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The Best Horror Directors in Film History

Updated January 19, 2021 16.3k votes 2.0k voters 80.3k 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.

  • 51

    Shinya Tsukamoto

    Ichi the Killer, Tetsuo: The Iron Man

    BirthplaceShibuya, Tokyo, Japan


    Shinya Tsukamoto (塚本 晋也, Tsukamoto Shin'ya, born January 1, 1960) is a Japanese film director and actor with a considerable cult following both domestically and abroad, best known for the his Tetsuo...  more
  • 52

    Georges Franju

    Eyes Without a Face, The Moment of Peace

    BirthplaceFougères, France

    AgeDec. at 75 (1912-1987)

    Georges Franju (French: [fʁɑ̃ʒy]; 12 April 1912 – 5 November 1987) was a French filmmaker. He was born in Fougères, Ille-et-Vilaine....  more
  • 53

    Kiyoshi Kurosawa

    Séance, The Cure

    BirthplaceKobe, Keihanshin, Japan


    Kiyoshi Kurosawa (黒沢 清, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, born July 19, 1955) is a Japanese film director, screenwriter, film critic and a professor at Tokyo University of the Arts. Although he has worked in a...  more
  • 54

    Lucky McKee

    May, The Woods

    BirthplaceUSA, Jenny Lind, California


    Edward Lucky McKee (born November 1, 1975) is an American director, writer, and actor, largely known for the 2002 cult film May....  more
  • 55

    Kathryn Bigelow

    The Hurt Locker, Point Break

    BirthplaceSan Carlos, California, United States of America


    Near Dark
    Kathryn Ann Bigelow (; born November 27, 1951) is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. Covering a wide range of genres, her films include Near Dark (1987), Point Break (1991),...  more
  • 56

    Jesús Franco

    Gritos en la Noche, Eugenie

    BirthplaceMadrid, Spain

    AgeDec. at 83 (1930-2013)

    Jesús Franco (born Jesús Franco Manera; 12 May 1930 – 2 April 2013) was a Spanish filmmaker, composer, and actor, best known for his stylish exploitation films, directing around 160 feature films. ...  more
  • 57

    Sion Sono

    Love Exposure, Suicide Club

    BirthplaceToyokawa, Japan


    Sion Sono (園 子温, Sono Shion, born December 18, 1961) is a Japanese filmmaker, author, and poet. Best known on the festival circuit for the film Love Exposure (2008), he has been called "the most...  more