Some directors are known for their use of colours, others for the repetition of similar story themes. The directors in this list, however, can all be recognised by their unapologetic use of on-screen violence.
Whether a graphic shot (or many shots) in the head or a vivid knife to someone’s throat, these directors love to bring out the gore and viciousness of their characters, leaving some viewers repulsed and some loving it so much that they keep coming back for more.
Of course, there are directors who exploit violence for the sake of the spectacle-triggering critique of violence in film, but other have used it to the film’s advantage, crafting it in to force a powerful effect and stir up the viewer.
So here is a list of 10 directors who are obsessed with violence and never fail to impress or disgust the audience. At least when you’re going into one of their movies, you know what to expect!
10. Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock was a complicated director and a complicated man, filled with hopeless insecurities and problems. Therefore, it is no wonder that he channelled this personality through his movies, and a did so lot of the time through violence. Working in the thriller genre, violence seems like a natural component.
However, just adding a touch of violence would be too easy and completely un-Hitchcock-like. With his film “Psycho,” he pushed the Hollywood boundaries like nobody else at the time. Not only did he include graphic violence, but he drew out the story to even sympathise with the killer. Providing one of the earliest portrayals of violence, Hitchcock left cinema changed forever.
9. Martin Scorsese
Although Martin Scorsese has worked in many genres and has made movies about various themes, including themes as polar opposite to violence as religion (although even that can realistically have violent connotations), Scorsese is mostly known for and is associated with films like “Goodfellas” and “Taxi Driver” that of course include quite a lot of violence, which is no surprise if you’re dealing with gangsters and mental instability.
In his films, he shows off the explicit scenes in the most artistic ways, creating disturbing reactions. And although people have claimed otherwise, it cannot be ignored that his obsession with violence is meaningless and without reason; having grown up surrounded by its various forms, violence became something Scorsese understood, which he tries to portray in a non-exaggerated manner and pass on the impressions it left on him.
8. Quentin Tarantino
If anyone is unapologetic in filling his films with violence and blood, it’s Quentin Tarantino. Despite having commented on not approving real-world violence, Tarantino highly enjoys putting it into his stories and making the most out of it, despite any contradictions this attitude may raise.
From the infamous torture scene in “Reservoir Dogs” where Mr. Blonde merrily cuts off an officer’s ear, to the battle in “Kill Bill Vol. 1” ending with Uma Thurman slicing off her opponent’s skull, Tarantino enjoys treating his viewers to gruesome images – the gorier, the better. But arguably, his violence always serves a purpose to the characters and the storyline, which excuses the sometimes exaggerated use of blood and cut flesh.
7. Yorgos Lanthimos
Yorgos Lanthimos, as one of the leaders of the Greek New Wave, never fails to amaze his viewers with black comedy, shocking us again and again with his use of violence. The director has a tendency of using strong, graphic violence to make equally strong points about society and humanity. Breaking into the international attention with his film “Dogtooth,” Lanthimos seems to have become darker and darker ever since.
Unlike most directors who love using violence, the Greek director has incredibly detailed violent scenes, although a lot of the violence is even more shocking through its implication, showing his true craft. We don’t need to see Colin Farrell cut out his eye with a steak knife to feel and imagine the picture as the camera pans out of the diner (“The Lobster”).
6. Park Chan-Wook
Park Chan-Wook is one of the fantastic visionaries brought to us from South Korea, using his brilliant style to portray his violence.
But Park is so much more than just visual violence – in fact, his films don’t even have that much death at all! What is more interesting and horrifying is what his violence represents in terms of the meaning generated for his films and the characters. Violence for him always comes in strong forms of emotions, whether they be anger or jealousy, and most commonly forces some form of vengeance. Like most directors who love violence, Park is never afraid to confront his audience and cause discomfort – after all, isn’t film all about emotional response?