Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

10 Awesome Directors Of Cult Horror Films

by  |  May 28th, 2013  |  Blog

A scene from Mountaintop Motel Massacre.

For all you gore fans out there, I got to thinking recently about horror movies, and some of the lesser known horror movies out there.  Oh don’t get me wrong, they are not bad movies, but for whatever reason they have been forgotten to the test of time!

With said, I also got to thinking about some of these directors that I would say have definitely been forgotten to the test of time… Rather they be, because their work, or they, themselves are lesser known, or literally at this point are seldom ever thought about!  An example of this would be, Scott Spiegel…

Now everyone knows about Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell, and Ted Raimi… I mean they have proven to be a great group, with the all of them having done such movies and TV series as , The Evil Dead (1981) and the TV series, Hercules: The Legendary Journey.

Did you know though that within the Raimi/Campbell/Tapert group that Scott Spiegel is a member of that group?  That’s right folks, even though he is lesser known, not only is he a legitimate member of that group, but in the late 1980s there was a little known gem of movie called, Intruder (1989) which had everyone of them in it (except Robert Tapert).

With that said, Mr. Spiegel is a good example of a lesser known oft times forgotten Horror movie director.

With that said folks, here is my list of top 10 Lesser Known Horror Movie Directors:

At number 10 we got: F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu):

F.W. Murnau

Everyone knows Universal’s Dracula (1931).  A lot of people I am sure probably think that this movie is even the first movie on Vampires… Well I am here to tell you that, that is not the case!  That movie is not the first Vampire movie, or even the first Dracula movie.  The director that I wanted to mention here is F.W. Murnau, and his work on creating legitimately the first movie on Bram Stoker’s, ‘Dracula’ and that movie is Noseferatu (1922).

At Number 9 we got: Peter Rader (Grandma’s House)

Peter Rader

Now I know that number 9 sounds bad for a director of a horror movie… Don’t worry, I actually did really like the job that Mr. Rader did on Grandma’s House, but besides that I have not seen any of his other directorial work.  Although I did like the job that he did on writing the Kevin Costner movie Waterworld (1995).

With that said though, I am looking forward to more of his work in the future…

Until then, enjoy this trailer for the movie, Grandma’s House (1989) directed by Peter Rader:

At number 8 we got: Charles Band (Head Of The Family)

Charles Band.

Now you might think that it is rather odd, me recommending a director for a movie called, Head Of the Family (1996).  But the truth is, is this is rather a brilliant horror movie, about a guy who black mails an incredibly rich and reclusive family that literally can’t live with out each other! What I mean by this is that each sibling in this family has a specific sense that work together to complete one complete experience for the ‘Head’ of the family, (and you can take this to be mostly literal as the head of the family mostly is a head!)

With that said, Mr. Band has roughly 319 horror movie credits to his resume, (give or take any films that he worked on in multiple capacities.)

This one I thought that I would recommend, because it is a great forgotten classic that I thought that I would mention, because I personally loved how he created both as the director and one of the writers of this piece, an atmosphere, in which you could have siblings psychically linked together and controlled by another sibling!

With that said, please enjoy the trailer for the classic, Head Of The Family (1996)

For number 7: Kevin Yagher (Hellraiser: Bloodline)

Kevin Yagher, who did special effects for, Child’s Play (1988) with a Chucky Doll.

Again I have to admit that this guy only got number 7 because he doesn’t have many directorial credits to his name (with the fact that mostly he is known for his special effects on movies.)

With that said though he did do a movies that was universally disliked when it first got released, as a matter of fact, Alan Smithee is credited for having made this movie…

Now before I continue on, let me just say that when ever a Director directs a movie under the pseudonym of ‘Alan Smithee’.  It is the recognized way that directors have for not attaching their name to a project when they are not satisfied with how they’re movie turned out…

With that said, the movie that he did that I am mentioning here is: Hellraiser: Bloodline.

Now I don’t know why Mr. Yagher decided to use the ‘Alan Smithee’ moniker for this movie.  I personally liked how he made this movie in to separate stories, that showed the history of the Hellraiser box, (This movie happens to be the 3rd sequel in Clive Barker’s highly successful, Hellraiser franchise.)

With that said, I thought that you might enjoy the trailer for Hellraiser: Bloodline:

At number 6 we got: Byron Werner (Starkweather):

Byron Werner

Now admittedly this director is quite a bit newer then the directors that I have mentioned so far.  But I would like to acknowledge him as a great lesser known horror movie director for the work that he did on Death Valley: The Revenge Of Bloody Bill.

For more information on Death Valley: The Legend Of Bloody Bill, please enjoy this trailer for the movie:

At number 5: Ken Wiederhorn (Shockwaves)

Unfortunately, Shockwaves happens to be the only movie that I have seen of his, (an over-site that I intend to rectify.)  But never the less, I am putting Mr. Wierderhorn on this list because, being a fan of Zombies as well as World War 2 history and having never really heard of his name before seeing this movie.  I found that he did a great job in creating almost an air of historical significance to the piece, while still developing the characters and story well enough that through out the whole movie I was hoping that they would all escape!

I mean, you never know… Considering the Nazi attrocities… You know…

For more information on this movie, please enjoy this trailer for the movie, Shockwaves (1977).

For number 4: Victor Halperin (Revolt Of The Zombies)

Let me preface what I am about to say, with this: the movie that I am about to mention for the reason why I think  that Victor Halperin, is a little bit more well known, but besides this movie, I doubt a lot of people really know this guys body of work…

With that said, the movie that I am going to be mentioning here is: White Zombie (1932)

I can’t really describe here in words why I like the work that Mr. Halperin did in White Zombie, except to say that I loved this movie, and I thought that Mr. Halperin did just a truly fantastic job on it and since this guy’s career is so archaic, and I doubt many people with the expection of die hard horror fans would have ever heard of him or the movies that he has done!

I mean you can’t really go wrong with the movie that produced the name for Rob Zombie’s old band!

For more information, please enjoy this trailer for the movie: White Zombie (1932):

For Number 3: Jim McCullough Sr. (The Aurora Encounter).

Jim McCullough Sr.

The reason that I think of Jim McCullough Sr. is such a great little known director, is because of the movie, Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986).

Despite the fact that this movie is very reminiscent of Psycho (Lets be honest, it is basically Psycho, with a female killer.) I also have to admit that this movie is just mindless entertainment, but I do like how Mr. McCullough shot this film, I mean I am still curious to figure out how he filmed the scenes when the latest victim is in these really tiny (and I mean really TINY) tunnels!

With that said, if you would like some more information on the movie, please enjoy this trailer for the movie, Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986):

At number 2: Amy Holden Jones (Love Letters):

Amy Holden Jones - Director

Amy Holden Jones – Director

Now admittedly Ms. Jones is probably most well known for her writing credits. But there is a horror movie that she did, a classic that would ultimately join the Corman family of films… This movie, Slumber Party Massacre (1982).

What I liked about what she did, was she turned an otherwise paint by numbers slasher film, and turned it in to suspenseful edge of your seat shock fest, that I still to this day enjoy!

With that said, please enjoy this trailer for the movie, Slumber Party Massacre (1982):

And at number 1 we got: John Lafia (Man’s Best Friend):

John Lafia – Director

Now this guy admittedly has worked a bit more then most of the people that I have mentioned here, but I thought that I would mention him, because despite having created, Man’s Best Friend (1993).  I am certain especially due to his lack of more recent movie credits, that he is one of those directors that at least as far as movies goes, seems to have fallen through the cracks!

With that said, please enjoy this trailer for the movie, Man’s Best Friend (1993):

With that said folks, none of these directors are bad, as a matter of fact they have all done in my opinion, some great work that I highly recommend that you check out!

Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.

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