True Masters of Horror

by Bonehead-XL | created - 17 Sep 2013 | updated - 14 Sep 2015 | Public

IMDb doesn't need another list collecting Masters of Horrors. Here's one anyway. The directors listed here have contributed at least two important, enduring films to the horror genre.

1. Paul Wegener

Actor | Der Golem

Paul Wegener was born in Arnoldsdorf, West Prussia, part of the German Empire. His birthplace is currently part of Poland, under the name "Jarantowice". Wegener's family included a number of scientists, the most notable being his cousin Alfred Wegener (1880-1930). Alfred is remembered as the ...

The Student of Prague (1913), The Golem (1915), The Golem, How He Came Into the World (1920)

2. F.W. Murnau

Director | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

He studied art and literature history at the University of Heidelberg. During World War I, he was a combat pilot.

The Haunted Castle (1921), Nosferatu (1922), Faust (1926)

3. Fritz Lang

Director | M

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922), M (1931), The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), House by the River (1950), The 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960)

4. Paul Leni

Director | The Man Who Laughs

Paul Leni was born on July 8, 1885 in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany as Paul Josef Levi. He was an art director and director, known for The Man Who Laughs (1928), The Cat and the Canary (1927) and Das Rätsel von Bangalor (1918). He died on September 2, 1929 in Los Angeles, California, ...

Waxworks (1924), The Cat and the Canary (1927), The Man Who Laughs (1928), The Last Warning (1929)

5. Tod Browning

Director | Dracula

Belonging to a well-situated family, Charles Browning fell in love at the age of 16 with a dancer of a circus. Following her began his itinerary of being clown, jockey and director of a variety theater which ended when he met D.W. Griffith and became an actor. He made his debut in Intolerance: ...

The Unholy Three (1925), The Unknown (1927), London After Midnight (1927), Dracula (1931), Freaks (1932), Mark of the Vampire (1935), The Devil-Doll (1936)

6. Alfred Hitchcock

Director | Psycho

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...

The Lodger (1927), Rope (1947), Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Frenzy (1972)

7. James Whale

Director | Frankenstein

James Whale was an English film director, theatre director and actor. He is best remembered for his four classic horror films: Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). He also directed films in other genres, including what is ...

Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

8. Victor Halperin

Director | When a Girl Loves

American second feature director, often for Poverty Row Studios in the 1920's and 30's. Specialised in horror and romantic melodrama.

White Zombie (1932), Supernatural (1933), Revolt of the Zombies (1936)

9. Erle C. Kenton

Director | House of Dracula

Erle C. Kenton entered films as an actor with the Mack Sennett troupe (he was one of the original Keystone Kops). In addition to acting, he performed pretty much any kind of behind-the-scenes job he could get, and by 1919 Sennett gave him a job directing two-reel comedies. The next year he ...

Island of Lost Souls (1932), Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), The Cat Creeps (1946)

10. Ernest B. Schoedsack

Director | Dr. Cyclops

Ernest B. Schoedsack was born on June 8, 1893 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA as Ernest Beaumont Schoedsack. He was a director and cinematographer, known for Dr. Cyclops (1940), The Most Dangerous Game (1932) and Rango (1931). He was married to Ruth Rose. He died on December 23, 1979 in Los Angeles ...

The Most Dangerous Game (1932), King Kong (1933), Son of Kong (1933), Dr. Cyclops (1940), Mighty Joe Young (1949)

11. Jacques Tourneur

Director | Out of the Past

Born in Paris in 1904, Tourneur went to Hollywood with his father, director Maurice Tourneur around 1913. He started out as a script clerk and editor for his father, then graduated to such jobs as directing shorts (often with the pseudonym Jack Turner), both in France and America. He was hired to ...

Cat People (1941), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), The Leopard Man (1943), Curse of the Demon (1957), The Comedy of Terrors (1963)

12. George Waggner

Director | The Fighting Kentuckian

George Waggner was born on September 7, 1894 in New York City, New York, USA as George Waggoner. He was a director and writer, known for The Fighting Kentuckian (1949), Man-Made Monster (1941) and South of Tahiti (1941). He was married to Danny Shannon. He died on December 11, 1984 in Hollywood, ...

Man Made Monster (1941), Horror Island (1941), The Wolf Man (1941), The Climax (1944)

13. Robert Wise

Director | West Side Story

Robert Earl Wise was born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana, the youngest of three sons of Olive R. (Longenecker) and Earl Waldo Wise, a meat packer. His parents were both of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) descent. At age nineteen, the avid moviegoer came into the film business through an ...

