Guillermo del Toro
"I think there is a very quiet power in things that are not on screen."
When you think creature effects, probably the first name that comes to mind is Stan Winston. Ranging from Alien to Terminator, if you needed practical effects for your movie's creature, his name was at the top of the list. While today, most of that would just be done with CGI, Guillermo del Toro still uses more practical effects than many directors, but with a completely different feel than Winston's. Whereas Winston's work was all about the proficiency, and had a sci-fi feel to it, del Toro's is all about the creep factor. As far back as Mimic, del Toro's creatures have always made the viewer at least a little uneasy.
I did his "4 best" blocks on his movies as a director, but he's actually been twice as prolific as a producer. In that vein, he's given us highly successful films like Mama, but also criminally overlooked gems like Splice and The Orphanage. His latest, Pacific Rim, was quite a departure from his usual M.O. With a massive budget, and arguably the most muted horror elements of any of his pictures (the Kaijus are really more Godzilla-style impressive than creepy), it also became his largest box office performer, although it needed to rely heavily on the foreign box office to do it, grossing barely over $100 million domestically.
His upcoming projects are all over the map. His series in development at FX, "The Strain", will be about vampires and should give him ample room to creep us out, as his vampires are radically physically different from the traditional ones, sharing a few similarities with the Reapers from Blade II. After that, he's set to produce and direct Crimson Peak, in his words a "modern take on the ghost story." Boasting an impressive cast, that movie should excite horror fans. And just in case you were wondering, yes, he's writing the script for Pacific Rim 2 even though that movie hasn't officially been greenlit.
To watch his movies is to see a man turned loose to put his ample imagination onto the screen. If you need another reason to check out something of his, here's a memorable one from Pan's Labyrinth: