Saturday, October 15, 2011

Top 10 Horror Movie Directors

A Tribute to those masters of the macabre, who's talents and vision have terrified us over the years.

10. Tod Browning - Beginning his career as a clown and variety theater director, he was taken under the wing of D.W.Griffith himself and began acting, and finally directing film. His best works in horror include Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, and Mark of the Vampire. But his most notable work, Freaks, was universally panned by critics and film-goers at the time, being too repulsive for mainstream audiences. In fact it has been banned in several countries for 30 years. Only the last 20 years or so has his film been rediscovered by contemporary audiences who truly appreciated his vision and talents. Truly a director ahead of his time.

9. David Cronenberg - Known as the king of Venereal Horror, Cronenberg's films require a bit of refinement in ones taste of horror movies. With films like Videodrome, Scanners, Dead Ringers, The Dead Zone, and the remake of The Fly, Cronenberg brings a sense of style to a genre known for crass and base sensibilities.

8. Tobe Hooper - One of horror's greatest contributors, Tobe's list of horror films is both long and impressive. With movies like Poltergeist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Salem's Lot, The Funhouse, Lifeforce, and Night Terrors, Tobe will always be remembered as one of Horror's greats.

7. Steve Miner - One of Hollywood's more prolific directors, Miner has contributed greatly to the horror genre, going all the way back to Friday the 13th parts 2 and 3. He also directed Halloween:H20, Lake Placid, Warlock, and the recent version of Day of the Dead.

6. Alfred Hitchcock - Easily the finest director on this list, Alfred comes in at number six, simply because he's not a true horror director. His refined skills lend more towards mystery and suspense films, both of which have carried over to entice horror fans. In fact, to tell a good horror tale, suspense and tension need to be created, and none can do so better than Alfred Hitchcock. With films like The Birds, Psycho, Rear Window, and Dial M For Murder, almost every director has borrowed from the master.

5. James Whale - Once he left Paramount for Universal Studios, James White contributed to the Horror Genre with such classics as Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and The Old Dark House. Like many directors on this list, his talents went beyond horror to other genres, but his horror films are still loved and appreciated nearly 80 years later.

4. George A. Romero - The father of the zombie genre, George A. Romero's films like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead, have cemented him with that title. Not just for bringing flesh-eating zombies to screen, but in his social-commentary that lies in the films' subtext. Beyond zombies, George has directed other horror classics such as Creepshow, Monkey Shines, and The Dark Half.

3. Dario Argento - Italian horror director Dario Argento is praised as one of the true horror film visionaries. Claiming to be inspired by his close nit family, who would tell him scary Italian folklore stories, his films have a surreal quality that can be unnerving. His impressive filmography includes Susperia, Inferno, Deep Red, and The Stendhal Syndrome. While not as accessible to mainstream audiences, horror fans of a certain palliate find his films deeply artistic. 

2. John Carpenter - No ther director has made cult following a success as John Carpenter. While never being an Academy Award winner, his films resonate with horror and sci-fi fans. Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, Christine, In The Mouth Of Madness and Prince of Darkness are watched religiously by horror fans every year. His Non-Horror, such as They Live, Escape From New York, and Big Trouble In Little China are staples of dark action thrill rides. He also writes the musical scores for many of his films, chilling us with sounds as well as sights.

1. Wes Craven - From the 1980's on, the Horror Genre has had many directors, but the one that has turned horror from cheap thrills to a legit genre has to be Wes Craven. From his early days of Last House on the Left, and The Hills Have Eyes, to the iconic creation of Freddy Krueger and A Nightmare on Elm St, Wes has pushed the envelope on how we see and appreciate horror. He even created and directed the Scream series, which both satirizes the horror genre, and yet improves upon it. This only showcases his artistic merit.

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