DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #10 – #6

My 50 Favourite Directors #10 – #6

The final list will be posted on Friday, August 10!

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

#10. George A. Romero

What I’ve Seen: Survival of the Dead (2009), Diary of the Dead (2007), Land of the Dead (2005), Bruiser (2000), The Dark Half (1993), Monkey Shines (1988), Day of the Living Dead (1985), Creepshow (1982), Knightriders (1981), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Martin (1976), The Crazies (1973), Hungry Wives (1972), Night of the Living Dead (1968)

I have seen 14 of George A. Romero’s 15 full length feature films (I have not seen There’s Always Vanilla from 1971). Although I have seen Two Evil Eyes, I did not include it in George Romero or Dario Argento’s list. Two Evil Eyes is a collaboration between Dario Argento and George Romero featuring two horror tales based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Romero contributed “The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar” and Argento “The Black Cat“. The films are not quite short films but are not full length features either. Just wasn’t really sure what to do with Two Evil Eyes. While it is not the perfect representation of either man’s work, it is still a bit of fun and it is certainly one of the more entertaining flicks to come out in the 90s! Romero has fewer films I gave a perfect rating to than other directors I ranked. It isn’t all about quantity; it is also about quality and passion. And I am passionate about my zombies!! Besides the original Godzilla, Dawn of the Dead is probably my most watched film of all time. I am well past counting on my fingers and toes how many times I have seen Dawn of the Dead. I have also seen Night of the Living Dead and Day of the Dead multiple times. Romero’s dead trilogy is epic. Romero basically wrote the zombie playbook. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead came out in 1968 and 100s of zombie films later, very few can top it! Really, I would say only Romero himself has ever topped his own masterpiece with my aforementioned favourite Dawn of the Dead. And “top” would be strong language as I think these two films are equally perfect. Beside Romero’s trio of undead perfection I loved The Crazies, Martin, Creepshow and Knightriders! Romero’s intense, scary and gory visions have made the world a better place to live! George A. Romero is the undisputed King of the Zombies!

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#9. Ingmar Bergman

What I’ve Seen: Fanny and Alexander (1982), Autumn Sonata (1978), The Serpent’s Egg (1977), Cries & Whispers (1972), The Passion of Anna (1969), Shame (1968), Hour of the Wolf (1968), Persona (1966), The Silence (1963), Winter Light (1963), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), The Devil’s Eye (1960), The Virgin Spring (1960), The Magician (1958), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Seventh Seal (1957), Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), Summer with Monika (1953), Summer Interlude (1951)

I have seen 19 of Ingmar Bergman’s 36 full length feature films and have dug every last one. Reviewing Ingmar Bergman’s IMDB page it appears he has written the screenplays for the majority (if not all) of the films he has directed. The immensely talented Swedish director generally uses his home country for his backdrops. A cast of regulars that include Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand and Erland Josephson helped make Bergman look good with their talent and easy chemistry. Their characters question faith, morality and death whilst confronting, isolation, sexual desire, illness, duplicity and loss. Bergman’s camera gets up close and personal with long lingering close-ups of his performers. Bergman takes advantage of shadows and uses them to their full effectiveness. I am probably the only one who thinks it is a shame Bergman didn’t do horror! Bergman’s only real foray into horror was Hour of the Wolf about a man’s descent into madness; which is one of my favourite films from the director. Bergman’s crime-drama The Virgin Spring was remade by Wes Craven as a horror film and re-titled Last House on the Left. My personal favourites are the aforementioned Hour of the Wolf and The Virgin Spring, along with Shame, Persona, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal and Through a Glass Darkly. Bergman’s films can drain me emotionally but always captivate me. Ingmar Bergman films are poetry in motion and his library is one of the finest collections I have ever had the pleasure to behold.

