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'CUT (His Arm Off)!' The 5 Best Scary Movie Directors

'CUT (His Arm Off)!' The 5 Best Scary Movie Directors

By Anthony DeVito

Freddy Krueger! Jason Voorhees! Michael Myers! Saying the names of horror movie villains out loud is enough to send a chill down the spine (and saying them five times is enough to get disemboweled in front of the mirror). But, what about the person behind the person behind the hockey mask? How well do you know your famous scary movie directors?!

You don't think zombies without thinking George A. Romero! (The zombies themselves don't think at all.) The American horror director's most celebrated work is the 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead, but old George has been critical of Hollywood throughout his career. He once said, "If I fail they (the film industry) write me off as another statistic. If I succeed, they pay me a million bucks to fly out to Hollywood and fart." Which, in the history of flatulence, is widely regarded as the world's well-paid fart.

Rob Zombie is a man with many hats and many gaping face wounds. He's the former lead singer of popular rock band White Zombie, but has turned to making horror films in the last ten years. Zombie has been so successful in the horror biz, he was entrusted to direct the 2007 remake of Halloween. Zombie wasn't necessarily a fan of the title though, noting that there are complications when the name of your movie doubles as a holiday: "That's the problem making a movie called Halloween: If you come out November 1 or after, nobody cares. If it was called anything else, I'd be fine." This was the main reason Zombie opted to name his most recent film The Lords of Salem and not The 2012 Macy's Christmas Sale.

When discussing horror villains, one single name comes up most often: Freddy. And, the man behind Freddy Krueger is American director Wes Craven, who is most famous for directing the Nightmare on Elm Street series and both The Hills Have Eyes films. An expert on the fear factor in horror movies, he has said, "Horror films don't create fear. They release it." They also release tears and weird, shrieking noises from grown men, making second dates improbable. Craven is someone who seems born to direct horror movies. He's gone so far to comment "If I were interested in reality, I'd be making documentaries." Thankfully, he didn't venture into that field—Food Inc. is horrifying enough as-is.

John Carpenter is an American horror director who has been striking fear in the hearts and bladders of movie goers for over 20 years. He's responsible for the mega successful Halloween film and the lesser-known, but equally frightful They Live. While Carpenter has achieved tremendous international acclaim, U.S. film critics haven't always been so positive. Carpenter has said, "In France, I'm an auteur; in Germany, a filmmaker; in Britain: a genre film director; and, in the USA, a bum." And, in Africa, people probably don't know he exists because they usually don't get movies until much later.

Japanese director Takashi Shimizu is the mastermind behind The Grudge franchise. Each of the movies shares Shimizu's use of creepy children as the main antagonists, but often wind up with different viewer ratings. Shimizu has been quoted as saying, "The rating issue is difficult, because it's never the same. The response they give me is always different, and every time, it is different." And, judging from watching his movies, the response is usually, "Dear Mr. Shimizu, I had to sleep with a nightlight for two weeks after watching your film. Sincerely, the Motion Picture Association of America."

Do you have a favorite horror film director?

Topics: Life
Tags: halloween, nightmare on elm street, scary movies, directors, horror films, freddy krueger

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