Curse of the Cat People (1944), The Body Snatcher (1945), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Haunting (1963), The Andromeda Strain (1971)

14. Jack Arnold

Director | The Incredible Shrinking Man

Jack Arnold reigns supreme as one of the great directors of 1950s science-fiction features. His films are distinguished by moody black and white cinematography, solid acting, smart, thoughtful scripts, snappy pacing, a genuine heartfelt enthusiasm for the genre and plenty of eerie atmosphere.

Arnold...

It Came from Outer Space (1953), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Revenge of the Creature (1955), Tarantula (1955), Monster on Campus (1958)

15. Ishirô Honda

Writer | Godzilla

Influential Japanese film director born May 7th, 1911, often credited as being the father of Godzilla. His name is a combination of "I" (or Ino), meaning "boar" and "shirô," meaning fourth boy in the family. Originally, the young Honda had aspirations of becoming an artist. However, as he moved ...

Godzilla (1954), Rodan (1956), Mothra (1961), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Matango (1963), Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), War of the Gargantuas (1966), Destroy All Monsters (1968), Terror of MechaGodzilla (1975)

16. Val Guest

Writer | The Day the Earth Caught Fire

Val Guest began his career as an actor on the British stage and in early sound films. He ran the one-man London office of "The Hollywood Reporter" until an encounter with director Marcel Varnel led to a screen writing job at Gainsborough Studios. Guest's directing career began in the early 1940s ...

The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), Quastermass II (1957), The Abominable Snowman (1957), The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1960), When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)

17. Terence Fisher

Director | Dracula

Terence Fisher was born in Maida Vale, England, in 1904. Raised by his grandmother in a strict Christian Scientist environment, Fisher left school while still in his teens to join the Merchant Marine. By his own account he soon discovered that a life at sea was not for him, so he left the service ...

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Horror of Dracula (1958), Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Mummy (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), The Gorgon (1964), Island of Terror (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), The Devil Rides Out (1968)

18. William Castle

Producer | Homicidal

William Castle was born on April 24, 1914 in New York City, New York, USA as William Schloss. He was a producer and director, known for Homicidal (1961), Rosemary's Baby (1968) and Bug (1975). He was married to Ellen. He died on May 31, 1977 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

House on Haunted Hill (1959), The Tingler (1959), Mr. Sardonicus (1960), Straight Jacket (1964), Shanks (1974)

19. Roger Corman

Producer | Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound

Roger William Corman was born April 5, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan. Initially following in his father's footsteps, Corman studied engineering at Stanford University but while in school, he began to lose interest in the profession and developed a growing passion for film. Upon graduation, he worked a...

A Bucket of Blood (1959), House of Usher (1960), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), Pit and the Pendulum (1961), X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes (1963), The Haunted Palace (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

20. Mario Bava

Cinematographer | Reazione a catena

Italian director Mario Bava was born on July 31, 1914 in the coastal northern Italian town of San Remo. His father, Eugenio Bava (1886-1966), was a cinematographer in the early days of the Italian film industry. Bava was trained as a painter, and when he eventually followed his father into film ...

Black Sunday (1960), Black Sabbath (1963), The Whip and the Body (1963), Blood and Black Lace (1964), Planet of the Vampires (1965), Kill, Baby... Kill! (1966), Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970), Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971), Shock (1977)

21. Freddie Francis

Cinematographer | The Straight Story

During his last years at school he spent most of his time writing a thesis on 'the future of film' On leaving school he joined Gaumont British Studios at Lime Grove as an apprentice to a stills photographer for a year. He claimed this taught him more about the art of photography than any other form...

Day of the Triffids (1962), Paranoiac (1963), Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), Girly (1970), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Creeping Flesh (1973), The Ghoul (1975)

22. Jesús Franco

Writer | El tesoro de la diosa blanca

He was only six years old when he started composing music under the protection of his brother Enrique. After the Spanish Civil War he was able to continue his studies at the Real Conservatorio de Madrid, where he finished piano and harmony. Being a Bachelor of Law and an easy-read novel writer (...

The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962), The Diabolical Dr. Z (1966), Venus in Furs (1969), Count Dracula (1970)

23. Roman Polanski

Actor | Chinatown

Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years ...

Knife in the Water (1962), Repulsion (1964), The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), Rosemary's Baby (1968), Macbeth (1971), The Tenant (1976), The Ninth Gate (1999)

24. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | The Conversation

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated ...

Dementia 13 (1963), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Twixt (2012)

25. Herschell Gordon Lewis

Producer | Monster a-Go Go

Only one film-maker can claim the title "Godfather of Gore." That peculiar but apt identification seems to be the exclusive property of Herschell Gordon Lewis. With an unusual background that included teaching English Literature to college students, producing and directing television commercials, ...

