Five More of Our Favorite Underrated Horror Directors


The big names in horror are often recognized by both the genre film community and mainstream entertainment culture. They are showered with accolades by horror fans and film critics, alike. Directors like John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, and Wes Craven have secured their place in history, but many talented directors go unrecognized for their hard work and noteworthy contributions to the genre. To remedy that, we have begun a recurring segment that gives much needed credit to horror directors that aren’t always shown the recognition they deserve. You can check out part one here. Now we present five more of our favorites…

Steven C. Miller
2012 was a busy year for Steven C. Miller; he had three features and a short film released in that year alone. Miller is a personal favorite of mine, and he's definitely an up-and-comer to watch. His film The Aggression Scale is among my favorite independent films of 2012, and his loose reimagining of Silent Night, Deadly Night was fine holiday fun. Though it was not a perfect film, and met with mixed reactions, I also enjoyed Under the Bed, Miller’s third film released in 2012. The thing I like most about Miller is his nostalgia for the horror films of the 1980s, and that translates to a passion and love for the genre that is highly apparent in all of his films. His fondness for films like The Gate and Little Monsters is more than apparent in Under the Bed, and his appreciation for holiday themed horror films of yesteryear is evident in Silent Night. Miller shows great prowess for a director still somewhat early in his career. It’s difficult to say exactly why he hasn’t received the accolades we would expect, but we look forward to seeing what he does next, and hope to see him finding some well-deserved recognition in 2014. 
Richard Franklin

Richard Franklin   With a string of well-made horror films under his belt, it’s a wonder that Richard Franklin didn’t get more acclaim within the genre film arena after arriving on the scene. Franklin helmed Psycho II, Patrick and the Hitchcockian pseudo-slasher Road Games. Despite being at the helm of several memorable horror features, Franklin is rarely acknowledged for his considerable contributions to genre film. It’s tough to say exactly why he never really developed a large following, but we still hold his work in high regard. Any horror fan unfamiliar with Franklin’s work should seek it out; we think you'll be pleased with what you find.

Dante Tomaselli

Dante Tomaselli is a master of ambiance. His films are dripping with intense atmosphere and always feature perfectly placed audio cues and haunting scores - which he personally composes for each film. Tomaselli has only put out four features over the span of his almost fifteen-year career, but each is a labor of love and represents the director’s finest work. He doesn’t just make films for financial gain; each feature is a labor of dedication and love that represents a piece of himself. Perhaps the reason Tomaselli hasn’t developed a higher profile is due to his film’s tendency to fly under the radar. His work is unique and eccentric, which, unfortunately, seems to have resulted in his features not receiving the level of exposure that they deserve. Tomaselli is a prolific and talented director and horror fans would be well advised to give any one of his films a go. Tomaselli’s first two films, Desecration and Horror, are out of print, but his third feature Satan’s Playground is available from Anchor Bay, and his latest project Torture Chamber is getting a DVD release on January 28th, 2014.  if you haven’t had the pleasure, give Dante Tomaselli's work a look.
Kevin Tenney
Kevin Tenney enjoyed a successful career in the 1980s, with hits like Night of the Demons and Witchboard resonating with horror fans. But it seems that things began to slow down in the ‘90s, and Tenney's been mostly absent from the scene in the past five years. With the exception of making an appearance as himself in the documentary Rewind This! and serving as a producer on the remake of Night of the Demons, we were unable to locate anything else Tenney was involved with after 2009. It’s disappointing to see that the director responsible for two very fun ‘80s classics seems to have never really received a great deal of recognition for his noteworthy contributions to the genre. I would love to see Tenney write and direct a new horror feature in the coming years and finally realize the level of appreciation he is long overdue. Among plenty of other talents, Tenney has a knack for blending a small amount of comedy at just the right time to provide a release for the audience, without making his films appear silly. We think Kevin Tenney is a noteworthy contributor to the horror film scene, and deserves more credit for his work than what we've seen him receive in the past. 
Greg McLean
Greg McLean is the talented Australian writer/director who brought us the 2005 film Wolf Creek and the 2007 film Rogue. Though McLean has put out two successful features with a third on the way, it seems he has yet to enjoy the level of awareness of his peers. Perhaps the release of Wolf Creek 2, which has secured US distribution, will find McLean realizing a higher level of audience recognition than he has with his two previous pictures. Wolf Creek was an extremely impressive debut, and Rogue (though it received the direct-to-DVD treatment in the US) was a solid sophomore effort. McLean shows a lot of promise, and in spite of his affiliation with the so-called "Splat Pack," he still manages to demonstrate a certain amount of restraint, choosing to focus on atmosphere as well as the more visceral qualities associated with the horror genre.