15 Greatest Horror Directors Of All Time

Blame these guys for those sleepless nights.

Wes Craven
© Kenneth Johansson/Corbis

Outside of fans of the genre, horror movies rarely get the recognition they truly deserve. When it comes to mainstream accolades, few have earned nominations for Academy Awards and only one, The Silence Of The Lambs, has been fortunate enough to pick up an Oscar for Best Picture.

It's a shame this is the case (William Friedkin's The Exorcist clearly deserved the Best Picture award over The Sting), as directing great horror movies is clearly as artistically valid as any other genre. Tapping into the raw, primal fears of the audience is a tricky thing to pull off successfully - as the countless terrible horror movies which get churned out annually attests to - and filmmakers who succeed in this respect demonstrate an astute grasp of the language of cinema.

It's perhaps ironic that the two aforementioned directors who earned a token nod from the Academy were not first and foremost known for horror movies, while those who have dedicated their lives to scaring the pants off audiences continue to remain notable by their absence from awards season. On the evidence of their movies, it's clear that they deserve better.

Here are the 15 greatest horror directors of all time - you can blame these guys for all those sleepless nights.

15. Hideo Nakata

Wes Craven
© Abdelhak Senna/epa/Corbis

Notable Films: Ring, Dark Water, Chaos

Hideo Nakata was instrumental in reigniting interest in Japanese horror movies in the West, following on from the release of his hugely successful 1998 film Ring.

Horror fans might have been less pleased with the steady stream of inferior copycats, but there's no denying that Ring got the Japanese supernatural ball rolling in chilling style. It remains one of the best horror movies of all time - that Nakata was able to follow this up with the excellent ghost story Dark Water and the chilling thriller Chaos shows a director who understands the genre completely.

Nakata was less successful in his attempt to make the transition to America, serving only as the writer on the Walter Salles-directed remake of Dark Water. Having later directed the highest grossing Japanese movie of 2008, the Death Note spin-off L: Change The World, it's highly unlikely he cares about Hollywood any more.


Andrew Dilks hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.