Blood Feast (1963), Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), Color Me Blood Red (1965), Something Weird (1967), A Taste of Blood (1967), The Wizard of Gore (1970), The Gore-Gore Girls (1972)

26. Don Sharp

Director | Bear Island

Don Sharp was born on the island of Tasmania off of Australia, and began his show-business career there as an actor. After World War II he traveled to England and continued his acting carer. He became a director in the mid-1950s and turned out some low- and medium-budget musicals, such as the Tommy...

The Kiss of the Vampire (1963), The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964), Curse of the Fly (1965), Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966), Dark Places (1973), PsychoMania (1973)

27. José Mojica Marins

Actor | Encarnação do Demônio

José Mojica Marins was born on March 13, 1936 in San Paulo, Brazil, to a family of simple means. José's love of movies began at an early age. He spent a great deal of his time with his family at the local movie house, which his father helped manage. By the time he was eighteen, he had completed ...

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964), Tonight I'll Possess Your Corpse (1967), The Strange World of Coffin Joe (1968), Awakening of the Beast (1969), Estrupo! (1979), Embodiment of Evil (2008)

28. Jack Hill

Writer | Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told

Jack Hill grew up around movies--his father was a designer for the Disney studios and Warner Brothers. He went to the University of California to study film, where he was a classmate of Francis Ford Coppola--they worked together on student productions and later both apprenticed with Roger Corman, ...

Blood Bath (1966), Spider Baby (1968), Switch Blade Sisters (1975)

29. Roy Ward Baker

Director | Asylum

Roy Ward Baker's first job in films was as a teaboy at the Gainsborough Studios in London, England, but within three years he was working as an assistant director. During World War II, he worked in the Army Kinematograph Unit under Eric Ambler, a writer and film producer, who, after the war, gave ...

Quatermass and the Pit (1967), The Anniversary (1968), The Vampire Lovers (1970), Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971), Asylum (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974), The Monster Club (1981)

30. Brian De Palma

Director | Dressed to Kill

Brian De Palma is the son of a surgeon. He studied physics but at the same time felt his dedication for the movies and made some short films. After seven independent productions he had his first success with Sisters (1972) and his voyeuristic style. Restlessly he worked on big projects with the ...

Murder a la Mod (1968), Sisters (1973), Phantom of the Paradise (1974), Carrie (1976), The Fury (1978), Body Double (1984), Raising Cain (1992)

31. George A. Romero

Writer | Diary of the Dead

George A. Romero never set out to become a Hollywood figure; by all indications, though, he was very successful. The director of the groundbreaking "Living Dead" films was born February 4, 1940 ,in New York City to Ann (Dvorsky) and Jorge Romero. His father was born in Spain and raised in Cuba, and...

Night of the Living Dead (1968), Season of the Witch (1972), Martin (1977), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Creepshow (1982), Day of the Dead (1985)

32. Dario Argento

Writer | L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo

Dario Argento was born on September 7, 1940, in Rome, Italy, the first-born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Argento recalls getting his ideas for filmmaking from his close-knit family from Italian folk tales told by his parents and other ...

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), Deep Red (1975), Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980), Tenebre (1982), Phenomena (1985), Opera (1987), The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)

33. Robert Fuest

Director | The Final Programme

Well regarded for his stylish genre work of the 1970s, Robert Fuest may not have a very extensive list of feature film credits, but the quality of his output is what matters, not the quantity.

He certainly came to the business with a real talent for art. Born in London in 1927, he would spend some ...

And Soon the Darkness (1970), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972), The Devil's Rain (1975)

34. Jean Rollin

Director | La nuit des traquées

Jean Rollin was born on November 3, 1938 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France as Jean Michel Rollin Le Gentil. He was a director and writer, known for The Night of the Hunted (1980). He was married to Simone Rollin. He died on December 15, 2010 in Paris, France.

The Nude Vampire (1970), The Shiver of the Vampires (1971), The Iron Rose (1973), Lips of Blood (1975), The Grapes of Death (1978), Fascination (1979), The Living Dead Girl (1982)

35. Lucio Fulci

Writer | Murderock - Uccide a passo di danza

Lucio Fulci, born in Rome in 1927, remains as controversial in death as he was in life. A gifted craftsman with a sharp tongue and a wicked sense of dark humor, Fulci achieved some measure of notoriety for his gore epics of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but respect was long in coming.

Abandoning ...

A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971), Don't Torture a Duckling (1972), The Psychic (1977), Zombie (1979), The Beyond (1981), House by the Cemetery (1981), The New York Ripper (1982)

36. Harry Kümel

Director | Malpertuis

Harry Kümel was born on January 27, 1940 in Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. He is a director and writer, known for Malpertuis (1971), Monsieur Hawarden (1968) and Eline Vere (1991).

