Masters of Horror and Suspense

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1.
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 Eileen Hitchcock (born 1892)...
 
2.
Mario Bava
Cinematographer, A Bay of Blood
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 photography...
 
3.
Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947, at the Maine General Hospital in Portland. His parents were Nellie Ruth (Pillsbury), who worked as a caregiver at a mental institute, and Donald Edwin King, a merchant seaman. His father was born under the surname "Pollock", but used the last name "King"...
 
4.
John Carpenter
Writer, Halloween
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 University and then USC film school in Los Angeles...
 
5.
Wes Craven
Director, Scream
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 Left, which he wrote...
 
6.
Tobe Hooper
Honored with many awards for his films and achievement in the horror genre, Tobe Hooper is truly one of the Masters of Horror. Before becoming a filmmaker, Hooper--a native of Austin, TX--spent the 1960s as a college teacher and documentary cameraman. He organized a small cast of teachers and students and made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre...
 
7.
George A. Romero
George A. Romero never set out to become a Hollywood figure; however, by all indications, he was very successful. The helmer of the groundbreaking "Living Dead" films was born February 4, 1940 in New York City, New York, to a Cuban father and a Lithuanian-American mother. He grew up in NY, until attending the renowned Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...
 
8.
Dario Argento
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 family members...
 
9.
Lucio Fulci
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 his early career as a med student...
 
10.
Sean S. Cunningham
Producer, Friday the 13th
Like William Girdler, Oliver Hellman or even Ed Wood, Sean S. Cunningham had a successful career of starting films cheap and fast. Originally from New York, Cunningham had a vast knowledge of directing films and came to Hollywood. He started about the same time Wes Craven did. Cunningham meets Craven and decided to make a comedy-romance film called Together...
 
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13.
Sergio Martino
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 noted director Gennaro Righelli...
 
14.
Ruggero Deodato
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 some of his father's productions...
 
15.
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 majoring in theater...
 
16.
Brian De Palma
Director, Scarface
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 and his voyeuristic style. Restlessly he worked on big projects with the script writers Paul Schrader...
 
17.
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. In his filmmaking career, del Toro has alternated between Spanish-language dark fantasy pieces, such as the gothic horror film The Devil's Backbone (2001), and Pan's Labyrinth (2006), and more mainstream American action movies...
 
18.
Juan Piquer Simón
Juan Piquer Simon (who goes by "J.P. Simon" on foreign releases) resides in Madrid, Spain, where he has produced and directed "exploitation" pictures for two decades running. He owns his own studio and creates and/or designs many of the impressive special effects sequences you see in any of his many imaginative undertakings...
 
19.
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 and the Robert Bloch- inspired Psycho II, the latter starring Anthony Perkins as the menacing psychopath, Norman Bates. Tom gained more notoriety, however, as a director...
 
21.
Charles Band
Producer, Blood Dolls
The son of filmmaker Albert Band, Charles Band followed in his father's shoes. After several years as an independent filmmaker, he started Empire Pictures in the mid-'80s. That company collapsed due to the falling Italian currency--the company's studio was headquartered in Italy--Band established Full Moon Pictures...
 
22.
Joe Dante
Director, Gremlins
Joseph Dante Jr. was born on November 28, 1946 in Morristown, New Jersey, and raised in the nearby borough of Parsippany. His father was a professional golf players and his father wrote some books on the instructions of playing golf some of which included Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf, and Stop that Slice...
 
23.
John Landis
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. Remaining in Europe, Landis found work as an actor, extra and stuntman in many of the Spanish/Italian "spaghetti" westerns...
 
24.
Bruno Mattei
Born in 1931, Bruno Mattei grew up in Rome, Italy, where his father owned a small film editing studio. At age 20 Bruno started working odd jobs at his father's company as his assistant, then went on to other small spots. He wanted to follow in his father's footsteps as a film editor, and soon found himself working as an editor for a number of directors...
 
26.
Sam Raimi
Writer, Spider-Man 3
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. From his childhood, Raimi was a fan of the cinema and, before he was ten-years-old, he was out making movies with an 8mm camera...
 
27.
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 gofer...
 
30.
Michele Soavi
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 was his true calling after attending several movie screenings and developing a taste for acting...
 
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Tom Savini
Pittsburgh-born actor/SFX wizard/stuntman/director Tom Savini did a tour of duty as a combat cameraman in Vietnam, and has since acquired a remarkable cult following among film fans, primarily due to his ground-breaking SFX in the "splatter movie" explosion of the early 1980s. Along with fellow special make-up legends Dick Smith and Rob Bottin...
 
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William Lustig
Producer, Maniac
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 graduating from high school, he took a few film classes at New York University...
 
36.
Rob Zombie
Soundtrack, The Matrix
Robert Bartleh Cummings, more famously known as Rob Zombie, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts on January 12, 1965. He is the oldest son of Louise and Robert Cummings, and has a younger brother, Michael David (aka Spider One; b. 1968), who is the lead singer of Powerman 5000. Growing up, Zombie loved horror movies...
 
37.
Eli Roth
Producer, Grindhouse
Eli Raphael Roth was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Cora (Bialis), a painter, and Sheldon H. Roth, a psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and clinical professor. His family is Jewish (from Austria, Hungary, Russia, and Poland). He began shooting Super 8 films at the age of eight, after watching Ridley Scott's Alien and vomiting...
 
38.
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 film Dark Star...
 
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Lamberto Bava
Director, Demons
Lamberto Bava was born in Rome, Italy, and was the first of a third generation of Italian filmmakers. His grandfather, Eugenio Bava (1886-1966), was a cameraman and optics effects artist during the early days of Italian silent cinema. His father, Mario Bava (1914-1980), was a legendary cinematographer...
 
