Horror movies delight us, they frighten us, and they fill theatres with anxious and dedicated fans. However, they seldom get any love from the Oscars and the erudite Hollywood set.
It’s no surprise then that many horror movie directors are not household names.
Sure, a few directors like M. Night Shyamalan break through, but typically it is because they create the rare crossover suspense hit, like 1999s “The Sixth Sense” that cemented him in the pantheon of directors whose names we all know.
The list below features directors or movies you have heard of or maybe seen multiple times, but who continue to work their craft in relative obscurity.
Ben Wheatley specializes in movies that mix genres, with the overall effect of completely unsettling the viewing crowd. His initial breakthrough movie “Down Terrace” masqueraded as a crime family drama, but left viewers as creeped out and panicked as if they’d viewed a horror flick.
Wheatley’s purest horror movie was 2011’s “Kill List.” Like “Down Terrace,” the plot seems an ordinary suspense drama, featuring a hitman looking for a final big job. The viewer is drawn into increasing and unsettling unreality as the main character discovers he’s lost his way and stumbled into the gates of his personal hell.
“Aeon Flux,” “Girlfight,” and “Jennifer’s Body” might not be the first movies that come to your mind when planning a night of terror with friends, but maybe they should. Director Karyn Kusama takes a genre that typically features women as helpless victims and elevates the terrors and insecurities of everyday life to extreme heights.
In 2015, her movie “The Invitation” expanded her investigation of social themes and the horror genre, and create an uneasiness in the viewer that is rewarding and thought-provoking.
Okay, maybe you actually have heard of Gore Verbinski. His fame, however, came from his production of his spectacular flop of a movie, the Lone Ranger.
But did you know that he directed the successful re-imagining of “The Ring”? That’s right, the guy who failed to bring the Lone Ranger back to life is ALSO the guy who successfully reinvigorated the TV-as-villain thriller and resuscitated that franchise. Perfectly timed jump scares, unsettling camera angles, and pulse-pounding suspense will make you be sure to have friends over and stay up late together, rather than be alone with your television.