Daughters of Darkness (1971), Malpertius (1971)

37. Sergio Martino

Director | 2019 - Dopo la caduta di New York

Talented, prolific and versatile writer/director Sergio Martino has made a vast array of often solid and enjoyable films in such diverse genres as horror, comedy, Western and science-fiction in a career that spans over 40 years.

Martino was born on July 19, 1938, in Rome, Italy. His grandfather was ...

The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), The Case of the Scorpion's Tail (1971), All the Colors of the Dark (1972), Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972), Torso (1973)

38. Ken Russell

Director | The Devils

Ken Russell tried several professions, before choosing to become a film director. He was a still photographer, a dancer and even served in the army, but it was film that was to be Mr. Russell's destiny. He began by making several short films, and those paved the way for his brilliant television ...

The Devils (1971), Altered States (1980), Crime of Passion (1984), Gothic (1986), The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

39. Andrzej Zulawski

Writer | Possession

Born in Lvov, Ukraine; then he moved with his father Miroslaw Zulawski to Czechoslovakia and later to Poland. In the late 1950s, he studied cinema in France. In the 1960s, he was an assistant of the famous Polish film director Andrzej Wajda. His feature debut Trzecia czesc nocy (1971) was an ...

The Third Part of the Night (1971), The Devil (1972), Possession (1981)

40. Bob Clark

Director | A Christmas Story

Bob Clark was born on August 5, 1939 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA as Benjamin Clark. He was a director and writer, known for A Christmas Story (1983), Porky's (1981) and Murder by Decree (1979). He died on April 4, 2007 in Pacific Palisades, California, USA.

Deathdream (1972), Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1973), Black Christmas (1974), Murder by Decree (1979)

41. Wes Craven

Writer | A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wes Craven has become synonymous with genre bending and innovative horror, challenging audiences with his bold vision.

Wesley Earl Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Caroline (Miller) and Paul Eugene Craven. He had a midwestern suburban upbringing. His first feature film was The Last House on ...

The Last House on the Left (1972), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Deadly Blessing (1981), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Deadly Friend (1986), The People Under the Stairs (1991), New Nightmare (1994), Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Red Eye (2005)

42. Umberto Lenzi

Director | Superseven chiama Cairo

Born in Massa Marittima, Italy on August 6, 1931, Umberto Lenzi was a movie enthusiast since his early grade school years. During those years, he founded various film fan clubs while studying law. Lenzi started out as a journalist for various local newspapers and magazines. Lenzi put off his law ...

The Man from Deep River (1972), Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972), Spasmo (1974), Eyeball (1975), Nightmare City (1980), Cannibal Ferox (1981)

43. Charles B. Pierce

Director | The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II

Charles Bryant Pierce was an independent filmmaker from Arkansas whose movies have become cult classics. Films that he wrote, directed, and/or produced were not only made in Arkansas with local actors but also drew their inspiration from Arkansas themes. He is believed to be the source of one of ...

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), The Evictors (1979), Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues (1985)

44. Gary Sherman

Producer | Missing Persons

Gary Sherman was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1945. He studied design and photography at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Sherman started out as a filmmaker by making music clips and short movies in the mid 60s which where early precursors to MTV music videos. While still a teenager Sherman ...

Death Line (1972), Dead & Buried (1981), Vice Squad (1982), Lisa (1990), 39: A Film by Carroll McKane (2006)

45. William Friedkin

Director | The French Connection

Friedkin's mother was an operating room nurse. His father was a merchant seaman, semi-pro softball player and ultimately sold clothes in a men's discount chain. Ultimately, his father never earned more than $50/week in his whole life and died indigent. Eventually young Will became infatuated with ...

The Exorcist (1973), Cruising (1980), Rampage (1987), The Guardian (1990), Bug (2006)

46. Larry Cohen

Writer | God Told Me To

Larry Cohen was born July 15, 1941, in Kingston, New York, a small town north of New York City. At a young age, his family moved to the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and he eventually majored in film at the historic City College of New York, graduating in 1963. An independent maverick who got his...

It's Alive (1974), God Told Me To (1976), Q: The Winged Serpent (1982), The Stuff (1985)

47. Tobe Hooper

Director | The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Honored with many awards for his films and achievement in the horror genre, Tobe Hooper is truly one of the Masters of Horror (2005).

Tobe Hooper was born in Austin, Texas, to Lois Belle (Crosby) and Norman William Ray Hooper, who owned a theater in San Angelo. He spent the 1960s as a college ...

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Eaten Alive (1977), Salem's Lot (1979), The Funhouse (1981), Poltergeist (1982), Lifeforce (1985), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

48. Peter Weir

Director | Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Peter Weir was born on August 21, 1944 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as Peter Lindsay Weir. He is a director and writer, known for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Witness (1985) and The Truman Show (1998). He has been married to Wendy Stites since 1966. They have two...

