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The Best Horror Directors in Film History

Updated January 19, 2021 16.1k votes 2.0k voters 79.7k views57 items

This list of the best horror directors in film history has ranked by the community as the absolute best in the genre. This list features the film industry’s best horror directors of all time and includes pictures and titles of their best horror films. Who are the absolute best horror directors in film history? The directors on this list have made some of the scariest, most frightening movies ever.

This list details the best horror directors in history and many of these directors have received numerous awards for their best work. The directors featured here are from all around the world and from different time periods in history. Many are still currently creating amazing films in the horror genre today.

This list features the film industry’s best horror directors and includes great directors like Wes Craven, Alfred Hitchcock, George A. Romero, David Lynch, David Argento, Mario Brava, John Carpenter, James Whale, and Terence Fisher, Roman Polanski.

Vote up the best horror film directors ever or add the director of scary horror movies you think is best, if he or she isn't already on the list.

You might also enjoy this list of action directors.

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  • 26
    172
    122

    William Peter Blatty

    The Ninth Configuration, The Exorcist III
    William Peter Blatty (January 7, 1928 – January 12, 2017) was an American writer and filmmaker...  more
  • 27
    114
    80

    F. W. Murnau

    Phantom, Desire
    Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (born Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe; December 28, 1888 – March 11, 1931)...  more
  • 28
    129
    86

    Hideo Nakata

    Ringu, Ringu 2
    Hideo Nakata (中田 秀夫, Nakata Hideo, born July 19, 1961) is a Japanese filmmaker....  more
  • 29
    139
    100

    Roger Corman

    A Bucket Of Blood, The Fall Of The House Of Usher
    Roger William Corman (born April 5, 1926) is an American director, producer, and actor. He has...  more
  • 30
    191
    160

    Roman Polanski

    Repulsion, The Tenant
    Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański (born 18 August 1933) is a French-Polish film director,...  more
  • 31
    206
    163

    Rob Zombie

    House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects
    Rob Zombie (born Robert Bartleh Cummings; January 12, 1965) is an American musician and...  more
  • 32
    128
    68

    Stuart Gordon

    Re-Animator, From Beyond
    Stuart Gordon (August 11, 1947 – March 24, 2020) was an American filmmaker, theatre director,...  more
  • 33
    129
    74

    Takashi Miike

    Audition, Ichi
    Takashi Miike (三池 崇史, Miike Takashi, born August 24, 1960) is a Japanese filmmaker. He has...  more
  • 34
    103
    52

    Dan O'Bannon

    The Return of the Living Dead, The Resurrected
    Return of the Living Dead, The Resurrected,
    Daniel Thomas O'Bannon (September 30, 1946 – December 17, 2009) was an American film...  more
  • 35
    73
    78

    Jacques Tourneur

    Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie
    Jacques Tourneur (French: [tuʁnœʁ]; November 12, 1904 – December 19, 1977) was a French film...  more
  • 36
    139
    93

    John Landis

    An American Werewolf in London, Into the Night
    John David Landis (; born August 3, 1950) is an American film director, comedian,...  more
  • 37
    60
    63

    Robert Wiene

    Fear, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    Robert Wiene (German: [ˈviːnə]; 27 April 1873 – 17 July 1938) was a film director of the...  more
  • 38
    70
    82

    Fritz Lang

    The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse
    Friedrich Christian Anton "Fritz" Lang (December 5, 1890 – August 2, 1976) was an...  more
  • 39
    172
    134

    Eli Roth

    Cabin Fever, Hostel
    Eli Raphael Roth (born April 18, 1972) is an American film director, producer, writer, and...  more
  • 40
    77
    47

    Mike Flanagan

    Oculus, Absentia
    Mike Flanagan is a film director, editor, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, film score...  more
  • 41
    108
    77

    Takashi Shimizu

    The Grudge, Ju-On: The Curse
    Takashi Shimizu (清水 崇 Shimizu Takashi, born 27 July 1972) is a Japanese filmmaker. He is best...  more
  • 42
    41
    66

    Robert Aldrich

    The Dirty Dozen, The Longest Yard
    Robert Burgess Aldrich (August 9, 1918 – December 5, 1983) was an American film director,...  more
  • 43
    82
    66

    Alexandre Aja

    The Hills Have Eyes, High Tension
    Alexandre Jouan-Arcady, known professionally as Alexandre Aja, (French: [alɛksɑ̃dʁ aʒa]; born...  more
  • 44
    11
    2

    Ari Astor

  • 45
    67
    79

    Ruggero Deodato

    Jungle Holocaust, Cannibal Holocaust
    Ruggero Deodato (born 7 May 1939) is an Italian film director, and has also performed as both...  more
  • 46
    75
    94

    Leigh Whannell

    Insidious 3, Upgrade
    Leigh Whannell (born 17 January 1977) is an Australian screenwriter, producer, director, and...  more
  • 47
    4
    4

    Neil Marshall

    Descent, Doomsday
    Neil Marshall (born 25 May 1970) is an English film director, editor and screenwriter....  more
  • 48
    4
    4

    Andy Muschietti

  • 49
    56
    84

    Michael Haneke

    Funny Games, Hidden
    Michael Haneke (German: [ˈhaːnəkə]; born 23 March 1942) is an Austrian film director and...  more
  • 50
    14
    66

    Carlos Enrique Taboada

    Poison for the Fairies, Poison for the Fairies
    Veneno para las hadasHasta el viento tiene miedoEl libro de piedraMás negro que la noche 
    Carlos Enrique Taboada was a screenwriter, film producer and film director....  more