Good Horror Movie Directors

Good horror movie directors are hard to come by. Some of the good directors in the horror genre stop making horror movies and move on to other genres. Other good horror directors lose their touch after a few movies. I've tried to list some of the most consistently excellent directors working in the horror genre here:

  1. John Carpenter - John Carpenter has probably made more good horror movies than any other horror movie director. His "apocalypse trilogy" by itself would qualify him for this list. (The apocalypse trilogy consists of The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and In the Mouth of Madness.) Even when you ignore those, his body of work is incredible, including Halloween, The Fog, Vampires, Christine, They Live, and Ghosts of Mars.
  2. Sam Raimi - Sam Raimi is best-known for his work on the Spider-Man movies, but before that, he was the director of Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness. His dramatic visual style is unmistakable. He recently directed Drag Me to Hell, which was his first horror movie in a while. With any luck, it won't be his last for a while.
  3. George Romero - He makes the list mostly because of his zombie movies, which are almost universally good. You can safely skip a lot of his other early horror work, especially The Crazies. Land of the Dead is a waste of time too. But all of his other zombie movies are well worth seeing.
  4. David Cronenberg - He finally found mainstream success with A History of Violence, but for horror fans, he'll always be the genius behind horror movies like The Brood, Scanners, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, The Fly, and Dead Ringers.
  5. Wes Craven - I paid little attention to Wes Craven until he made the Scream movies. Sometimes his movies are really great, like when he makes something like A Nightmare on Elm Street. Other times, he really misses the mark with films like Shocker.
  6. Alfred Hitchcock - I'm sure that Hitchcock thought of himself as a suspense director more than a horror director, but you can't realistically talk about good horror directors without mentioning the man responsible for both Psycho and The Birds.
  7. David Lynch - If you like weird movies, then David Lynch should be right up your alley. Most of his films have horror aspects, although they're not all what you'd consider pure horror movies. Eraserhead, blue Velvet, and Lost Highway can only loosely be considered horror films, but they're all worth seeing, and they'll all stay with you for days after viewing them.
  8. Brian de Palma - He's better know for his brilliant movie The Untouchables, but his horror films are excellent. Carrie is one of the best horror movies of the 1970's, and The Fury is a must-see also.
  9. Don Coscarelli - Most people think of Don Coscarelli and immediately think, "Ah, Phantasm!" Not me though. Don Coscarelli will always be cherished by me for his work on Bubba Ho-Tep. His episode on the Masters of Horror tv show called "Incident on and off a Mountain Road" is also a good one.

It's hard to find good horror movie directors who consistently produce good horror film after good horror film. If you have any suggestions for additions to this list, please let me know.

See also:

  • 13 Good Horror Movie Directors at Gunaxin Media
  • Horror Movie Directors at
  • Good Horror Film Directors at
  • Good Horror Movie Directors Discussing the Impact of Their Work
  • Great David Cronenberg Blog Post

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