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#8. Dario Argento

What I’ve Seen: Giallo (2009), Mother of Tears (2007), The Card Player (2004), Sleepless (2001), The Phantom of the Opera (1998), The Stendhal Syndrome (1996), Trauma (1993), Opera (1987), Phenomena (1985), Tenebre (1982), Inferno (1980), Suspiria (1977), Deep Red (1975), The Five Days (1973), Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

I have seen 17 of Dario Argento’s 18 full length feature films. I have not yet seen Argento’s newest film Dracula 3D. It is more difficult these days getting excited about Argento’s new projects. His work over the last several years has been a disappointment. It is unlikely Dracula 3D will get a theatrical run here, or perhaps anywhere outside of Italy. So far 116 users on IMDB rated the film giving it an average 4.3/10. Now that we got that bit of unpleasantness out of the way, let me add that I never miss seeing an Argento film. I find a way to see every last one even if that means having to purchase it. Dario Argento is the director of three of my all-time favourite horror films; Deep Red, Tenebre and Suspiria. I have seen this trio of Argento films many times over the years and I love them as much now as I did when I discovered them in the 80s! In fact, all of Argento’s pre-90s films are superb; I would recommend any of them without hesitation. Dario Argento’s visuals are nothing short of spectacular. His wandering camera travelling along walls and windows, the way he uses color to its utmost potential, his use of light and shadow and most importantly his elaborately staged death scenes all come together to create wonderful horror masterpieces! Let us not forget the soundtracks! I have several tracks from Argento films posted on my YouTube channel and I absolutely love all his collaborations with Goblin! A good piece of music can add so much to the mood and overall feel of a film; particularly a horror film. Dario Argento is one of horrors most influential directors and is one of the prime reasons I am the huge horror fan I am today.

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#7. David Lynch

What I’ve Seen: Inland Empire (2006), Rabbits (2002), Mulholland Dr. (2001), The Straight Story (1999), Lost Highway (1997), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), Wild at Heart (1990), Blue Velvet (1986), Dune (1984), The Elephant Man (1980), Eraserhead (1977)

I have seen all 11 of David Lynch’s full length feature films. Lynch’s twisted, trippy, violent, dark and beautiful visions are truly one of a kind. Lynch’s hugely popular TV show Twin Peaks helped bring him to the masses. Evidently, I am a humongous fan of his television series Twin Peaks and think it is one of the best TV shows to grace the airwaves. A goddamn shame it was so short lived! I am still perplexed by the fact that David Lynch has actually had any commercial success; his stuff is pretty freaking bizarre. I am always torn on which Lynch is my ultimate favourite; Blue Velvet or Wild at Heart. Blue Velvet’s violent psychopath character Frank played by the great Dennis Hopper is one of the most memorable bastards in the history of cinema. And I think Wild at Heart is the greatest love story ever told! I also gave Lynch’s The Elephant Man, Eraserhead and The Straight Story perfect marks. The Straight Story is shockingly sentimental and accessible for Lynch but I found it positively charming! I enjoy everything Lynch has directed in varying degrees (okay Dune is iffy, but I did enjoy the visuals). Lynch has never directed a film that could be called straight-up horror but he certainly is not shy about including violent and macabre images. My biggest complaint about David Lynch is he just hasn’t directed enough films. I implore Mr. Lynch to direct at least one more great film! Lynch, like everyone in my top 10 has long been a favourite. No one but no one is quite like David Lynch; I will enjoy repeat visits to his dark paradise for the rest of my days.

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#6. Alfred Hitchcock

What I’ve Seen: Family Plot (1976), Frenzy (1972), Topaz (1969), Torn Curtain (1966), Marnie (1964), The Birds (1963), Psycho (1960), North by Northwest (1959), Vertigo (1958), The Wrong Man (1956), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Trouble with Harry (1955), To Catch a Thief (1955), Rear Window (1954), Dial M for Murder (1954), I Confess (1953), Strangers on a Train (1951), Stage Fright (1950), Under Capricorn (1949), Rope (1948), The Paradine Case (1947), Notorious (1946), Spellbound (1945), Lifeboat (1944), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Saboteur (1942), Suspicion (1941), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Rebecca (1940), Jamaica Inn (1939), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Young and Innocent (1937), Sabotage (1936), Secret Agent (1936), The 39 Steps (1935), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Waltzes from Vienna (1934)

