10 Greatest Horror Movie Directors Of All Time

John Carpenter and the horror filmmakers dedicated to scaring the living Hell out of you.

John Carpenter Kurt Russell
20th Century Fox

Some of the greatest horror movies of all time have been directed by non-genre filmmakers dipping their toe into the medium. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, William Friedkin's The Exorcist and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now are all high points of horror from directors marked for their diversity of genres.

But the most enduring influences on horror have largely come from those filmmakers who have dedicated themselves to scaring the life out of audiences, contributing everything from how to produce effective special effects on a shoestring budget, to the establishment of horror sub-genres which have survived to the present day.

Their movies have spawned countless franchises and a wide range of imitators, clogging the shelves of video rental stores throughout the 1980s and 90s and enjoying a contemporary revival in an age of reboots and remakes. But as with all imitations, rarely have these movies lived up to the same high standards of their sources of inspiration.

From the founding fathers of the slasher movie, through to the architect of countless zombie outbreaks and the Godfather of Gore, these ten directors are the true masters of horror cinema.

10. Roger Corman

John Carpenter Kurt Russell
American International Pictures

Notable films: House of Usher, The Pit And The Pendulum, Tales Of Terror, The Raven, The Masque Of The Red Death

Roger Corman needs little introduction to fans of B-movie entertainment. With 55 films under his belt and countless production credits, he did more to energize low budget filmmaking than perhaps any other figure in the movie industry.

In addition to a string of science fiction, thriller and adventure movies, he also directed some of the key horror films of the 1950s and 60s, but is best remembered for his many collaborations with Vincent Price and Boris Karloff on his adaptations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. From House Of Usher to The Tomb Of Ligeia, all told they collaborated on eight adaptations from the literary master of horror.

His legacy for the film industry at large extended well beyond his contribution to horror - without Corman, it's possible we'd never have seen the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and James Cameron step behind the camera, while actors such as Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson all got their break with him.

You can check out Nicholson in Corman's horror classics The Raven and The Terror and see him developing his acting chops.


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