to write and executive produce.[20]

On October 30, 2012, Zahler was set to make his directorial debut with a horror western film Bone Tomahawk from his own script, the film stars Kurt Russell and Richard Jenkins.[21] Two years later, the picture went into production in California.

On June 27, 2013, Warner Bros. acquired the film rights to his crime novel Mean Business on North Ganson Street. He will write the script of the film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx.[22]



as Czar in Charnel Valley, released by Paragon Records

  • 2005 - The Dark Archives[25]
  • 2007 - The Igneous Race[26]

as Czar in Realmbuilder, released by I Hate Records (Sweden)

  • 2009 - "Summon the Stone Throwers"[27]
  • 2011 - "Fortifications of the Pale Architect"[28]
  • 2013 - "Blue Flame Cavalry"[29]


As Director
As Writer
  • 2011 - The Incident also known as Asylum Blackout
  • 2015 - Bone Tomahawk
As Cinematographer
  • 1995 - "August Roads"
  • 1996 - "Warsaw Story"
  • 1997 - "Lucia's Dream"
  • 2003 - "Rooster"


  1. ^ S. Craig Zahler. "S. Craig Zahler". Goodreads. 
  2. ^ "Realmbuilder". metal-archives.com. 
  3. ^ "Charnel Valley". metal-archives.com. 
  4. ^ Leydon, Joe (2 October 2011). "Review: 'The Incident'". variety.com. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "Movie News - Movie Reviews - Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. 
  6. ^ a b c http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2494362/?ref_=rvi_tt.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/23/movies/review-bone-tomahawk-is-western-horror-and-comedy.html?_r=0.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ http://twitchfilm.com/2015/10/fantastic-fest-2015.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/bone-tomahawk-fantastic-fest-review-828749.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2015/10/23/bone-tomahawk-review-a-gory-good-horror-western.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-mn-bone-tomahawk-review-20151023-story.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ http://variety.com/2015/film/reviews/bone-tomahawk-review-1201604748/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/never-a-bad-time-for-a-good-western-bone-tomahawk-20160122
  14. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/bone_tomahawk/
  15. ^ Zacharias, Ramona (December 14, 2015). "Delivering the Beats: Bone Tomahawk". Creative Screenwriting. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b Ross, Matthew (22 June 2006). "Craig Zahler early career". variety.com. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  17. ^ Sneider, Jeff (29 August 2012). "'Oldboy' helmer saddles up for 'Brigands'". variety.com. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Maguire, WB attack the big screen with 'Robotech'". hollywoodreporter.com. 7 September 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  19. ^ Kit, Borys (25 March 2011). "Columbia Picks Up Spec Script By S. Craig Zahler". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (5 September 2012). "FX Developing Martial Arts Drama Project". deadline.com. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  21. ^ Sneider, Jeff (30 October 2012). "S. Craig Zahler to direct 'Bone Tomahawk'". variety.com. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  22. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (27 June 2013). "Warner Bros Acquires Craig Zahler Crime Novel As Re-Team Of 'Django Unchained's Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx". deadline.com. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c d "Books by S. Craig Zahler". goodreads.com. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Amazon.com: S. Craig Zahler: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle". amazon.com. 
  25. ^ "Charnel Valley - The Dark Archives - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". metal-archives.com. 
  26. ^ "Charnel Valley - The Igneous Race - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". metal-archives.com. 
  27. ^ "Realmbuilder - Summon the Stone Throwers - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". metal-archives.com. 
  28. ^ "Realmbuilder - Fortifications of the Pale Architect - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". metal-archives.com. 
  29. ^ "Realmbuilder - Blue Flame Cavalry - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". metal-archives.com. 

External links[edit]