ByJoey Mauro, writer at
Film, Music, True Crime and Aliens...
Joey Mauro

My criteria only consists of filmmakers who haven't been around for too long, or their works have simply received as much praise as they deserve, regardless they're all still very much working in the industry. I'm sure there are plenty more that exist whom I would love to talk about, but here are some of the directors that have been in my head lately who I believe just aren't getting the proper recognition.

10. Bobcat Goldthwait

Starting his career off as one of the most popular (as well as gimmicky) comics of the 80s stand-up boom, Goldthwait tuned down his manic persona and took a break from the spotlight after starring in his abysmal comedy-vehicle, Hot to Trot. He quietly reemerged with a more docile and far more insightful stand-up routine and directing career. Since 2006's Sleeping Dogs Lie, Bobcat has made films such as World's Greatest Dad and God Bless America; indie-comedies full to the brim with dark-satire, angrily putting a mirror up to the face of our current culture and no one, regardless of political agenda is really safe.

9. Amy J. Berg

I've had my eye on Amy Berg ever since her 2006 debut Deliver Us From Evil. Developing emotional and disturbing documentaries on taboo subjects, with a tone and pacing unlike anyone else, Amy Berg's first film was so striking and affective that it caught the eye of Peter Jackson who then gave her the role of director for the film West of Memphis, and given the amount of information and tragedy on the subject matter as well as being preceded by a hugely influential trilogy of films that already chronicled the events of the West Memphis 3, Amy's task to put all the info into one film was no easy feat. Yet, she pulled it off majestically and West of Memphis is another work by Berg that is heart-wrenching and equally informative; one of the top documentaries in recent years. She is the new face of true-crime documentaries and with her upcoming fictional film, Every Secret Thing starring Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks, we will get to see her artistic touch in entirely different way.

8. Gareth Evans

With the fun and masterful choreography of the short and to-the-point martial arts film, The Raid: Redemption, Evans certainly was able to get some recognition, but with his follow-up to that film, The Raid 2, he created one of, if not the GREATEST action film. Ever.

Utilizing everything that makes up a great action film, with brilliant performances, well-developed characters, enveloping story, and unprecedented choreography, it's no question that Evans is a force to be reckoned with. The future only looks bright for this guy.

7. Ti West

In terms of filmmakers in the horror genre (a genre that holds my attention in particular) not too many people have made me aware of their talents faster than Ti West. Seemingly out of nowhere a PERFECT grindhouse/psychological thriller named The House of the Devil comes out and surpasses both Robert Rodriguez's and Tarantino's attempt at making a vintage drive-in horror movie. The result is an engaging, tense, and spooky horror movie that not only imitates the likes of Carpenter and Argento but matches some of their best films in terms of quality. Since then, West has been putting out some of the most creative and innovative films in the horror genre with his latest being the modernized found-footage film, The Sacrament taking its influence from the real-life mass suicide of the Jim Jones cult.

6. Lucky McKee

No one makes or has ever made horror films like Lucky McKee; no one. Here's a director who desperately needs more attention. Creating horror films that work against the conventions of the genre while also introducing controversial and social topics in his works as well. Making his studio debut with one of the greatest horror films of the decade, May, McKee created a sensitive, introspective, relatable and feminine work in a time where machismo, ultra violence, and gore-porn was rampant. He discussed the loner, the weirdo, the awkward and the socially anxious in a way that was as caring and genuine as any art-house film. He was immediately put in the Masters of Horror series fresh off of the minor success of May and made the short film Sick Girl,and while goofy, it confronted homosexuality and female stereotypes. He out did himself once again with 2011's The Woman, again addressing sexuality, rape, and the social limitations put on women. McKee is an entirely different voice in horror and his socially-aware, smarter-than-average films should have made his contemporaries turn their head's in his direction and take note.