The Cars That Ate Paris (1974), Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), The Last Wave (1977), The Plumber (1979)

49. David Cronenberg

Director | The Fly

David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early...

They Came from Within (1975), Rabid (1977), The Brood (1979), Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983), The Dead Zone (1983), The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988), Naked Lunch (1991),

50. Joseph Zito

Director | Missing in Action

Joseph Zito is a well known action film director. Three of his movies--Missing in Action (1984), Invasion U.S.A. (1985) and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)--each reached the #1 box office position of top grossing film in the country in their opening weeks of U.S. theatrical release. "...

Abduction (1975), Bloodrage (1979), The Prowler (1981), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

51. John Carpenter

Writer | The Fog

John Howard Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York, to mother Milton Jean (Carter) and father Howard Ralph Carpenter. His family moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where his father, a professor, was head of the music department at Western Kentucky University. He attended Western Kentucky ...

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), The Thing (1982), Christine (1983), Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), Vampires (1998)

52. Richard Donner

Director | Superman

Richard Donner was born on April 24, 1930 in New York City, New York, USA as Richard D. Schwartzberg. He is a director and producer, known for Superman (1978), Ladyhawke (1985) and Lethal Weapon (1987). He has been married to Lauren Shuler Donner since November 27, 1986.

The Omen (1976), Two-Fisted Tales (1992)

53. William Fruet

Director | Death Weekend

William Fruet was born on January 1, 1933 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He is a director and writer, known for The House by the Lake (1976), Spasms (1983) and Code Name: Eternity (1999).

Death Weekend (1976), Funeral Home (1980), Baker County, U.S.A. (1982), Spasms (1983), Killer Party (1986), Blue Monkey (1987)

54. Ruggero Deodato

Director | Cannibal Holocaust

Ruggero Deodato was born on May 7, 1939, in Potenza, Italy, and grew up outside Rome. One of his close friends at the time was Renzo Rossellini, the son of famed Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Knowing Ruggerio's love for the movies, Renzo persuaded him to work as a second unit director on ...

Last Cannibal World (1977), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Cut and Run (1985), Body Count (1986)

55. David Lynch

Writer | Twin Peaks

Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...

Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), Twin Peaks (1990), Mulholland Drive (2001), Inland Empire (2006)

56. Joe Dante

Director | Innerspace

Joe Dante is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art. After a stint as a film reviewer, he began his filmmaking apprenticeship in 1974 as trailer editor for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. He made his directorial debut in 1976 with Hollywood Boulevard (co-directed with Allan Arkush), a ...

Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Matinee (1993), The Hole (2009)

57. Richard Franklin

Director | Hotel Sorrento

Writer, director and producer Richard Franklin was born on July 15, 1948 in Melbourne, Australia. Infatuated with cinema at an early age, Franklin first began making 8mm films at age 10. Franklin saw Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" two years later and was hooked on movies for life. Richard enrolled at ...

Patrick (1978), Road Games (1981), Psycho II (1983), Link (1986), Visitors (2003)

58. Don Coscarelli

Writer | Bubba Ho-Tep

In much the same way that director George A. Romero creative output has been primarily centered around the highly successful "Dead" series of zombie films, then fellow fantasy director Don Coscarelli has for over two decades seen his universe swirling around the lesser successful, but equally cult,...

Phantasm (1979), Phantasm II (1988), Survival Quest (1988), Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998), Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), John Dies at the End (2012)

59. Joe D'Amato

Director | Ator l'invincibile

Joe D'Amato was born Aristide Massaccesi on December 15, 1936, in Rome, Italy. At age 14 he began working for his father, a chief electrician and later the founder of the company A.C.M. By going to school in the daytime, Massaccesi worked afternoons part-time as a stagehand and stage cameraman ...

Beyond the Darkness (1979), Anthropophagus (1980), Absurd (1981)

60. Abel Ferrara

Director | Bad Lieutenant

Born in the Bronx, Ferrara started making amateur films on Super 8 in his teens before making his debut with violent exploitation films such as 'Driller Killer' and 'Ms.45'. Good reviews for the latter helped create his cult reputation, leading to larger budgets, studio funding and 'name' actors (...

Driller Killer (1979), Ms. 45 (1981), Fear City (1984), The Addiction (1995)

61. David Schmoeller

Writer | Little Monsters

Raised and educated in Texas, David Schmoeller began his career as a young playwright and was awarded the Texas Good Neighbor Scholarship for studies in Mexico, attending the Universidad De Las Americas from 1967-1968. In Mexico he studied theater with Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo (1970)) and was ...

