Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the original King of the Vampires, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of the most unlikely blockbusters I can think of. Everything about it seemed ripe for failure: It’s far too artsy, the plot itself is vague and unengaged, the actual scares and gore horror movies are known for are pretty few, and it’s completely self-indulgent. Yet, armed with a production budget of $40 million, it went on to make $215 million worldwide.
Very rarely are there directors or filmmakers that I would outright label as an “auteur.” An auteur, I think, is someone who has their work oft-copied and oft-imitated, but has such an original visual flare that you can instantly recognize the real deal from a forgery as long as you’re pretty familiar with the real work from the master. I would consider Martin Scorsese to be an auteur, especially in his early work. Wes Anderson fits the bill–you know you’re watching a Wes Anderson movie just by a single frame and its composition.
To that end, I would definitely label Guillermo del Toro as an auteur.
George A. Romero’s career has varied wildly, from smash hits to forgotten gems to curious oddities that only the man who made Night of the Living Dead could manage to ever get funded. And while I haven’t experienced his full filmography, here is a list of his works I have seen and will hopefully be a place to start for anyone previously uninitiated with his films.