Welcome to our regular Top 7 list where we ask filmmakers, celebrities, and movie fans to tell us who deserves a spot. For this FEAR issue, we’ve compiled the Top 7 Most Influential in Horror. After weeks of research, talking to horror fans, and even getting thoughts from horror masterminds Oren Peli (Director - Paranormal Activity, Insidious) and Dan Myrick (Director – The Blair Witch Project), we are excited to present to you this list of intense and horrifying talent.
1. LEIGH WANNELL: THE UNSTOPPABLE FORCE OF HORROR
As both a writer and an actor, Leigh has been an influential force for the horror genre for over a decade. He starred in, and co-created (with James Wan), one of the most successful horror franchises ever – SAW – and more recently wrote and again starred in INSIDIOUS 1 and 2.
As a producer on the INSIDIOUS franchise, I was lucky to get to know Leigh and found him to always be an incredibly smart writer. He understands characters and how to make the audience care about them, and he's a master at crafting tension and scary moments.
On INSIDIOUS 3, in addition to writing and acting, he took on the task of directing for the first time. Being both the writer and director, he had full control to bring his creative vision to life and although this was his first time behind the camera, he guided the film with confidence and ease.
I am looking forward to seeing what comes next from his mind. I'm sure it'll be creatively and visually groundbreaking.”
Oren Peli is a horror writer, director, and producer. His latest film Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is in theaters October 23.
2. GUILLERMO DEL TORO: HORROR‘S CREATIVE MASTERMIND
“There are those filmmakers that inspired me to be one myself. Guillermo del Toro inspires me to keep being one. When I witness his artistry on screen, I can't help but admire his vision and independent spirit, a unique talent that has helped to transform and reinvigorate an industry that can so easily become cynical and mundane. He's proof positive that being a decent person, as well as a successful artist are not mutually exclusive states of being, which, for me, makes his accomplishments all the more satisfying.”
Daniel Myrick is the writer and director of The Blair Witch Project. He just wrapped production on his latest project, Under the Bed.
3. JASON BLUM: SUPER-PRODUCER CHANGING THE GAME
Horror is a genre that everyone is aware of, and the Blumhouse logo is a horror fan’s favorite opening scene. Jason Blum is a firm believer in doing what you love and succeeding at it, and his company, Blumhouse Productions, is well known for both. The small budgets and box office hits with films such as Insidious, The Purge, Sinister, and Eli Roth's new film The Green Inferno prove that Blum loves what he does. His dedication to projects and allowing directors to tell their story the way they envision them is something Hollywood doesn't normally allow. Blum has proven that large stacks of money aren't required to make a good movie.
"As soon as you take away a lot of the toys and special effects, if forces writers/directors to focus on story and characters, which makes the movie stronger as a result" – Jason Blum
As long as the horror genre is alive, Blum will be involved: bringing out the best in his writers and directors, and time after time bringing something new to the screen.
Zachary is a Moviepilot Creator
4. ELIJAH WOOD: HORROR‘S GREATEST CHAMPION
You've probably seen Elijah Wood in 90's teen horror The Faculty as a student battling alien-possessed teachers, but you may not know how deep his commitment to the horror genre runs. His work for SpectreVision - a creative forum for quality horror material - has produced such excellently dark movies as stylish Iranian Vampire-Noir A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and twisted thriller Open Windows, which also sees Wood take the lead role. Wood is also central to the operation's SpectreFest, a horror showcase of the slickest, most inventive horrors-of-the-moment: leading with Austrian creeptacular Goodnight Mommy and wry 80's throwback The Final Girls, Elijah Wood continues to have his finger on the throbbing, breath-quickening pulse of the horror industry.
Jancy is a Senior Staff Writer at Moviepilot
5. ELI ROTH: KING OF THE SPLAT PACK
Eli Roth wears many hats in Hollywood: writer, director, producer and actor. His work has not always been well received by critics, but to horror fans he is the splatter king. With the release of The Green Inferno, Roth is breathing a gory new life into horror. He is also using his name to help independent filmmakers get their work out to the public with his network Crypt TV.
Roth’s determination, creativity and genuine personality make him an inspiration to all up-and-comers. He has all of the attributes to be a true Master of Horror. His upcoming film, MEG, about a Navy diver trying to prove that Megalodon is not extinct, is a departure from his usual splatter work but with Roth at the helm, it is sure to be a must see.
Eli Roth is the head of the Splat Pack, and has reinvented the cannibal, splatter and torture porn style films. He has single-handedly created this new horror sub-genre, and his star will only get brighter and bloodier.
Melissa is a Moviepilot Creator
6. RYAN MURPHY: THE HEAD OF TV HORROR
Think about the term “horror”; what does it mean to you? Does it mean a film so horrifying that you slept with your lights blazing to keep the monsters away? Does it mean a novel frightening enough to consume your mind not only within the pages, but also outside of them?
Now think about horror on television. I guarantee that your first thought is American Horror Story, brought to you by the ingenious Ryan Murphy: the man responsible for bringing big-screen-horror to small screens everywhere. With his knack for creating hit series’ (his first success was Nip/Tuck), Murphy has exploded on to the horror scene as a force to be reckoned with. Creating American Horror Story complete with characters beloved, hated, and feared, placed him on the map for frightening fans. His new series, Scream Queens, starring horror legend Jamie Lee Curtis, graced the small screen on September 23, 2015 with an overall view count of 4.032 million views, and there’s no sign of Murphy slowing down. Murphy’s newest season of American Horror Story titled Hotel aired on FX on October 7, 2015 with a stellar cast, and spooky storyline.
Taylor is a Moviepilot Creator
7. SCOTT DERICKSON: MARVEL‘S MAN WITH A VERY DARK PLAN
Scott Derrickson has been in the horror game for a while now. As a writer and director, he’s worked almost exclusively in horror, as both the pen and eye behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, and Deliver Us From Evil.
But Derrickson’s biggest impact has yet to be felt. As the director of the upcoming Doctor Strange, he is tasked with leading Marvel, known for its bright, primary colors and family-friendly films, into the weird beyond-the-visible map. Doctor Strange will be dark - very dark. Derrickson will take Marvel to the edge of horror, introducing darkness and psychological trippiness to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - a hard task at the best of times, but even harder when you’re breaking the mold of the firmly established Marvel machine. In another director’s hands, it might be a failure. But Derrickson is philosophical, spiritual, and fully comfortable in the realm of horror. In other words, he is the perfect person to lay the groundwork for the evolution of the biggest studio in the world.
Alisha is Moviepilot‘s Editor-at-large
This article was originally posted in the Moviepilot Magazine – Fear Issue.