Tourist Trap (1979), Crawlspace (1986), Puppet Master (1989),

62. Ridley Scott

Producer | The Martian

Ridley Scott was born on November 30, 1937 in South Shields, Tyne and Wear (then County Durham). His father was an officer in the Royal Engineers and the family followed him as his career posted him throughout the United Kingdom and Europe before they eventually returned to Teesside. Scott wanted ...

Alien (1979), Hannibal (2001), Prometheus (2012)

63. William Lustig

Actor | Army of Darkness

William Lustig was born on February 1, 1955 in Bronx, New York. During his teenage years, Lustig avidly watched a huge volume of lowdown trashy exploitation fare at numerous 42nd Street grind house theaters in Manhattan and also worked as a movie theater usher in Fort Lee, New Jersey. After ...

Maniac (1980), Maniac Cop (1988), Maniac Cop 2 (1990), Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (1993)

64. Paul Lynch

Director | More to Love

Paul Lynch was born on June 11, 1946 in Liverpool, England. He is known for his work on More to Love (1999), The Ray Bradbury Theater (1985) and Blood & Guts (1978).

Prom Night (1980), Humongous (1982), Blindside (1987), So Weird (1999-2001)

65. Lewis Teague

Director | Cujo

Extremely efficient and underrated director Lewis Teague was born on March 8th, 1938, in Brooklyn, NY. He apprenticed with director Sydney Pollack at Universal Television, and was a production manager on the landmark rock concert documentary Woodstock (1970).

Teague found gainful employment working ...

Alligator (1980), Cujo (1983), Cat's Eye (1985), The Triangle (2001)

66. John Landis

Director | The Blues Brothers

John Landis began his career in the mail room of 20th Century-Fox. A high-school dropout, 18-year-old Landis made his way to Yugoslavia to work as a production assistant on Kelly's Heroes (1970). Remaining in Europe, Landis found work as an actor, extra and stuntman in many of the Spanish/Italian "...

An American Werewolf in London (1981), Thriller (1983), Innocent Blood (1992), Burke and Hare (2010)

67. Steve Miner

Director | Warlock

Steve Miner has had a very popular career in making films and remains one of Hollywood's most prolific directors and has worked with a variety of stars that includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Leslie Nielsen, C. Thomas Howell, Tom Arnold, Rick Moranis, and Bill Pullman.

Before becoming a director, Miner ...

Friday the 13th Part II (1981), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), House (1986), Warlock (1989), Halloween H20 (1998), Lake Placid (1999)

68. Sam Raimi

Director | Spider-Man

Highly inventive U.S. film director/producer/writer/actor Sam Raimi first came to the attention of film fans with the savage, yet darkly humorous, low-budget horror film, The Evil Dead (1981). From his childhood, Raimi was a fan of the cinema and, before he was ten-years-old, he was out making ...

The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987), Army of Darkness (1993), A Simple Plan (1998), Drag Me to Hell (2009)

69. Frank Henenlotter

Director | Bad Biology

Writer/director Frank Henenlotter was born August 29, 1950, in New York City. He gleefully "misspent" his youth watching a large array of blithely cheap'n'cheesy low-budget exploitation flicks in various seedy grindhouse theaters on Mahattan's 42nd St. He began making 8mm films as a teenager. His ...

Basket Case (1982), Brain Damage (1988), Basket Case 2 (1990), Frankenhooker (1990), Bad Biology (2008)

70. Tom McLoughlin

Writer | Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI

Tom McLoughlin was born on July 19, 1950 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He is a writer and director, known for Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986), The Unsaid (2001) and She-Wolf of London (1990). He has been married to Nancy McLoughlin since July 2, 1983. They have two children.

One Dark Night (1982), Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives! (1986), Sometimes They Come Back (1991)

71. Jack Sholder

Director | The Hidden

Jack Sholder was born on June 8, 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a director and writer, known for The Hidden (1987), Renegades (1989) and Arachnid (2001).

Alone in the Dark (1982), A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), The Hidden (1987)

72. Brian Trenchard-Smith

Director | Drive Hard

Brian Trenchard-Smith is an Anglo Australian film and television director, producer, and writer, with a reputation for large scale movies on small scale budgets, many of which display a quirky sense of humor that has earned him a cult following. Quentin Tarantino referred to him in Entertainment ...

Turkey Shoot (1982), Dead End Drive-In (1986), Night of the Demons 2 (1994), Leprechaun 3 (1995), Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)

73. Neil Jordan

Writer | The Crying Game

Neil Jordan was born on February 25, 1950 in Sligo, Ireland. He is a writer and producer, known for The Crying Game (1992), Breakfast on Pluto (2005) and Michael Collins (1996). He has been married to Brenda Rawn since June 30, 2004. They have two children. He was previously married to Vivienne ...

