10 best horror directors that will give you nightmares for life

LOS ANGELES, July 7 — The horror genre oozes with substance. So whittling down the field to the 10 best horror directors — five classic, five modern — proved more challenging than sawing off one’s foot. But we did it. So here you go: 10 sultans of sinister who elevate blood and guts to an art form.

1. Alfred Hitchcock

Decades after his death, Hitchcock remains one of the world’s most powerful filmmakers, and an artist who’s influenced every entry on this list. His films are known for their style and precision — take, for instance, the directorial wizardry behind the seemingly continuous shot that is Rope. Hitchcock’s greatest contribution to the horror genre? We’re checking in to everyone’s favourite motel madhouse, Psycho.

2. Wes Craven

Craven made a bloody splash in 1972 with his rape-torture-kill film, The Last House on the Left. He then proceeded to redefine the horror genre with a string of killer flicks. The Hills Have Eyes still packs a brutal punch and his self-aware Scream resurrected the slasher movie. But it’s his seminal A Nightmare on Elm Street — with its innovative special effects and unforgettable villain — that still keeps us up at night.

A still from ‘Halloween’ via Compass International Pictures. — Reuters pic
A still from ‘Halloween’ via Compass International Pictures. — Reuters pic3. David Cronenberg

It’s clear you’re a legend when your name is synonymous with an entire subgenre. Cronie fans know what we’re talking about: Body horror. An arbiter of anatomical mutilations, Cronenberg has been shocking audiences with his unflinching take on everything from virtual reality to marital woes. This brings us to The Brood. Perhaps his most personal film, Cronenberg wrote the screenplay while in the throes of a nasty divorce. The messy marital fallout takes centre stage — and makes for an awesome final scene.

4. John Carpenter

Before John Carpenter entered the hallowed halls of horror, he was just a guy with an idea — specifically, the idea of a too-tall killing machine dressed in a cheap-o William Shatner mask who stalks the streets of small-town America. An admirer of Hitchcock, Carpenter mastered suspense without gore porn or special effects. He’s one who values pristine technicals over cheap scares, and for that, we always have a happy Halloween.

5. Dario Argento

Today, Argento is remembered as a master of giallo, the Italian slasher subgenre that mixes supernatural horror with crime fiction and/or violent erotica. Interestingly, Argento began his career as a film critic. Once he stepped behind the camera, however, the man’s talents earned him the moniker of “Italy’s Hitchcock”. Though his resume runs red, it’s Suspiria — and it’s hallucinatory images, vivid palette, and pulsating prog-rock score — that stands as Argento’s magnum opus.

A still from ‘Saw’ via Lions Gate Films. — Reuters pic
A still from ‘Saw’ via Lions Gate Films. — Reuters pic

6. James Wan

Every time the Malaysian-born Aussie unleashes a chapter of terror, we’re sure of one thing: It will get our pulses racing. Wan, who exploded onto the scene with the torture-porn gem Saw, is now considered the master of mainstream horror. Why? Because he unites critics, everyday moviegoers, and die-hard genre fans alike. And even though Wan’s current approach backs off on the gore, we can’t help but get nostalgic over Jigsaw’s grisly debut.

7. Adam Wingard

Adam Wingard may sit atop a mountain of modern horror directors, but his moviemaking style stands out above the rest. Together with fellow high-school dropout renegade E. L. Katz, the pair launched mumblegore, a micro-budget indie horror style rooted in improvisation and wit. The subgenre has since blossomed into a full-fledged movement that shows no signs of slowing down. Case in point: You’re Next — the first mumblegore to score with the mainstream.

8. Ben Wheatley

British wunderkind Wheatley got his career off the ground with a YouTube clip that went viral. It features a guy victoriously leaping over a moving car only to meet his fate on the other side of the road (watch it here). Even though it’s nine seconds long, the snippet encapsulates Wheatley’s signature formula: Everyday Joe + macabre humour + violence = success. The filmmaker has since tested this recipe on the big screen with Sightseers, High-Rise, and Down Terrace. But it’s his genre-bending occult horror Kill List that achieves maximum impact.

