10 Movies Where Famous Horror Directors Walked Away From The Genre


With the recent release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of MadnessMarvel fans got a glimpse of the horror legend’s twisted mind Sam Raimi. While the movie is still a Marvel movie at heart, Raimi was given enough leeway to add his trademark horror elements, from resurrected corpses to Bruce Campbell beat up. Despite his horror pedigree, this was Raimi’s second foray into the Marvel Universe after directing the Tobey Maguire Spider Man trilogy.

RELATED:8 Horror Movies To Check Out If You Liked ‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness’

Despite its continued success at the box office, horror is often considered a cult genre. While some horror directors stay in the genre for their entire careers, some of the biggest names in horror have branched out and made an assortment of genre-expanding films, from heart-wrenching dramas to sci-fi blockbusters.


James Wan- Death sentence (2007)

When it was reported in 2013 that James Wan would direct the seventh film of the Fast and Furious franchise, it’s been described as a dramatic genre-shifter for a director known for his horror work. However, this wasn’t the first time Wan branched out from the genre that made him famous.

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Death sentenceWan’s third film, is a gritty revenge thriller that stars Kevin Bacon as a mild-mannered family man who witnesses the brutal murder of his teenage son during a gang initiation. Unable to move past the tragedy, the grieving father becomes a vigilante as he hunts down those responsible, descending into a darkness from which he and his remaining family can never escape.

Scott Derrickson – strange doctor (2016)

Something about the mystical world of the Sorcerer Supreme makes it a perfect choice for horror directors. Scott Derricksonknown for his horror hits Claim and The Exorcism of Emily Rose was cast to bring Marvel’s resident wizard to the big screen. Derrickson leaned into his horror background to create a surreal visual spectacle through a Marvel lens.

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Derrickson was on board for the sequel, until creative differences forced him to walk away from the project, resulting in the hiring of Raimi. Derrickson has since returned to his horror roots, directing the next The black phone.

strange doctoris available to stream on Disney+.

Guillermo del Toro – Pacific Rim (2013)

Beginning his career with hard-core horror films Chronos and Imitate, Guillermo del Toro then turned to comics while keeping his horror sensibility with Blade II and Hellboy. He swept it all away Pacific Rimthe director’s homage to classic Japanese kaiju films.

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The best version of a modern Godzilla film that we are likely to receive, Pacific Rim finds a ragtag group of humans piloting giant robots in an effort to save the world from an alien threat. The film succeeds in combining over-the-top kaiju action with del Toro’s gift for storytelling and is an underrated entry in the famed director’s filmography.

Pacific Rim is available to stream on HBO Max.

Alexander Aja- Oxygen (2021)

A staple of the horror genre in the late 2000s, Alexandre Aja made one of the best horror remakes, The hills Have Eyes. The French filmmaker is also responsible for an assortment of solid and bloody horror films, such as High tension, Mirrorsand 3D piranhas.

RELATED: ‘Oxygen’ Review: Alexandre Aja Creates a Twisted Claustrophobic Sci-Fi Thriller

After releasing the Sam Raimi-product Crawl in 2019, Aja turned her talents to sci-fi with Oxygen. The film follows a woman (Melanie Laurent) who wakes up in a locked cryogenic chamber, desperate to escape before his oxygen runs out. The claustrophobic thriller is reminiscent of other single-location films such as Buried and telephone booth.

Oxygen is available to stream on Netflix.

George A. Romero- Riders (nineteen eighty one)

An underrated entry in zombie king George A. Romerothe filmography of this is the biker drama Riders. Ed Harris stars as the leader of a group of bikers, who travel across the country to compete in jousting competitions at Renaissance fairs.

Billy de Harris longs for the days of King Arthur and leads his gang as if they were a crew of motley knights. This bizarre mix of biker gangs and medieval times is reminiscent of the exploitation films of the past, but it’s more of a clever film that explores the inner workings of its characters and their desires.

Riders is available to stream on Tubi.

Eli Roth – The house with a clock in its walls (2018)

Going through the horror scene during its “torture porn” phase, Eli Roth directed horror films such as cabin fever and Hotel. Known for his dark humor and emphasis on over-the-top gore, it came as a shock when Roth was announced to direct the children’s book adaptation. The house with a clock in its walls.

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Visibly less violent than its horror efforts, the film still offers darker elements that hint at Roth’s pedigree. Jack Black and Cate Blanchett both starred in the film, and Roth is reuniting with them for his upcoming adaptation of the Borderlands series of video games.

John Charpentier – Elvis (1979)

Baz Luhrmannis to come Elvis biopic isn’t the first movie to focus on the king of rock and roll, because John Charpentier released this TV movie a year after its success Halloween. As far as the director can get from his boogeyman stalking the babysitter, the film follows the icon’s early years.

RELATED: Why ‘Elvis’ Is the Hidden Gem of John Carpenter and Kurt Russell’s Partnership

The film is a showcase of Carpenter’s cinematic talents outside of the horror and science fiction genres that made him famous. Kurt Russell stars as a singer, and he would go on to appear in some of Carpenter’s most famous films such as Escape from New York and The thing.

Wes Craven- music from the heart (1999)

Somehow, the man who gave the world such horror classics as Scream, freddieand The last house on the left is also responsible for this touching drama. Meryl Streep stars as a music teacher who teaches underprivileged children in New York City.

RELATED: How Wes Craven Repeatedly Evolved The Slasher Genre

music from the heart is the only non-horror film in Wes Cravenas well as a contribution to the anthology film Paris I love you. He was inspired to make the film after hearing about the real life Roberta Guaspari (which Streep plays) and production took place between Cry 2 and Cry 3.

Rob Zombie – The Munsters (2022)

While the next film by Rob Zombie still has its roots in the horror genre, The Munsters makes a dramatic shift in tone for the polarizing director. A modern adaptation of the 1960s sitcom, The Munsters follows a family of horror creatures in the same vein as The Addams Family.

Zombie movies typically feature deranged criminals committing unspeakable acts of violence, so it was a surprise when it was recently announced that The Munsters has been rated PG. As the first zombie movie to hold this rating, it’ll be interesting to see how it performs in a more family-friendly realm.

The Munsters hits theaters and on Peacock later this year.

David Cronenberg – A history of violence (2005)

When Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen), the owner of a small-town restaurant, foils a robbery at his establishment, he becomes a local hero. This new spotlight brings back old enemies, however, and Tom is forced to confront the darkness of his past to protect his family.

David Cronenberg is famous for its body horror films such as Fly, but that’s all thrown out the window as he crafts a taut thriller that lets his well-crafted script and talented cast shine. Cronenberg himself describes the film as a “meditation on the human body and its relationship to violence”.

A history of violence is available to stream on Tubi.

NEXT: 9 Superhero Directors Who Got Their Starts In Horror

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