Best Halloween Movie Directors
Halloween could stand on it's own as a scary holiday but it would be no fun without some scary movies!! Some of the best horror movies and films that are associated with Halloween have come from the same directors.
Below is a list of some of the best Halloween movie directors. They have all influenced and left a mark, or should I say scar, on the genre. Four of the five are still alive and making films! Under each description of the director I have also listed a number of their most recognizable and genre changing movies.
Hope you enjoy! Happy Halloween!
George Romero the famous director of the first true zombie film Night of the Living Dead , and father of Hollywood zombies had to make the list. George Andrew Romero was born on February 4, 1940 in New York City, New York. He went to Carnegie-Mellon University and has directed 19 films to this date but also writes and produces. His Night of the Living Dead and other films has spun off a whole new branch of the horror genera involving the living dead. You could probably even connect AMC’s new show The Walking Dead to the inspiration and pure exposure to a George Romero film.
- Night of the Living Dead (1968) The horror film classic introduced the world to a new form of zombie, one that is still used as a definition today. This film was shocking and new when it came out. It has resulted in long series of spin off, sequels and remakes. It starred Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea and Karl Hardman.
- The Crazies (1973) this film starring Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan and Harold Wayne scared audiences with the idea of a manmade disease used by our government for biological war fare. The movie was recently remade in 2010 under the same name starring Timothy Olyphant.
- Dawn of the Dead (1978) revived the zombie genre since his first film Night of the Living Dead. This film starring David Emge, Scott H. Reiniger and Ken Foree follow a group of people fighting to survive the ever growing numbers of zombies while held up in a shopping mall. This film has also been recently remade in 2004.
- Day of the Dead (1985) carrying on with the zombie theme is the next movie starring Lori Cardille, Joseph Pilato and Terry Alexander. This film is about a group of military that are held up in a bunker while zombies roam on the surface above them. Although a movie of the same name was made in 2008 it is not an exact remake.
What would Halloween be like in Hollywood without John Carpenter, one of the most acclaimed directors and writers in the Horror genre?His inventions of characters like Mike Myers have become in part of the very identification of modern day Halloween.John Howard Carpenter was born on January 16, 1948 in Carthage, New York.His family then moved to Kentucky where he attended college at Western Kentucky University.After attending school in Kentucky he went to the USC Film School in Los Angeles.Since the 1960’s Carpenter has directed 28 films but has produced, written, and even starred in many more.With his continued horror hits of the 1970’s till present, he has become one of the ultimate directors of horror.His film Halloween (1978) is the epitome of a Halloween horror film.
- Halloween (1978)- Starred Jamie Lee Curtis, introduced the character Mike Myers and has spun a number of sequels and spin offs.
- The Fog (1980)- starred mother/daughter actresses Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh and has been remade in 2005.
- The Thing (1982)- Starred Kurt Russell which dives into alien terror in the isolation of theAntarctic.A remake is coming out this month (October 2011).
- Christine (1983)- Starred Keith Gordon and Alexandra Paul, was based off a Stephen King novel.
If anyone gives John Carpenter a run for director associated with Halloween it is Wes Craven. Wesley Earl Craven was born on August 2, 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio. I have heard that he had grown up in a religious house that viewed television and movies as evil, kind of ironic when you see what he has produced. Wes Craven has redefined the horror genera a number of times over decades directing 29 films, producing, and writing many more. His most notable films include Nightmare on Elm Street which made viewers afraid to go to sleep not because they were afraid of what they would see but they were afraid of what would get them in their dreams. Then of course more recently his complete reinvention of the genre with Scream, which was the first horror film to recognize the rules and patterns of all past horror movies yet still produce something scary and cutting edge, a very post modern film in its own right.
- Last House on the Left (1972)- His first film and also his first hit, starred Sandra Peabody and Lucy Grantham, followed the retaliation by parents after their daughter is raped and almost killed. This shocking film launched Craven’s name in the industry and disturbed many. The film was recently remade in 2009.