A still from ‘You’re Next’ via Lions Gate Films. — Reuters pic
A still from ‘You’re Next’ via Lions Gate Films. — Reuters pic

9. Jen and Sylvia Soska

As pioneers of third-wave feminism horror, the Soska sisters run their own production company, Twisted Pictures. They also write, direct, and star in their own bracing films. Take American Mary, for instance — a surgical horror that would make Cronenberg squirm. In a genre driven by the opposite sex, the Soskas open the door for a female-focused conversation about horror and the female form.

10. Ti West

Ti West pays homage to the art of old school scares while mixing in his own killer style. He gleefully plays with atmospheric suspense and retro shock, and then twists his narrative into something thoroughly disturbing. Our favourite example? The Innkeepers, a slow-burner that starts out naïve as can be — sleepy inn is run by bored underachievers — before taking a turn for the terrifying — the sleepy inn is overrun with ghosts.

Seriously honourable mentions: Roman Polanski, George A. Romero, Tobe Hooper, Guillermo del Toro, Rob Zombie, Adam Green, Mike Flanagan, Pascal Langdale, Eli Roth, Eduardo Sanchez, Kim Jee-Woon, Jeremy Saulnier, Karyn Kusuma, — we could do this all day… — The Line-Up/Reuters

* This story was originally featured on The-Line-Up.com. The Lineup is the premier digital destination for fans of true crime, horror, the mysterious, and the paranormal.

24 thoughts on “10 best horror directors that will give you nightmares for life

  • October 30, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Simply desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  • November 2, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for sharing this info, I bookmarked this site. I’m furthermore seeking tips around silly pick up lines, are you aware where I could discover a thing like that? I will come back soon!

  • November 2, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I was looking at some of your articles on this site and I believe this internet site is really instructive! Keep on posting .

  • November 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I was speaking to a friend of mine regarding this and even regarding android apps as well. I think you made a number of very good points on this page, we’re also looking forward to find out more material from you.

  • November 5, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he just bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  • November 11, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I always read your articles closely. I am also fascinated by double glazed windows prices, perhaps you could talk about this sometimes. Take care.

  • November 16, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise some technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the site many times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for much more of your respective interesting content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

  • November 17, 2017 at 1:22 am

    Hi there can you let me know which platform you are dealing with? I’m planning to start my own personal site on Arvind Pandit in the future though I am having difficulty making a decision.

  • November 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    I felt amazing reading this info and I feel you’re 100 correct. Tell me if you are curious about lucky patcher for iphone, that is my primary expertise. I hope to hear from you soon enough, take good care!

  • November 21, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    There are actually some exciting points in time in this article but I do not know if I see all of them center to heart. There is certainly some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Beneficial write-up , thanks and we want far more!

  • November 22, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    I like what you fellows are now up to. This sort of cool effort and visibility! Keep up the very good effort guys, I’ve added you to facetime download web page.

  • November 23, 2017 at 1:59 am

    Hi there, you are certainly correct. I always read your posts closely. I am furthermore curious about online marketing strategies, you could discuss that occasionally. See you!

  • November 23, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Greetings! I just noticed this excellent website and I certainly like it. I also always like to chat about real estate sites sometimes. Good to be around, thanks a lot!

  • November 23, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    You are certainly correct, I would love to know new info on this particular issue! I’m as well captivated by outdoor wireless intercom because I consider it is really very unique these days. Thanks!

  • November 24, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for novice blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  • November 25, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Hello could you tell me which blog platform you are using? I am seeking to start my website on kik messenger in the near future although I’m having difficulty making a choice.

  • November 25, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    I’m intrigued to discover just what site system you have been using? I am experiencing several slight safety difficulties with our most recent blog on more twitter followers so I would love to find a thing far more risk-free. Are there any strategies?

  • November 26, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Our LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) HGV training is based in East London, and our LGV/ HGV courses are taught by qualified DVSA LGV & HGV trainers. LGV was formerly known as HGV, where it used to be referred to as HGV Class 2 (now called LGV Category C) and HGV class 1 (Now called LGV Category C+E).

Comments are closed.