Extreme horror is a field that often requires a unique vision and a courageous approach to film-making, not taking any prisoners and making bold decisions that other branches of cinema would often shy away from. Directors will often come back time and time again to the area and produce new and daring work. So here's Film Gutter's top five directors of extreme cinema – which comes with a caveat of this one being purely personal...
Five – Jorg Buttgereit
Germany has always had a strong line in extreme cinema, and one of the earlier directors in the field was Jorg Buttgereit, who left a distinctive impression in the late 80s and early 90s and an undoubted legacy for future filmmakers. Whilst movies such as Nekromantik and Schramm were distinctly shocking and controversial, there was also an element of artistry as well and his films still hold up well today.
Four – Lucifer Valentine
One of the most infamous directors working today, Valentine is one of very few people who can claim a truly unique cinema vision. The Vomit Gore Trilogy are well among the sickest, most twisted movies out there, genuinely pushing the envelope of what is acceptable to show and screen and testing its viewer to the maximum. For all that, they are incredibly powerful pieces of work that you're not liable to forget in a hurry, and for me there is a message in there if you're willing to give them a chance.
Three – Marian Dora
Another great extreme director to emerge from Germany, Dora is another name who has left an indelible mark on the subgenre. His magnum opus, Melancholie Der Engel, is really something to behold and remains a staple feature of the majority of 'most disturbing film' lists. It also encapsulates so much of what Dora is about – beautifully shot movies that also don't shy away from truly sickening content. While some of his other work doesn't reach that level, there are plenty of other strong movies such as Cannibal and Debris Documentar well worth watching.
Two – Tom Six
Those of you who have read my reviews and know my feelings on The Human Centipede movies will not be surprised to see Tom so high up on this list. All three movies stick with the same core concept but offer something very different, from the mad scientist horror of part one to the truly shocking body horror of the sequel, wrapping up with the darker-than-dark comedy of the third and final part. Never a director to settle for the same thing again or self-censor (although many film boards have decided to do that for him), I'm genuinely hoping new movie The Onania Club can find a release one of these days...
One – Phil Stevens
One of the newest names on the scene, Phil Stevens crashed onto the extreme horror scene with the brilliant Flowers – a brutal, surrealistic nightmare in sepia without a word of dialogue. Stunningly artistic and extremely complex, this is a movie that has borne many watches and lost nothing with each repeat. Even more impressively, Stevens followed that with the equally fantastic Lung II, every bit as strange and wonderful and disturbing as its predecessor. Paradise is in the works and I can't wait to see what this great talent offers up next.