DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #15 – #11

My 50 Favourite Directors #15 – #11

My dungeon director project will be coming to its thrilling conclusion this week! Check in on Wednesday and Friday to see who made the top 10!

*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*


#15. Sergio Martino

What I’ve Seen: The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971), All the Colors of the Dark (1972), Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972), Torso (1973), Gambling City (1975), A Man Called Blade (1977), The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978), Screamers (1979), The Great Alligator (1979), 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983)

I have seen a mere 11 of Sergio Martino’s 42 full length feature films. Martino has directed a number of comedies, the one genre of Italian film I haven’t explored much. Martino makes this list thanks to his seriously outstanding Giallo entries which are absolutely among the best of their breed! I gave four of Martino’s films a perfect mark; The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, All the Colors of the Dark and Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key. I also loved Torso, Gambling City and A Man Called Blade; actually I have enjoyed all 11 of the Martino films I’ve seen. Martino’s Giallo have all the important elements that make the sub-genre so bloody brilliant and beloved by me! The twists and red herrings, glove-wearing killers, beautiful women, amazing cinematography and sex and violence! Martino is also a big fan of Edwige Fenech and Anita Strindberg and so am I!! These two beautiful talented ladies are just another compliment to Martino’s great flicks! His thrilling puzzles are constructed by the great Ernesto Gastaldi who penned all my aforementioned faves. Seriously, you gotta check out Gastaldi’s resume; the man has written some seriously awesome shit! I’m ashamed I only discovered Sergio Martino’s films relatively recently. Martino is a Giallo master!


#14. Roman Polanski

What I’ve Seen: Knife in the Water (1962), Repulsion (1965), Cul-de-sac (1966), Dance of the Vampires (1967), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Chinatown (1974), The Tenant (1976), Tess (1979), Frantic (1988), Bitter Moon (1992), Death and the Maiden (1994), The Ninth Gate (1999), The Pianist (2002), The Ghost Writer (2010), Carnage (2011)

I have seen 15 of Roman Polanski’s 20 full length feature films (he also has a film in pre-production called D). I love several films on this list but Polanski has lifelong membership in the favourite’s club due to his “Apartment Trilogy”; Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant. These are three of the best films I have ever seen in my life! Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby have been on my top 100 favourite horror film list since I started keeping one! Although Repulsion is masterfully filmed I think Catherine Deneuve probably deserves equal credit. Deneuve’s performance as Carol in Repulsion was a freaking revelation! The woman is positively alarming! Mia Farrow’s performance in Rosemary’s Baby is also pretty bloody fantastic. And I do love my satanic-oriented shenanigans! The Tenant is more of a dramatic thriller and it is a wonderfully quirky and mysterious one! It stars Polanski who is not only a great director he is an actor and writer (along with Gérard Brach who collaborated on the writing of several of Polanski’s films). It also features the lovely Isabelle Adjani. I also love and adore Knife in the Water, Dance of the Vampires, Cul-de-sac and Chinatown. While I don’t actually dislike any of Polanski’s Post 70s films they don’t move me the same way as his earlier work. Beautifully-filmed, well-written, character-intensive and with a ribbon of black humour running through them; Roman Polanski’s films mesmerize me and fill me with wonderment.


#13. Ishirô Honda

What I’ve Seen: Godzilla (1977), Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), Mirâman (1973), Space Amoeba (1970), Destroy All Monsters (1968), The War of the Gargantuas (1968), King Kong Escapes (1967), Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), Monster of Monsters: Ghidorah (1964), Dagora, the Space Monster (1964), Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Atoragon: Flying Supersub (1963), Matango (Attack of the Mushroom People) (1963), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Mothra (1961), The Human Vapor (1960), Varan the Unbelievable (1958), Rodan (1956), Godzilla (1954)

20 is a significant number of titles to see from one director, but it is just a drop in the bucket of Ishirô Honda’s 52 full length feature films! Japanese director Ishirô Honda is maestro of the monsters and the undisputed king of the wildly fun sub-genre! I have enjoyed every single title on this list! Godzilla was the first film I ever seen and I have seen it countless times since! The film was a pretty monumental achievement for its time! His collaborations with special effects guru Eiji Tsuburaya are particularly grand! 100s of miniature structures smashed to bits for my entertainment! I am also a huge fan of Honda’s Destroy all Monsters, The War of the Gargantuas, Mothra Vs. Godzilla, Terror of Mechagodzilla, Matango, Mothra and Rodan!! A friend said “You can’t put Ishirô Honda in between Polanski and P.T. Anderson” and I said “To hell I can’t!” Seriously! For the pure joy Honda’s films have brought me over the years he really deserves to be in my top 10! Damn rankings! Ishirô Honda holds the key to my heart!