I posted a couple of pieces of music from Psycho and Vertigo on my YouTube channel early April and commented that I had not seen any of Alfred Hitchcock’s pre-1934 films; unfortunately I still haven’t. I have seen 38 of Alfred Hitchcock’s 54 full length feature films. That is the most films I have seen from any director on this list. Of course, I have a lifetime of watching Hitchcock films as both my parents were fans. Seriously, how can you not like Hitchcock? Funny, moody, thrilling, quirky, mysterious, frightening and of course, suspenseful; Hitchcock can do it all. Not only can he do it all, but he does it all so very well! Although it has been quite a few years since I watched a few of these titles, I don’t believe I have disliked a single one of the 38 titles I have seen! That is quite the amazing feat! There are definitely a few I feel particularly cozy with like Psycho, Vertigo, The Trouble With Harry, Notorious, The Wrong Man, Rope, Frenzy and The Birds. Hitchcock films are inventively filmed, they have superb stories and outstanding character development and primo performances from some of the best actors and actresses who ever lived. Alfred Hitchcock makes it okay to be voyeuristic! Hitchcock is an innovator of the highest order and is probably the most influential director on this list. Hitchcock is indeed the master of suspense and in my opinion is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time!

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18 Responses to “DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #10 – #6”

  1. The Trouble With Harry is an interesting favorite. It is one of those Hitchcock films I’ve never fully warmed to. Its sense of humor is very Hitchcockian but I’m not sure it works as well, for me at least, as the more subtle stuff seen in Rear Window or Frenzy.

    My personal faves include Rear Window, North by Northwest, Psycho, Rope, Vertigo, The Wrong Man, Strangers on a Train, Frenzy, Notorious, Lifeboat and Dial M For Murder.

    …in fact, my top 10 is right here: http://www.top10films.co.uk/archives/5396

    • There are literally no Hitchcock films I dislike so picking a top 10 would be a fairly daunting task…particularly since there are at least a half dozen I would like to revisit before I made such a decision! Looks like we have some similar choices though. I really enjoyed Lifeboat and Strangers on a Train (Strangers might even make a top 10). A lot of people cite North by Northwest as a favourite and it had a pretty high IMDB score too as I recall; while I enjoyed it, it would actually rank pretty low in my fave Hitch. Dial M would be somewhere in the middle.

  2. George A. Romero – We wouldn’t have the modern zombies we have today (and all of those movies and games and books) if it wasn’t for Night and Dawn and I love those two films but there are quite a few works that have not appealed to me.

    Ingmar Bergman – The only film of his I have seen is The Magician and I quite liked that one.

    Dario Argento – Another director I’m not totally familiar with – I have seen Tenebrae, Crystal Plumage, and Suspiria and I rank them highly.

    David Lynch – He makes my nightmares. Every time I watch one of his films I am filled with dread. If you like Twin Peaks you should play the game Deadly Premonition.

    Alfred Hitchcock – His films are classics (not that I watch them for fun like I do with Japanese films) and a lot of his earliest works are getting re-releases here in the UK.

    • Well, it is true, Romero’s standing on this list is due to his undead trio, it is awesomely spectacular enough to keep him here forever. More than 40 years later and there is still only about a half dozen films I would put on par with Night of the Living Dead and one of those is also a Romero film!!

      I really liked Max Von Sydow in The Magician, but would probably rank The Magician somewhere in the middle of the Bergman films I’ve seen. You could close your eyes and just pick a title and you would do just fine and dandy with Bergman, or you could check out one of my faves; try Persona; even my Bergman hating friend likes that one.

      Dread is such a great word. I really should use it more often!