5. Shane Carruth

With only two feature films under his belt in the last 10 years (Primer, Upstream Color), its pretty established just from these works that Carruth is on a different level of cerebral filmmaking than almost anyone else. With little resources and minimal casts, Carruth is an ideal example of an inspiring director for aspiring filmmakers. Extraordinarily intelligent scripts, with provocative ideas and dreamy environments, Carruth proves that all you need is a camera and creativity to go out there and make your movie. Let's hope it doesn't take another decade for him to make his next film.

4. Don Coscarelli

Yeah, in many respects Don Coscarelli is a horror legend. After all, he created the Phantasm series, one of the most iconic horror franchises of the 1970s...but after, well, Beastmaster, Coscarelli sort of lost the attention of the masses and was almost strictly relegated to making Phantasm sequels, and yet, in my opinion his very best work has been what he's made in the 2000s and onward. Feverishly creative cult films, that are the weirdest plots ever conceived on paper, and yet seem perfectly normal when executed by Coscarelli with such heart and passion put into them. The Elvis battles mummy comedy, Bubba Ho-Tep is to this day one of the funniest movies I've ever seen and while is as wacky as it seems and features Bruce Campbell in his very best performance in film, it also succeeds in having tremendous poignancy and love. He followed that up about a decade later with the science fiction adventure, John Dies at the End, a tragically underrated and under-seen film with a brilliant screenplay by writer, David Wong. With mind-bending plot devices and legendary character actors, Coscarelli again pulls of an immensely funny film that has the potential of being one of the great cult-comedies of the decade.

3. Jonathan Glazer

Glazer is the newest face in a line of the very best surrealist filmmakers. One could compare him to David Lynch or Jodorowsky, but Glazer is his own breed. Films like Birth and Under the Skin are certainly not for everyone, but for the people he did make them for, his films are deeply personal and deeply disturbing experience. Slow and enigmatic, Glazer shows us a new interpretation of the nightmare film. He's certainly developed a following, but it's only a matter of time until he's considered of the greats of this era.

2. Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger

In my opinion this duo are the greatest documentary filmmakers in history. Directing my favorite documentary ever-made with 1996's Paradise Lost: The Child Muders at Robin Hood Hills, as well as the equally immersive, Brother's Keeper (1992), I personally don't think I've ever been more lost in a film than in the one's directed by these two. Brother's Keeper especially, with it's dense atmosphere and everything from seeing the brother's everyday lives, to the court scenes, to the slaughtering of a pig, it somehow carries this dreamy essence that sucks you in, and makes you want to shake your head to pull you out of it, and realize you've been sitting in a room watching this occur on film.

It's with their Paradise Lost series however, that changed history, giving everyone a second look at a crime that would have been swept under the rug and three innocent people would have died in prison if it wasn't for these films. No film had ever affected me as deeply as the first film in that series. All 3 movies were done differently as well, which is even more impressive. The original is a dark, cinematic, dirty, confusing, and strange story. The second is even that much more disturbing, subjective, and really makes the viewer realize the hellish nightmare the 3 imprisoned had been going through. As for the third it's a much more wide scope due to the fact that there were in fact many more eyes on Arkansas and the case and all the help and support is what brought everything to where it is today, the 3 out of prison...and all due 100% to these films. It's still not a happy ending, and they make that fact more than abundantly clear. They're still making films both separately as well as a team and will continue to make seriously provocative eye-opening works.

1. Joon-ho Bong

I've been quite firm in my opinion that Joon-ho Bong was the best filmmaker to come out of the 2000s; bar none. Developing a world full of personality both of harsh, deplorable violence and crime counteracted with generous warmth and humor, nothing else feels like a Joon-ho Bong film. From 2003's Memories of Murder, a true crime film that rivals, if not surpasses Fincher's Zodiac as the best true crime film of the decade to the startlingly unique monster movie, The Host, and the personal and deeply moving crime-drama, Mother, Joon-ho Bong has created a universe that is as iconic and realized as the works of the Coen brothers.


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