While attending the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema, John Carpenter began work on DARK STAR, a science fiction comedy short that was later expanded into a feature length film and released theatrically in 1975. His second feature, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976) was partially an homage to his idol, Howard Hawks, and basically reimagined that director’s RIO BRAVO in an urban setting. Carpenter’s breakthrough film was HALLOWEEN (1978), the seminal horror film; made for $300,000, it was the most profitable independent movie of its day, and to date has spawned several sequels.
Following HALLOWEEN, he further established his reputation with such genre hits as THE FOG, THEY LIVE, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, the psychological horror film, IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, CHRISTINE and THE WARD. His rank as an action director on a wider scale is also evident in such productions as ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, VAMPIRES, THE THING, GHOSTS OF MARS, ESCAPE FROM L.A. and BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA.