Billy Joel once told a story in an interview about writing the song “In The Middle Of The Night” and how the melody for it was bouncing around in his head while he was trying to focus on something else, so he kept saying “I’m not writing that song. I’m not writing that song.” But there was another voice that kept saying “Write the song. Write the song. Write the song.”
So, I originally planned to focus on underrated directors today, but for some reason, a number of the guys on this list just kept nagging at me. If it’s okay for Billy Joel, I guess it’s okay for me. And so, for your amusement and bemusement, I give you my Top 10 Overrated Horror Directors.
#10 Tom Six
Geez Louise talk about a one-trick pony. I know there are folks out there who might take issue with the fact that I’ve never seen a Tom Six movie. I would argue I don’t have to. The entire Human Centipede franchise is based on a single gimmick. I already know what it is and see no necessity to watch how it plays out. Plus there’s a plausibility problem with it that I just can’t let go of—E. coli. If you know, you know. So yeah, I think we’re done here.
#9 Neil Marahall
Now, I’m not trying to suggest that every movie made by each one of these directors is terrible or even overhyped. In many cases, they start off strong then fail to recapture the awesomeness they opened with. Marshall is a great example of this. Dog Soldiers (2002) is arguably one of the best werewolf flicks to come along since 1981 brought An American Werewolf In London, and I don’t even like werewolves. But what followed was the severely overpraised movie The Descent (2005) and the entertaining but decidedly not great Hellboy (2019).
#8 Michael Dougherty
It pains me to have to put Dougherty on this list. Trick ‘R Treat (2007) is one of the best horror anthology flicks in the history of ever. Imagine my excitement when Krampus dropped in 2015. Sure, Krampus had some legit creepy moments to it, namely the carnivorous Jack-In-The-Box, but overall it was a yawn fest full of annoying characters that couldn’t die fast enough. And while I do enjoy a “wait we’re not quite done yet ending,” this one was just too obvious. And don’t even get me started on the blatant cash grab that was
Battle Of The CGI Kaiju Godzilla: King Of The Monsters.
#7 Fede Álvarez
This might be a little harsh as I’m only going off two movies. The 2013 Evil Dead remake had its moments, but ultimately, it did little if anything to improve on the original. More like he took a similar concept and kinda did his own thing with it, making his version more like, I dunno, a step-sibling of the original. Don’t Breathe (2016), on the other hand, was just not anywhere as good as many insisted.
#6 Eli Roth
First off, I like Roth much more as an actor than a director. I also enjoy his History Of Horror series. And don’t get me wrong. I loved Hostel (2005). I loved Cabin Fever (2002). End of list. But man, Green Inferno (2013)? I seldom experience a movie in which I find the characters so obnoxious that I want them all to take a dirt nap 15 minutes after they’re introduced. The Death Wish (2018) remake was fun for what it was, but stacked up against his first two features, and even Green Inferno, it didn’t have that signature Roth goriness to carry it. To be fair, I haven’t seen Knock Knock, his 2015 remake of Death Game (1977). The original is okayish, so I don’t have high hopes for a new version.
#5 James Wan
This is another name that hurts to include here, but if I’m honest, I gotta do it. I mean, I’ll see you Saw (2004) and Dead Silence (2007), sure, but I’ll raise you both Insidious movies and everything he’s responsible for in the Conjure-verse. Okay, The Conjuring movies are partly because the Warrens were a couple of huge fucking frauds, but still, there may be some truth to the some folks’s claim that he makes the same horror movie over and over.
#4 Yorgos Lanthimos
Yeah yeah, I get it. Lanthimos isn’t exactly regarded primarily as a horror director. But there are definitely some bleak, psychological horror aspects to Dogtooth (2009) and The Lobster (2015), both of which came off as pretentious and self-indulgent. Lanthimos seems to take a dim view of his audience, almost as if he wants to subject them to the kind of distorted reality the father inflicts on his family in Dogtooth. The only problem is, we aren’t held captive like said family, and some of us just don’t see any value in pretending otherwise. For that reason, I’m leery of sitting through The Killing Of A Sacred Deer (2017). I’ll get to it sooner or later. I am after all a total professional.
#3 Alexandre Aja
Let me begin by saying I like Haute Tension (2003) quite a bit even though I think it completely falls apart by the end. But everything else just falls absolutely flat for me. I don’t get the appeal of Crawl (2019), didn’t see anything new or interesting in P2 (2007), and don’t understand the point of his Hills Have Eyes (2006) and Piranha (2010) remakes.
#2 Robert Eggers
Again, I’ve only got two movies to go on, but gosh are they, how does one say it? Ambitious? It’s good to have amibition, and I’m not saying The VVitch and The Lighthouse are bad. I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is they’re not the massive achievements some would have us believe. I absolutely hated The VVitch (2015) the first time I saw it. I was with a friend of mine. As the credits rolled, we looked at each other like a couple of dogs who’d just heard a high-pitched noise. I’ll admit, I came around some after forcing myself to sit through it again at home, but all that did was make me not hate it. The Lighthouse (2019), well that was just fuckin’ weird which I like a whole lot. I appreciate the unresolved/unrevealed nature of the Lovecraftian Big Bad. But that doesn’t make The Lighthouse one of the best horror movie ever made.
#1 Wes Craven
I mean, come on. You knew this was coming, right? Again, I truly enjoy a number of Craven’s movies. But by and large, I’m just not seeing this great and towering influence so very many horror fans attribute to him. I mean, the best way to describe Scream (1996) is cute which is possibly the absolute worst label that can be attached to a horror movie, and I have yet to the so-called “new life” it breathed into the slasher subgenre. Similarly, I’ve never understood the supposed “importance” of Last House On The Left (1972) to the genre. I was bored. As for Nightmare On Elm Street (1984), well, I’ve said elsewhere that I just found Freddy Kruger silly and irritating right from the word “go.” I’m not saying these movies are bad. I just don’t see what the big deal is.
And there you have it, another Top 10 Tuesday list. Anybody here you’d like to defend? Anybody missing? Let me know in the Comments.