- The Hills Have Eyes (1977)- Starred Susan Lanier, Robert Houston and John Steadman. This film shocked audiences and resulted in a sequel The Hills Have Eyes part II (1985) as well as two remakes The Hills Have Eyes (2006) and the Hills Have Eyes II (2007).
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)- One of his most well known films starred Heather Langenkamp and Johnny Depp. The film opened the door to the scary thought that dreams can kill and resulted in numerous sequels and even remakes. This film is one of the defining horror films of the 1980’s.
- Scream (1996) If it wasn’t enough to redefine the industry with Nightmare on Elm Street Craven did it again in the movie scream. This film starred a number of upcoming actors including Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette. It blew all the old patterns of horror films out of the water and resulted in three sequels and numerous parodies.
One of the first directors to scare movie audiences was Alfred Hitchcock and he did it in brilliant ways! Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born on August 13, 1899 in Leytonstone, London, England. He died at the age of 80 on April 29, 1980 in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California. He directed over 67 films and worked with some of Hollywood’s greatest actors and actresses of all time. His films are still considered classics even today and films like Psycho still scare first time viewers.
- Dial M for Murder (1954) starred the beautiful Grace Kelly and followed a murder planned by a husband to kill his wife, although not a horror movie per say by still a great thriller and great Halloween movie.
- Psycho (1960)- If people don’t know who Hitchcock is they do know about the movie Psycho. A perfect Halloween movie and thriller starred Janet Leigh and the very talented yet creepy Anthony Perkins. This film shocked audiences and was filmed amazingly. A must watch during the Halloween season!
- The Birds (1964) this film starring Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor is another famous Hitchcock film and will have you scared of the birds outside your window. This whole film has not one musical score; the only noise other than the actors is the noise of birds. Even without the help of a musical score, this film scares you just a bit!
Tim Burton has to be the most creative of Halloween directors. His films, although dark, are truly beautiful. His use of darkness and light brings a sense of fantasy to everything he does but also a sense of depth. His films are unique and perfect for the Halloween season. Timothy William Burton was born on August 25, 1958 in Burbank, California. He has a unique way of drawing cartoons that led him to his career as a movie director, writer and producer. One movie that doesn’t make the list out of technicality is the film Nightmare before Christmas which is a token Halloween movie. This movie doesn’t make the list because it is one that he produced and did not direct, although his influence is greatly visible. Tim Burton has directed 28 films, which includes two current in production films, but also includes cult classics, blockbusters, and musicals.
- Beetljuice (1988) this cult classic stars Alec Baldwin, Genna Davis and Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice. The dark comedy is a great Halloween film about a ghostly couple trying to reclaim their home. I grew up watching this film and truly enjoy it, even today.
- Batman (1989) this film was the first Batman movie Tim Burton directed, starring Michael Keaton as batman, it was a darker reinvention of the campy Batman series starring Adam West. With so many kids dressed as Batman what better movie to watch near Halloween!
- Edward Scissorhands (1990) An instant classic starring Johnny Depp and Vincent Price follows the story of a Frankenstein like man with hands made of scissors and knives. This film was huge in the early 1990’s and still is today, it’s a modern day Frankenstein but a tad bit deeper, darker, and romantic.
- Sleepy Hollow (1999) what would Halloween be without a telling of the classic American short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Tim Burton did an excellent job at giving the short story depth and darkness. The dark , rich colors of this film against the splattered red blood make this film great. As the promo and trailers called for “heads will roll”!
- Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) this film starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter is a musical of blood and revenge. Typical of Burton’s films it has plenty of darkness and plenty of blood. A great movie for Halloween.
Who is your Favorite Halloween Director?
My other hubs on Halloween Movies!
- Headless Horsemen, Masked Killers, and the Paranormal: The Best Halloween Movies for Everyone
Some movie suggestions for everyone during the Halloween/fall season. Includes horror/suspense/comedy movies.
- Classic Halloween Movies
A brief explanation for my list of classic halloween movies.
- Ghosts, Zombies, Witches, and crazy people: Revolutionary Halloween Films
A look at some revolutionary halloween movies and why they changed the genre.
- The Halloween Workout: It will make you Drop Dead!
The Halloween Work combines common themes from the holiday into a workout you won't forget!