Like any other kind of artist or creative person, film directors don’t want to do the same thing all the time. They want to stretch their creative muscles once in a while. Result: Movies directed by about the last person you’d expect.
He’s one of the biggest “cult” filmmakers of all time, responsible for unsettling brain-benders like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mullholland Drive, and the baffling TV series Twin Peaks. But Lynch does branch out from time to time. In 1984, he directed the science-fiction epic Dune (which he took on after turning down the chance to direct Return of the Jedi). And in 1999, he directed the quiet, affecting G-rated The Straight Story. It’s the true story of Alvin Straight, an old timer who rides his tractor cross-country to visit his dying brother.
By the time the 1980s rolled around, the erstwhile Spock wasn’t being cast in movies anymore, and turned to hosting TV shows and directing. He started off with episodic television and made-for-TV movies, before helming both Star Trek III and Star Trek IV. In 1987, he directed the most successful movie of that year: the comedy Three Men and a Baby.
Lumet usually directed searing, emotionally-intense films about men on the brink. His work includes classics like Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, and 12 Angry Men. But maybe he needed a break from the serious stuff, because in 1978 he directed the movie adaptation of The Wiz, the soul music-style Broadway musical version of The Wizard of Oz.
Craven was a master of horror, responsible for shaping the genre with films like The Last House on the Left, Scream, and, most especially, A Nightmare on Elm Street. In 1999, he sat in the director’s chair for Music of the Heart, a tear-jerking movie about an inspirational inner city music teacher played by Meryl Streep.
One of the most talked about (and highest grossing) movies of 2017 is the satirical horror film Get Out. It was directed by Jordan Peele, one half of the duo behind Key & Peele, Comedy Central’s Emmy Award-winning sketch comedy series.
Along with his brother David Zucker and collaborator Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker created a whole new kind of movie: the parody movie, loaded with relentless jokes. Known as ZAZ, the team wrote and directed Airplane! and The Naked Gun, among other projects. But Jerry Zucker also had a knack for romantic supernatural drama. He directed the 1990 movie Ghost, which earned more than $200 million and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.