#12. Paul Thomas Anderson

What I’ve Seen: There Will Be Blood (2007), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Magnolia (1999), Boogie Nights (1997), Hard Eight (1996)

Paul Thomas Anderson has the teeniest resume in my entire list of 50 directors with just five full length feature films! I have seen every single one of his films in the theatre and gave four out of five of his films a perfect score! His deeply flawed characters and dysfunctional families appeal to me on a variety of levels. I was slightly horrified by the news that Adam Sandler was to star in Anderson’s follow up to Magnolia. I really am not fond of Adam Sandler but his turn here is magnificent! Anderson creates one of the most unlikeable-likable characters I have ever stumbled upon! Who the hell wouldn’t be a little “off” being the only male among a family of overbearing sisters constantly intruding in your life? Punch-Drunk Love has become one of my favourite love stories of all time! Generally speaking, Anderson employs many of my favourite actors and actresses; John C Reilly, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emily Watson, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jason Robards among others. It can’t hurt your film having some of the most talented actors/actresses working today! All of Anderson’s projects feel like a new experience; Boogie Nights and Magnolia are these brilliant massive ensemble pieces with multiple key characters where Punch-Drunk Love and There will be Blood are more intimate looks at a central male character. In any case, the one thing all Anderson’s films have is intriguing wonderfully written characters! Anderson’s sad, lonely, angry, broken characters are a breath of fresh air in a sea of happy-ending sappy drivel. I would be hard pressed to choose which of Anderson’s films my favourite is; I like each one for different reasons. Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most talented and intriguing directors working today and I am beside myself with excitement to check out The Master coming out soon.


#11. Joel & Ethan Coen

What I’ve Seen: True Grit (2010), A Serious Man (2009), Burn After Reading (2008), No Country for Old Men (2007), The Ladykillers (2004), Intolerable Cruelty (2003), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), The Big Lebowski (1998), Fargo (1996), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Barton Fink (1991), Miller’s Crossing (1990), Raising Arizona (1987), Blood Simple (1984)

I have seen all 15 full length feature films from the Coen brothers. I really struggled with Joel and Ethan Coens placing on this list! I have loved the Coens since seeing Raising Arizona in the theatre in the 80s. Up until recent years the Coens never ever disappointed. While I feel no less strongly about the films I love from the duo they have had a few “oopsies”; The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty, and True Grit. The mighty Coens have five films I gave a perfect rating to; Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Fargo and The Big Lebowski; Raising Arizona, No Country for Old Men and Brother Where Art Thou? would not be far behind. From Crime to comedy Coen’s films have highly entertaining stories, characters and seriously fucking talented actors and actresses! Some of my all time favourite actors and actresses have appeared in the Coen’s films; William H. Macy, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Frances McDormand, John Turturro, Peter Stormare, and Albert Finney among others! I have seen just about every single one of the Coen’s film on the big screen and actually went to see Barton Fink at the theatre three times! The extraordinarily talented writing, production and directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen have already left their unique signature on cinematic history but I think they just might have a few more tricks up their collective sleeves. I look forward to checking out Inside Llewyn Davis which is in post-production. Despite a few broken eggs I look forward to the potential omelette of awesomeness these amazing multi-talented men might concoct next!


17 Responses to “DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #15 – #11”

  1. Sergio Martino is not listed as I’ve seen none of his films.

    Roman Polanski is my number 130 director in my personal list. He sure knows how to achieve a sense of dread and imprisonment, he likes to have psychologically complicated characters, but I want to see more of his films to have a real sense of his filmic endeavour, as well as revisiting some of his movies that I’ve already seen. My favorite of the films he’s directed and that I’ve seen is “Chinatown” (1974) which I rated 9/10.

    Ishiro Honda is my number 233 director in my personal list.He maybe does not make the best movies out there, but I do consider him one of the 10 most influential directors, I love the Godzilla series and almost anything with japanese monsters in them, and he sure made them the greatest form of art in the monster movie genre, he is one of the best out there. My favorite of the films he’s directed and that I’ve seen is “Godzilla” (1954) which I rated 9/10.

    Paul Thomas Anderson is in number 75 in my personal list, and I just can’t wait to see how good The Master will be, he has made the greatest movies of his generation, including my second favorite film of all time: Magnolia, and one of the best movies of the past decade: There Will Be Blood. And while I’m not fond of Punch Drunk Love, some decissions do make it worth a revisit in the future. My favorite of the films he’s directed and that I’ve seen is “Magnolia” (1999) which I rated 10/10.

