John Carpenter – When he’s good he is really good. From his student film, Dark Star (1974), to his big slasher/horror films of the late ’70s & ’80s, and his soundtracks, and underrated gems like Prince of Darkness (1987) & In the Mouth of Madness (1995)… Hopefully he’s got some great films left to make. Cigarette Burns is next on my watch-list, if I can only find a copy with seeders!
Roger Corman – some of his films are clearly not great, but given the conditions he was working under (very low budgets and very short pre-production, shooting and post-production times), it is impressive how watchable they are. His finest films, the Poe adaptations starring Vincent Price, are fantastic. When you take into consideration that these were made much under the same conditions, it makes me appreciate them even more – there is a sense of artistry and class here that is all but lost in modern-day low-budget filmmaking.
David Lynch – easily the most unique mainstream director working today. Like Carpenter he also makes music and is involved in the soundtracks as well, which really completes his films & TV shows.
And, since I am not NWR, he deserves a place on my list as well. I have enjoyed everything he’s made so far.