Horror movie directors. The mere sound of the word will send shivers down your spine in fear and anticipation. As with all forms of media, one of my favorite things to do is to ask, “what makes them so great?” Many people enjoy horror movies, and countless theories as to why these films are so popular.
Directors of Horror movies. We all love them, but who are they? This topic divides the crowd into two camps: those that believe that directors are behind every success and those that don’t.
Whichever side you belong to, I think we can all agree that great directors impact the quality of a movie to a great extent.
Let’s review ten famous horror movie directors and see what makes them so famous!
Horror Movie Directors
Below is the list of some of our time’s topmost prominent horror movie directors.
1. Mike Flanagan
Mike Flanagan is a horror filmmaker who’s been making a name for himself lately. He directed “Oculus,” an undervalued gem about a haunted mirror that loses none of its menace upon repeat viewings, and he recently took on the enormous task of helming Netflix’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game.
I spoke with Flanagan about his love of horror, his experience working with King, and his thoughts about the genre’s future.
If you are a fan of horror or just good filmmaking in general, then you should be watching Mike Flanagan’s movies.
2. Kiyoshi Kurosawa
The Japanese horror film director Kiyoshi Kurosawa is best known in the West for his artful and scary ghost stories, such as “Pulse” (2001) and “Cure” (1997).
But in Japan, beginning with his first feature film, “The Guard from the Underground” (1992), he has made various movies that are not easily categorizable.
He has made romantic comedies and gangster films, police thrillers, and science fiction. He has made films that resemble westerns (“License to Live,” 1998); he has made films that are like action movies (“Doppelganger,” 2003), but where the action consists mostly of people running around in circles until they collapse from exhaustion.
He has also made a film about a man who spends all day riding elevators (“Elevator,” 2001). And he has made a film about an unemployed man who escapes into an alternative reality created by his television set (“Charisma”).
These films are not as immediately appealing as Kurosawa’s ghost stories, but they tend to be more interesting.
They are often uncomfortable to watch – sometimes intentionally so – and some of them take a long time to make sense. His most recent film, “Bright Future,” released in Japan last
3. Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie is a horror movie director. He has been directing horror movies since 2003 when he directed House of 1000 Corpses, and his most famous movie is The Devil’s Rejects (2005).
Rob Zombie was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, on January 12th, 1965. He was born Robert Bartleh Cummings. He grew up in Haverhill and went to school at Haverhill High School.
When he got older, he moved to New York City. There he became friends with Sean Yseult. She played bass guitar in his band, White Zombie.
Rob Zombie married Sheri Moon in 2002. Sheri Moon is an actress who has appeared in all of Rob Zombie’s horror movies.
4. Andy Muschietti
Andy Muschietti is an Argentinian horror movie director, best known for his horror films Mama (2013) and It (2017), one of the highest-grossing R-rated horror films of all time.
After the success of Mamá, Andy directed commercials for clients like Coca-Cola, Adidas, and the Spanish Lottery, while continuing to develop new projects with Barbara.
In 2011, Andy Muschietti directed a series of commercials for an Argentinian beer company called Quilmes that became very popular in Argentina. He has been described as a “master of suspense,” with his films centering on the concept of fear.
5. James Wan
James Wan is a Malaysian-Australian film producer, screenwriter, and film director of Malaysian Chinese descent.
He is widely known for directing Saw (2004) and creating Billy the puppet. Wan has also directed Dead Silence (2007), Death Sentence (2007), Insidious (2010), The Conjuring (2013), and Furious 7 (2015). In 2011, Entertainment Weekly named him one of the “Top Creative People in Entertainment.”
Wan wrote, directed, and produced the films Malice in Wonderland (2009) and Death Sentence (2007) with his producing partner Leigh Whannell.
In February 2009, it was reported that he would produce a remake of Wes Craven’s classic slasher film The People Under the Stairs. “The Conjuring” makes James Wan one of our time’s best horror movie directors.
If you are searching for some of the prominent horror movie directors, then James Wan is one person you should give not overlook.
6. Ari Aster
Ari Aster, the director of Hereditary and Midsommar, is now a master of the horror genre. Still, he got his start making short films, beginning in 2010 with “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons,” a dark satire about a father-son relationship gone wrong.
While at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Aster made two more shorts, 2012’s “Munchausen” and 2013’s “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons.” Then it was time for him to make his first feature film.
Aster has cited Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining as his favorite film and significant inspiration for his work. The Shining is also part of what Aster calls his personal “Holy Trinity” of horror movies, along with Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist (also mentioned in our review).
7. André Øvredal
André Øvredal is a Norwegian horror movie director who has directed such films as the 2010 horror film Trollhunter.
As a film student, Øvredal was very interested in special effects. After finishing school, he worked on several short films and commercials. His first feature, Trollhunter, was well received in Norway and worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing Norwegian film of all time.
Øvredal’s father was a photographer; his mother is a nurse. He grew up with five brothers and sisters in Vestre Aker, Oslo.
While studying at the Film School, Øvredal directed several short films with varying success. He said that his second-year project went so badly that he was almost thrown out of the school.
8. Guillermo Del Toro
Guillermo Del Toro is a horror movie director who has had a lot of success in the last few years. Yet despite his recent success, he still thinks of himself as an outsider because he makes horror movies.
Del Toro’s most recent movie is “The Shape of Water,” which won the best picture and director at the Oscars on Sunday night.
In his acceptance speech, he said: “I was a kid enamored with monsters with a freakish obsession, and I think that that’s why the gods have been kind to me all my life.”
9. Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele is one of our greatest contemporary horror directors, and his new movie “Us” is his masterpiece. It’s a film that demands to be watched multiple times.
Mr. Peele is black, the first African-American writer-director to win an Oscar for best original screenplay (for his 2017 film “Get Out”).
That has put him in the position of carrying the torch for racial justice in America at a time when white supremacy isn’t just resurgent but ascendant.
But even as he has spoken about the evils of Trumpism, he has continued to make horror films — not merely mainstream horror films but thrillers about race, racism, and racial identity.
10. Robert Eggers
Robert Eggers is an independent filmmaker who made his name with the 2015 horror film “The Witch.”
After writing and re-writing the script for about five years, Eggers spent another year casting the film. Then came location scouting and another six months of prep before the bulk of production began.
“The Witch” was shot in sequence over 33 days, mostly at night. The shoot took 15 weeks, and the postproduction process took eight months, roughly a month longer than Eggers planned.
Eggers is currently in post on his next movie, a new adaptation of “Nosferatu,” which follows his largely faithful approach to “The Witch.”
If you want to be a great horror movie director, you must continually improve your filmmaking. You must learn and become familiar with new techniques and work to master the fundamentals of cinematography.
Finally, you should pay attention to the stories behind other successful horror movies, as well as the techniques that made those movies so effective.
Follow these steps, and you will have a much better chance of being a successful horror movie director for years to come.