John Carpenter

For most of his life, John Carpenter had been directing films. Surrounded by artistic influences ever since he was young - his father was an accomplished violinist and his mother routinely took him to movies - Carpenter naturally made the transition from childhood experimenter, to film student, to finally, professional director. Unexpected, however, was his making one the most important horror films ever in "Halloween" (1978), a chilling tale of a serial killer terrorizing a small town that was shot for a mere $300,000 and became one of the most profitable films of all time. Without stars, special effects or visible gore - there was nary a drop of blood on screen - "Halloween" launched Carpenter's career, while spawning untold numbers of imitators, no less than six direct sequels, and one (awful) remake. Though he went on to direct other seminal films - "Escape from New York" (1981), "Christine" (1983) and "Big Trouble In Little China" (1986) - Carpenter was forever remembered for creating a new horror subgenre - the slasher flick - that has often been imitated, but never duplicated.