The Company of Wolves (1984), Interview with a Vampire (1994), The Butcher Boy (1997), Byzantium (2013)

74. Lloyd Kaufman

Producer | Troma's War

Stanley Lloyd Kaufman never really wanted to make movies, but wanted to work in Broadway musicals. During his years in Yale, though, he got introduced to "B" pictures and the works of Roger Corman. Lloyd later got the opportunity to executive-produce a short movie made by a fellow student. The film...

The Toxic Avenger (1984), Class of Nuke 'em High (1986), Troma's War (1988), Tromeo and Juliet (1996), Terror Firmer (1999), Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part IV (2000), Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006), Return to Nuke 'em High (2014)

75. Stuart Gordon

Writer | Re-Animator

Stuart Gordon started his film directing career in 1985. After graduating from Lane Technical High School, Gordon worked as a commercial artist apprentice prior to enrolling at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Unable to get into the film classes, he enrolled in an acting class and ended up ...

Re-Animator (1985), From Beyond (1986), Dolls (1987), Castle Freak (1995), Dagon (2001), Stuck (2007)

76. Dan O'Bannon

Writer | Alien

Dan O'Bannon was inspired at an early age by EC Comics like Tales from the Crypt and old horror films that he saw in St. Louis. He even wrote a few stories for Heavy Metal magazine (which also showed up in the film).

O'Bannon got his start when he and John Carpenter collaborated on the cult sci-fi ...

Directed: Return of the Living Dead (1985), The Resurrected (1991)

Wrote: Alien (1979), Dead & Buried (1981), Heavy Metal (1981), Lifeforce (1985), Screamers (1995), Bleeders (1997)

77. Tom Holland

Writer | Fright Night

Tom Holland is an American director and screenwriter of horror and thriller films. His early writing projects include Class of 1984 (1982) and the Robert Bloch- inspired Psycho II (1983), the latter starring Anthony Perkins as the menacing psychopath, Norman Bates.

Tom gained more notoriety, however...

Directed: Fright Night (1985), Child's Play (1988), The Langoliers (1995), Thinner (1996)

Wrote: The Initiation of Sarah (1978), Class of 1984 (1982), Psycho II (1983), Scream for Help (1984)

78. John Carl Buechler

Special_effects | Hatchet

When he ran the make-up effects department at New World Pictures, Roger Corman called him "...the best in the business..." John Carl Buechler was born in Belleville, Illinois. An actor, writer, producer, director, special effects artist, he has always been in love with filmmaking. He was the first ...

Troll (1986), Cellar Dweller (1988), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

79. Fred Dekker

Writer | The Monster Squad

Writer/director Fred Dekker was born on April 9, 1959 in San Francisco, California. An avid comic book fan, monster movie buff, and film nerd from an early age, Dekker was rejected by both USC and UCLA film schools. He wound up attending UCLA as an English major instead. His fellow UCLA classmates ...

Night of the Creeps (1986), The Monster Squad (1987)

80. Peter Jackson

Producer | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies,...

Bad Taste (1986), Meet the Feebles (1989), Dead Alive (1992), The Frighteners (1996), King Kong (2005)

81. Michael A. Simpson

Producer | Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Michael A. Simpson is a producer and director, known for Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015), Hysteria (2011) and Crazy Heart (2009).

Funland (1986), Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988), Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989)

82. Kevin Tenney

Director | Witchboard

Independent writer/director Kevin S. Tenney was born in 1955 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He hails from a military family and grew up in Hawaii, Bermuda and California. Tenney made his first 8mm movie while in the sixth grade. He attended the University of Southern California. He's the first and only USC ...

Witchboard (1986), Night of the Demons (1988), The Cellar (1989), Witchboard 2: The Devil's Doorway (1993)

83. Clive Barker

Writer | Hellraiser

Clive Barker was born on October 5, 1952 in Liverpool, England. He is a writer and producer, known for Hellraiser (1987), Nightbreed (1990) and Candyman (1992).

Hellraiser (1987), Nightbreed (1990), Lord of Illusions (1995)

84. Kathryn Bigelow

Director | The Hurt Locker

A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be ...

Near Dark (1987), Strange Days (1995)

85. Jörg Buttgereit

Director | Schramm

Jörg Buttgereit was born on December 20, 1963 in Berlin, West Germany. He is a director and actor, known for Schramm (1993), Der Todesking (1990) and Nekromantik (1987).