41.
Umberto Lenzi
Director, Cannibal Ferox
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 studies to pursue the technical arts of filmmaking at the Centro Sperimentale de Cinematografia...
 
43.
Joe D'Amato
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 around various film sets...
 
44.
Herschell Gordon Lewis
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, and voicing radio and television commercials...
 
46.
Joseph Zito
Producer, Lahzat harega
Joseph Zito is a well known action film director. Three of his movies--Missing in Action, Invasion U.S.A. and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter--each reached the #1 box office position of top grossing film in the country in their opening weeks of U.S. theatrical release. "Missing in Action" is Chuck Norris' most successful movie and...
 
47.
Claudio Argento
Claudio Argento, the second born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento, was born in 1943 and, after finishing grade school and college studies in the late 1960s, started his film career as an employee with a few Italian film distribution companies. Within a short time, he was made chief of the Press and Publicity department of the CIC (Cinema International Corporation)...
 
48.
Jesús Franco
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 (under the pseudonym David Khume)...
 
49.
Steve Miner
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...
 
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Larry Cohen
Writer, Phone Booth
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 start in studio-based television...
 
52.
Renny Harlin
Director, Die Hard 2
Born in 15 March 1959 as Renny Lauri Mauritz Harjola, he is the most successful Finnish film director in the history of Hollywood. Harlin started his career in film business in the beginning of 1980s when he was directing commercials and company films for companies like Shell. Later he worked as a buyer for Finnish film distributor and met Finnish Markus Selin in Los Angeles...
 
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Mick Garris
Writer, Hocus Pocus
Born in Santa Monica, California, on December 4, 1951, Mick Garris grew up with his mother in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Van Nuys from age 12, following his parents' divorce. Garris was making his own 8mm home movies around that time, and when he got older be became a freelance critic for a number of film and music celebrities...
 
57.
Jeff Lieberman
Writer-director Jeff Lieberman has crafted a handful of highly quirky, creative, and distinctive horror movies that are much enjoyed and appreciated by fans of offbeat and imaginative fright-film fare. His pictures are distinguished by their novel oddball plots and an amusingly eccentric sense of off-center humor...
 
58.
William Friedkin
Director, The Exorcist
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 Orson Welles after seeing Citizen Kane...
 
59.
James Wan
Producer, The Conjuring 2
James Wan (born 27 February 1977) is an Australian film producer, screenwriter and film director of Malaysian Chinese descent. He is widely known for directing the horror film Saw and creating Billy the puppet. Wan has also directed Dead Silence, Death Sentence, Insidious, The Conjuring and Furious 7...
 
60.
Stanley Kubrick
Director, The Shining
Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would produce better academic performance...
 
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Paco Plaza
Director, [Rec]
 
63.
Dardano Sacchetti
Writer, Demons
Dardano Sacchetti was born in Rome, Italy in 1944. At an early age, he became a film buff in watching several American horror film imports into his native Italy first with Them! (1954). By age 16, his favourite film was My Life to Live. In 1966, Sacchetti became friends with a group of young people in a local theater troupe and toured with them around Italy acting and writing plays for their acts...
 
65.
Richard Franklin
Director, Psycho II
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 Monash...
 
66.
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 was a journalist, and his mother was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early age (he wrote and published eerie short stories, thus following his father's path) and for music (playing classical guitar until he was 12)...
 
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Ovidio G. Assonitis
Producer, Beyond the Door
Ovidio Assonitis, an independent film producer and businessman with over 35 years experience in the industry, was born to Greek citizens living in Alexandria, Egypt. Assonitis began an extensive distribution network company catering to the Southeast Asia market in the mid-'60s and in a ten-year period distributed more than 900 films from offices in Thailand...
 
71.
Takashi Miike
Takashi Miike was born in the small town of Yao on the outskirts of Osaka, Japan. His main interest growing up was motorbikes, and for a while he harbored ambitions to race professionally. At the age of 18 he went to study at the film school in Yokohama founded by renowned director Shôhei Imamura, primarily because there were no entrance exams...
 
72.
David Fincher
Director, Fight Club
David Fincher was born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in Marin County, California. When he was 18 years old he went to work for John Korty at Korty Films in Mill Valley. He subsequently worked at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) from 1981-1983. Fincher left ILM to direct TV commercials and music videos after signing with N...
 
73.
Gary Sherman
Producer, Poltergeist III
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 worked...
 
74.
Anthony Hickox
Director, Waxwork
Anthony (Tony), started as a club promoter in London in the early eighties and financed his first short 'rock-a-bye baby' by holding an event at Le'quipe Anglaise, where all the door money went to finance the film. In fact, when it was finished it was the clubs owner Shariffi who showed it to producer Micheal White (Rocky horror show) who was so impressed...
 
75.
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, and much loved "Phantasm" series of horror movies...
 
76.
Peter Jackson
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, which he made with his friends...
 
77.
Robert Rodriguez
Producer, Grindhouse
Robert Anthony Rodriguez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, USA, to Rebecca (Villegas), a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. His family is of Mexican descent. Of all the people to be amazed by the images of John Carpenter's 1981 sci-fi parable, Escape from New York, none were as captivated as the 12-year-old Rodriguez...
 
78.
Silvio Narizzano
Director, Georgy Girl
Of Italian-American ancestry, Narizzano was educated at Bishop's University, Quebec. His first theatrical work was with the Mountain Playhouse in Montreal, before joining the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as assistant to Norman Jewison, Arthur Hiller, Sidney J. Furie and Ted Kotcheff. From the mid-1950's...
 
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