    Joel & Ethan Coen are in the number 78/79 in my personal list, and they have achieved many things through their career, I like their movies a lot, and I find myself in awe most of the time because of what they manage through their comedy, but I just feel that they need to really have some kind of kinetic energy that I felt in their best film to date that I just see that the rest fault at… but they’re nothing short of genius. My favorite of the films he’s directed is “Raising Arizona” (1987) which I rated 10/10.

    My 5:

    15. Jaume Balagueró (REC, REC2) *REC 10/10
    14. Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds, Death Proof, Grindhouse, Sin City, Kill Bill, Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs) *Kill Bill (both) 10/10
    13. Chan-wook Park (Paranmanjang, Thirst, I’m a Cyborg and that’s ok, Lady Vengeance, 3 Extremes, Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, JSA: Joint Security Area) *JSA: Joint Security Area 10/10
    12. Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Batman Begins, Memento, Following, Doodlebug) *The Prestige 10/10
    11. Danny Boyle (127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire, Millions, 28 Days Later…, Trainspotting) *Slumdog Millionaire 10/10

    • I liked REC and REC2 alot but not enough to put it in a list of top of all time.

      You already know how I feel about Quentin Tarantino and Chan-wook Park…I think we are pretty much on the same page there!

      Both Christopher Nolan and Danny Boyle made my shortlist. Boyle had only one film I gave a perfect rating to and that was Trainspotting, and although I did not give it a perfect rating I loved Shallow Grave and 28 Days Later. Nolan also had just one film I rated perfectly and that was Memento; although I gave Following and Batman Begins near perfect marks!

      • Oh, come on! Inception was spectacular, especially with how terrible and dumbed-down for their retarded American target audience most modern films are! Batman Begins wasn’t at all memorable, can’t even remember who the bad guy was…if there was one. Interested to see Following, didn’t know it existed.
        ….Ron Howard is a strange director – his films’ style/quality are all over the place (A Beautiful Mind is great, but other films really dumb). Also, how about Zack Snyder? His films look incredible, but I doubt he can even work the CGI programs which make his films look so great! Did he do Sucker Punch? Pretty messed up story, but wow, best CGI so far in a film!

  2. Paul Thomas Anderson perhaps hasn’t the body of work yet to put him amongst the greats. However, he keeps coming up with the goods. A bit like Alexander Payne…ten more years, another three of four films each and they’ll be heralded as two true greats of modern cinema.

    There Will Be Blood is one of my favourite films of the last ten years. It was a truly astonishing piece of work.

    • I considered PT Anderson’s resume a little tiny for this exercise but since this is about my faves and I gave all his films (except Hard Eight) a perfect score I decided he deserved to be on here as much as anyone else!! I hope he doesn’t suffer too much from list envy! I really like Alexander Payne! In fact he had made my shortlist of directors for Citizen Ruth and Sideways; two of my favourite films to come out in the past few years.

  3. Sergio Martino – Haven’t seen any of his films but I love the title Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key.

    Roman Polanski – I like his earlier films a lot – Rosemary, Repulsion, but his later films have been a waste – Ninth Gate was dull, Carnage ran out of comedic steam fast. The Ghost Writer was good. Better than the book.

    Ishirô Honda – Seeing his name gave me an “Oh Yeah” moment. I knew you liked Godzilla (lunchbox and all) but I totally forgot about how much.

    Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will be Blood / Magnolia are so good they justify his place up here.

    Joel & Ethan Coen – I find them hit and miss. More miss than hit.

    • I love those long luscious Giallo titles!

      Yep. I am all about the old stuff when it comes to Polanski also. Carnage had a great cast, I love John C Reilly and Kate Winslet, and although I haven’t seen her in anything good in years, Jodie Foster is top notch; it was pretty disappointing.

      I think my other Japanese director will be an Oh Yeah moment for you also…

      There Will be Blood and Magnolia are magnificent…but I love Boogie Nights and Punch-Drunk Love too!

      The Coen’s rock man…but they are one of the few directors in my top 20 that have films I dislike on their list. Their trilogy of ick made me super sad especially since I paid theatre price to see them. That made me feel extra sad 😦

      • John C Reilly has to be the dullest, podgey-faced, samey, sticks out like a sore thumb actors ever – yet has featured in many of the biggest films in history…and, possibly, proceeded to be the thing that stopped them short of being great (except Magnolia).