  3. I think I am going to be sad to see this project end…

  4. All five would be in my favorites list as well. I grew up near Pittsburgh,Pa,saw the very first appearance anywhere of George Romero,as he was in the process of making a low budget horror film that would eventually be titled Night of the Living Dead,so Romero is held in great reverence by me. I’ve even seen There’s Always Vanilla,which Romero is not fond of,but heck,I like the movie. In addition to his dead trilogy, I absolutely love The Crazies(had a long debate with friends who prefer the remake) and Martin. I got to meet George Romero when my cousin and I tried to get hired as extras on Dawn of the Dead,and just missed out. But we still got to meet THE MAN! If the only Ingmar Bergman film I had ever seen was The Virgin Spring,he would still be on my list. Same goes for David Lynch with Blue Velvet. Yet all the films I’ve seem from these two directors are incredible. Totally agree that all of Dario Argento’s films from the 1970’s and 80’s are suberb. I have a sentimental fondness for The Cat o Nine Tails since it is the first Argento film I saw at the drive-in. His post 1980’s films I have found less interesting,but not without their moments. I can still remember Mom and I going to see Hitchcock’s The Birds when it first came out. After that,I was hooked. I echo theipc’s sentiments,going to be sorry to see your epic list come to a close.

    • George Romero apparently made an appearance at the Toronto Zombie Walk…that would have been pretty nifty! I think he lives in Toronto now. I have met just a handful of directors at the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear which I attended just one year. I am hoping to make my next Ontario visit during a Festival of Fear.

      I was too young to have seen Hitchcock in the theatre growing up but my local Cinematheque has had Hitchock retrospectives so I have had a chance to see a few of his films on the big screen.

  5. I was so looking forward to Argento’s Dracula when I first heard about it, but it seems like the disappointing trend will continue with his stuff. I’ll probably still watch it on Netflix, but it won’t be a priority.

    • Yep. I was super excited too. Even before the reviews came in I have to admit I did not fird the trailer appealing. I will still definitely see it, but at this point, I sort of just wish Mr. Argento would retire. He has more than made his outstanding contribution to the horror genre.

  6. Great continuing list, can’t wait to see who takes the number one slot

  7. dawn of the dead is possibly my favorite movie……what can you not praise about it ?
    strangely enough, i really love day of the dead ( OMG )
    the strange contrast of soldiers and zombies and doctor frankenstein and the most beloved of all zombies, BUB
    sadly, romero’s recent work is straight from the poop bucket

    • Yep..Dawn is the mother of em all!
      I don’t know why Day gets kicked around as much as it does…I think it is brilliant…glad someone agrees!
      Sadly, Romero’s newest trio of undead flicks doesn’t come close to his originals. Not whatsoever! I was positively out of my mind with excitement when I heard Romero was making another zombie film. I know I am in lonely company here but I actually liked Land of the Dead! Asia Argento and Dennis Hopper picking his nose, great zombie makeup too. It is flawed and I know it, but I like it anyway.

  8. i watched romero’s martin tonight
    i remembered it as being violent and strange
    i didn’t recall that it was so god awful terrible
    wow, talk about adolescent talent
    endless filler material
    detached conversations
    like really bad mexican television
    this movie has nothing to do with vampires
    the consumption of blood by martin is HD blasphemy

    • OUCH! Sorry sir, all sales ARE FINAL! Well that is sad you hated it that much! I quite like the fact that is a vampire film that isn’t a vampire film. Generally detached conversations drive me nuts, but with the premise and the character’s relationship(s) being what they are it worked. It does have a made for TV feel about it though, but again, I actually find that appealing. One Goregirl’s treasure is another man’s trash.

  9. I’m amazed that I haven’t seen many of these films. I didn’t even know that George A. Romero directed a movie called The Crazies, and from the looks of it on IMDB, I doesn’t seem too much different from The Crazies that was directed by Breck Eisner in 2010. Thanks for listing all of these great directors; it’s giving me a lot of titles to add to my Blockbuster @Home queue. Sometimes I’m surprised that they even carry certain titles because they seem so obscure, but it’s definitely a pleasant surprise when I’m easily able to add them to my queue. One of my co-workers at Dish recommended that I check out Ingmar Bergman’s work but I just haven’t gotten around to it. The picture that you have under his segment looks interesting, which movie is it from?

  10. […] position in my top one hundred horror films of all time and George A. Romero was my #10 director in my dungeon director project: my fifty favourite directors. My love of Dawn of the Dead is probably teetering on the edge of obsessive. Dawn of the Dead is […]

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