NekroMantik (1987), The Death King (1990), NekroMantik 2 (1991), Schramm (1994)

86. Chuck Russell

Director | A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Chuck Russell was born on May 9, 1958 in Park Ridge, Illinois, USA. He is a director and producer, known for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), The Blob (1988) and The Mask (1994). He has been married to Ania Zeyne since November 29, 2007.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors (1987), The Blob (1988), Bless the Child (2000)

87. Michele Soavi

Director | Deliria

Born in Milan, Italy in 1957, Michele Soavi's parents separated when he was little and he lived with his mother who remarried a painter. Interested in his stepfather's interest in painting, Soavi began an interest in creative arts in his school. During his teenage years, he decided that the cinema ...

Stage Fright (1987), The Church (1989), The Sect (1991), Cemetery Man (1994)

88. Tim Burton

Producer | Edward Scissorhands

Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...

Beetlejuice (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Mars Attacks! (1996), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

89. Bernard Rose

Director | Candyman

Born on 4th August 1960, in London, England, Bernard Rose began his career by making super 8 films at the age of 9. The BBC had a amateur movie competition which he won in 1975, causing his 3 minute film to air on the BBC. He later worked for Jim Henson on the last season of The Muppet Show, as a ...

Paperhouse (1988), Candyman (1992), Snuff-Movie (2005)

90. Stan Winston

Special_effects | Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Stan Winston was born on April 7, 1946 in Richmond, Virginia, USA. He is known for his work on Terminator 2 (1991), Aliens (1986) and A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001). He was married to Karen Winston. He died on June 15, 2008 in Malibu, California, USA.

Pumpkinhead (1988), Ghosts (1997)

91. Mary Lambert

Director | Pet Sematary

Mary Lambert was born in 1951 in Helena, Arkansas, USA. She is known for her work on Pet Sematary (1989), The Blacklist (2013) and Madonna: Like a Prayer (1989). She is married to Jerome Gary.

Pet Sematary (1989), Pet Sematary II (1992), The Attic (2007)

92. Shin'ya Tsukamoto

Actor | Tetsuo

Shin'ya Tsukamoto was born on January 1, 1960 in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. He is an actor and director, known for Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989), Tokyo Fist (1995) and Vital (2004).

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), Hiruko the Goblin (1991), Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992), A Snake of June (2002), Nightmare Detective (2006)

93. Brian Yuzna

Director | The Dentist

Brian Yuzna is a producer and director, known for The Dentist (1996), Faust (2000) and Beyond Re-Animator (2003). He is married to Cathy Yuzna. They have four children.

Society (1989), Bride of Re-Animator (1989), Return of the Living Dead III (1993), The Dentist (1996), Progeny (1998)

94. E. Elias Merhige

Director | Shadow of the Vampire

E. Elias Merhige was born in 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He is a director and writer, known for Shadow of the Vampire (2000), Begotten (1990) and Suspect Zero (2004).

Begotten (1990), Shadow of the Vampire (2000), Suspect Zero (2004)

95. Philip Ridley

Writer | The Reflecting Skin

Philip was born in the East End of London where he still lives and works. He studied painting at St Martin's School of Art and has exhibited widely throughout Europe. As a novelist his credits include Crocodilia (1988), In The Eyes Of Mr. Fury (Penguin, 1989), Flamingoes In Orbit (Hamish Hamilton, ...

The Reflecting Skin (1990), The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995), Heartless (2009)

96. Richard Stanley

Writer | Hardware

Richard Stanley is the award-winning South African-born filmmaker, who made a name of himself with his first feature film, the sci-fi movie Hardware (1990). A low budget movie about a mad-dog android loose in an apartment was released in 1990. Critics slammed it as a Terminator rip-off, yet the ...

Hardware (1990), Dust Devil (1992), The Theatre Bizarre (2012)

97. Larry Fessenden

Actor | Habit

Larry Fessenden was born on March 23, 1963 in New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for Habit (1995), Wendigo (2001) and Stake Land (2010).

No Telling (1991), Habit (1995), Wendigo (2001), The Last Winter (2006), Beneath (2013)

98. Todd Haynes

Director | Far from Heaven

Todd Haynes was always interested in art, and made amateur movies and painted while he was still a child. He attended Brown university and majored in art and semiotics. After he graduated he moved to New York City and made the controversial short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988). ...

Poison (1991), Safe (1995)

99. Guillermo del Toro

Writer | El laberinto del fauno

Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...

Cronos (1993), Mimic (1997), The Devil's Backbone (2001), Blade II (2002), Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

100. Nacho Cerdà

Director | Genesis

Nacho Cerdà was born in Catalonia, Spain as Ignacio Cerdà. He is a director and producer, known for Genesis (1998), The Abandoned (2006) and Aftermath (1994).

Aftermath (1994), Genesis (1998), The Abandoned (2006)