  4. I am delighted to see Sergio Martino on your list! He,Umberto Lenzi and Antonio Margheretti deserve to be better known. But Martino’s Giallo are top notch,and I share your appreciation for Edwige Fenech and Anita Strindberg. I love Martino Giallo with a passion. I also adore Bruno Nicolai’s score for All The Colors of the Dark. Sergio Martino would be on my list of favorite directors as well. Ditto for Ishiro Honda. Many,many Saturday matinees at the bijou and trips to the drive-in to see his films. He has a special place in the hearts of all we monster kids. I remember when I saw Godzilla Vs. the Thing(aka Godzilla Vs. Mothra)at the drive-in,I got all teary eyed when Motha dies. I love that movie so much,we went to see it again at the Manos Theater on a double bill with King Kong Vs. Godzilla a few weeks later. Likewise,I am crazy about Roman Polanski’s films from the 1960’s and 70’s,and think highly of the films of the Coen Brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson(the son of former Cleveland horror host Ernie Anderson),too. No doubt about it,Goregirl,you rock! : )

    • Umberto Lenzi, along with a few other Italian horror directors made my shortlist and SPOILER***THREE made the top 10. No surprise I am sure! Antonio Margheretti did not make my shortlist. I love Antonio Margheretti’s Castle of Blood and Long Hair of Death, but I didn’t give either one a perfect score. Margheretti has other films I’ve enjoyed also, but there weren’t any I graded perfectly.

      I did not know that Paul Thomas Anderson was the son of Cleveland horror host Ernie Anderson. I actually don’t know Mr. Anderson, but that is an interesting little factoid. I wonder if PT will ever do a horror film?

      • I think I know who those three Italian horror directors are in your top ten,but I’m not saying a word! ; ) Yes, Paul Thomas Anderson’s production company is named after his late father’s horror host alter ego Ghoulardi. Ernie Anderson was Ghoulardi from 1963-1966. I would love to see PT do a horror film.

  5. Great post, I always found Repulsion to be a superbly crafted physchological horror.

  6. Roman Polanski is woeful and Romary’s Baby has to be the most overrated ‘horror’ film of all time! So kitsch, camp, hammy and laughably dated and psychedelic!
    I only really find The Omen trilogy scary – probably because I watched them when I was too young. Richard Donner directed the first, and best one, but he’s more versatile than anyone, not just a horror director.
    Many people seem to not know that a director is meant to just DIRECT the actors and seem to confuse them with PRODUCERS who usually have more impact on the finished film. If bad actors do a good job, then that’s the work of a great director. Clint Eastwood’s directing is the worst! Can’t he see how wooden his cast is!? Kubrick is the best director ever, purely because he insisted on countless retakes – although the actors probably thought he was the worst! Speilberg always makes great films with good acting, as does P.T.Anderson and Nolan. Cimino gets great performances from actors – Year of the Dragon is hugely underrated, far better than Drear Hunter! Mickey Rourke’s best performance (also great in 9 1/2 Weeks). Robert Altman and Terrence Mallick (terrible vacuous films) are bad directors as they seem to let the actors ad-lib and give them no direction at all!

    • Wow. You sure typed a lot of words in the five comments you left. First and foremost this is a list of my “FAVOURITE” directors not the most technically sound, not the most popular, not the most commercially successful, not the best-acted…”favourite”. I sure as hell make no apologies for what I like. I am not a film student, or a paid critic I am simply a chick who watches a lot of movies. I have to wonder why based on your comments you would have any interest whatsoever in this blog. We clearly do not see the world of film through the same lens….and that is cool. To each his own and all.

  7. Ok, assuming we’re talking about which directors have worked on the best films (not the same as being a great DIRECTOR OF ACTING):
    5. P.T.Anderson (Magnolia his best so far, but needs more – Phoenix said he was allowed zero freedom to act on The Master – a sign of true directing actually)
    4. Richard Donner (most versatile).
    3. Christopher Nolan (Just great blockbuster and versatility too, see Momento)
    2. Stanley Kubrick (best director – due to perfectionism and countless re-takes).
    1. Steven Spielberg (countless great films with good acting).

    Also good: Minghella, Cimino, Peter Weir, David Lean, Hitchcock, Danny Boyle, Orson Wells, etc…but cinematographers are just as important, as are the screenplay writers and music composers.
    …Worst: George Lucas, Terrence Malick, Robert Altman (heard actors say he just told them to give him something original – that’s not directing); Roman Polanski, Nicholas Roeg, Brian De Palma…How these directors can’t see bad acting, implausible behaviour and huge plotholes is confounding!

    • …Oh, I missed out RIDLEY SCOTT! Definitely in my top 2 or 3 Directors! James Cameron is worth a mention too: “Less isn’t more. More is more!” (said when going hugely over budget during the making of Titanic, LOL!)

  8. […] Polanski is one of my favourite directors; I ranked him #14! A rare books expert is hired by a well-known collector to retrieve the two remaining copies of The […]

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