Directors who have honed their craft in horror

Horror is often the starting point for many directors who deeply desire a career in film. The genre is one of the cheapest to make and the easiest to finance. It’s by far the highest-grossing film genre: a good chunk of low-budget horror films can return well over 200% of their initial investment. At the same time, the genre is perhaps the most difficult to master. Not only are most films limited by meager budgets, but the quality of a film is almost always determined by the filmmaker’s mastery of addressing our most primal emotions: fear. Unfortunately, many fall before the endless hurdles that stand in the way of making great films, but those who master these hurdles end up becoming incredibly talented and unique filmmakers who prove to major movie studios that their creative visions are worth investing hundreds of millions. dollars in.


Zack Snyder

The visionary director is one of the most popular and influential figures in the comic book movie genre, with an entire era of DC’s movie slate tagged by fans as the Snyderverse. With successes like 300, watchmen, Steel man, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justiceand Zack Snyder’s Justice League Zack Snyder earned the label of a successful director. Before becoming an iconic director, Snyder was a longtime commercial television director with a decade of experience, but he always dreamed of making the leap to filmmaking. Snyder finally got that chance and picked up an already-in-development remake of George A. Romeroit is dawn of the deadfrom a script written by james gunn. Snyder says he chose dawn of the dead because he had wanted to completely reinvent Romero’s original film and make it as serious and grounded in reality as possible. In pre-production, Snyder heavily scripted as much as it could, given the film’s budget. Through the manufacture of dawn of the dead, Snyder developed his cinematic language and how he would approach almost any film. Most of his comic book movies, like dawn of the dead, are entirely grounded and based in reality, and its iconic visual style is due to its tendency to script most of its films in pre-production.

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David F. Sandberg

David F. SandbergHollywood’s rise to successful filmmaking is one of Hollywood’s most inspiring and unique stories of the past decade. The self-taught director has become popular on YouTube for sharing homemade horror shorts. His horror shorts up to two minutes in length often included a simple yet deeply terrifying premise filmed entirely in one location with an actor. This level of low-budget filmmaking is as easy as it gets, and Sandberg is proof that nothing can limit pure creativity. After one of his horror shorts,Curfew,” went viral, many Hollywood agents got in touch with him. One of these officers, Lawrence Grayasked the filmmaker and producer James Wan to produce a feature version of the horror short. After initial hesitation, Wan agreed and Sandberg was given the green light to move forward. Sandberg discussed this process of transitioning from homemade horror to Hollywood feature filmmaking, saying he still uses the skills learned from DIY filmmaking extensively in his big-budget movies. Sandberg would then direct Annabelle: Creationa sequel to annabelle, which was critically acclaimed and extremely profitable, grossing $306.5 million. This critical and financial success in the horror genre gave Sandberg the opportunity to direct Shazam!

peter jackson

Before peter jackson wrote his name in Hollywood history creating one of the highest grossing and award-winning trilogies of all time, The Lord of the Rings, Jackson was once an amateur, but hungry director ready to prove his worth. In his hometown of Pukera Bay in Wellington, New Zealand, armed only with a 25-year-old film camera, a young Peter Jackson set out to make a 20-minute short film titled “Roast of the day“, which ultimately ballooned into the 92-minute feature Bad taste. Jackson worked full time, so the film was only shot on weekends for four years. With a budget of $25,000, nearly all of the props were handmade, and Jackson himself plays two different characters. The film is low-budget, and at one point would have been scrapped had it not been for a significant donation from the New Zealand Film Commission. Bad taste shown at film festivals and theaters around the world, becoming a cult classic and earning mostly positive reviews. After a series of low-budget horror films, Jackson proved himself worthy of being a Hollywood talent. Jackson would go on to direct Michael J. Fox in The scary ones, then afterwards would develop the legendary The Lord of the Rings saga.

Guillermo del Toro

Thanks to movies like Pan’s Labyrinth and The shape of water, Guillermo del Toro already has its name etched in horror history. The master of horror has become so legendary and iconic that his name is used directly in the Netflix title Cabinet of curiosities by Guillermo del Toro, but like any other filmmaker, he had to start somewhere. Del Toro worked as a makeup supervisor for about a decade, while producing and directing many episodes of the Mexican television show. Hora Marcada. This experience gave him the opportunity to Chronosa horror film that brought him international attention by winning the International Critics’ Week Award at Cannes in 1993. Immediately after, del Toro worked on his first Hollywood production with the horror film Imitatewhich was hampered by production issues caused by an infamous producer Harvey Weinstein. This terrible experience kept del Toro away from Hollywood for years. He returned to Mexico and made The Devil’s Backbone, which became an immediate classic that received rave reviews. The stunning success of this film gave del Toro the confidence to return to Hollywood and direct the blockbuster. Blade 2followed by Hellboytwo films that make extensive use of the filmmaker’s innate ability to mix horror elements with traditional blockbusters.

james gunn

It would be easy to assume james gunn was born to exist entirely within the comic book genre, given the director’s incredible success. The filmmaker has turned a cast of wondrous D-list characters into household names, making the guardians of the galaxy one of the most profitable franchises in the MCU, and thanks to Peacemaker and The Suicide Squad james Gunn is now co-head of DC Studios. This success makes it easy to forget that Gunn made his way into film through the horror genre. As mentioned earlier, James Gunn wrote a remake of dawn of the dead in which he collaborated with director Zack Snyder to make the project as grounded as possible. Gunn’s first film was the 2006 horror film Slide. Slide marks the first time Gunn has been able to fully capture his own vision of paper on screen, and it’s certainly clear that his distinct style found in later films shines in Slide. Gunn approached Slide not as a pure horror film, but as a comedy-horror. This mastery of effectively combining genres would become his distinct style in later films.

Scott Derrickson

Like Guillermo del Toro, Scott Derrickson is a well-known name in the horror genre with hits like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The black phoneand Claim. The filmmaker has enjoyed huge success in this genre and his films are widely considered to be among the scariest. The director used the talents he mastered in horror to bring a fresh perspective to the superhero genre in 2016 strange doctor. Derrickson had to use his horror roots to effectively frame concepts like magic, alternate dimensions, and a multidimensional villain bent on destroying the world in the MCU, who had previously tried to ground himself in reality. strange doctor feels different compared to other MCU movies, and that’s thanks to Derrickson’s horror past.

Sam Raimi

In the same way Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan, Sam Raimi is largely responsible for the dominance of the comic book genre in pop culture. His Spider Man The trilogy is still among the most popular films of the genre and the most beloved by fans. After a series of popular horror-comedy shorts that Raimi made with his childhood friend Bruce CampbellRaimi, with just $375,000, began production on his first feature film diabolical death. The film would be shot in one location with just a few actors, a common theme with low-budget horror. What separated diabolical death above all else was Raimi’s distinct visual style which gave the horror-comedy a unique and campy feel. The audience agreed, and The evil Dead grossed $29.4 million, a huge success. Raimi would use this distinct perspective and unique visual style to develop unique films in the 80s and 90s, with hits like army of darkness and Dead or alive. Raimi would then take Spider Man, who largely benefited from his campy tone. More recently, Raimi used his horror roots in this year’s film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnesswith a depiction of Scarlett Witch that could only have come from Sam Raimi’s nightmares.

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