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Horror Movie Directors

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The horror movie industry has brought us many inspiring and creative directors. These directors have influenced a lot of people and other directors also in the world today. They have given many people ideas to create mind-blowing special effects and blood splattering gore. Here are some of my favorite horror movie directors, their backgrounds, and movies of theirs I enjoy. John Carpenter was born January 15, 1948 in Carthage, New York, and raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky. From a young age, Carpenter showed a strong interest in films and filmmaking. Science fiction cinema from the 1950s had a strong influence on him during his youth. His father, a musician, also influenced him in his musical skills. In the late 1960s, Carpenter enrolled in the film program at the University of Southern California (USC), one of the most respected film schools in the United States. In the early 1970s, while still at USC, Carpenter directed his first film. Dark Star (1975) was a science fiction motion picture that told the story of four astronauts on a mission to destroy unstable worlds, with the hope of making future space exploration and colonization a safer venture. Dark Star is remarkable for being one of the first films to portray a postmodernist futuristic environment. Undeniably, one of the best parts is when the astronauts engage in a philosophical discussion with a malfunctioning nuclear bomb, trying to persuade it not to explode inside the ship. As a student film, with a very low budget, Dark Star was an incredibly challenging film to make. Nevertheless, the film was successfully completed and received a limited theatrical release. It became an instant cult classic and was given overall positive reviews from critics and audiences worldwide. But most importantly, it showed Carpenter was a creative, clever, and resourceful film maker.

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) was Carpenter's first professional production; it is one of his most accomplished movies. This film could be described as a remake of Howard Hawk's classic western Rio Bravo (1959). Assault on Precinct 13 is a story of a police station under siege by a ruthless and vicious gang. For this low-budget, independent film, Carpenter enjoyed a great degree of creative control, which allowed him to make an extremely violent, but highly stylized, story of urban violence.

Carpenter's next film, Halloween (1978), is the best film of his career to date. Halloween has a very simple storyline-a female babysitter being terrorized by an unstoppable serial killer. Carpenter produced a powerful story of a young woman, and the way a violent situation forces her to discover an unseen side of herself. The movie starts out with the first person point of view shots of the killer; what he sees, you see, as if you were the killer. Then it gradually merges into a bare white mask. Michael Meyers, the killer, goes on a murderous rampage, sadistically killing teenagers all over town. There ended up being eight sequels to this film.

Another great film of Carpenter's, The Thing (1982), pits the members of an Antarctic station battling an alien that absorbs and imitates living things, and transforms human flesh into gruesome creatures. One of the interesting effects about the movie is that you don't know who is infected by the creature. It could be anyone of the crew, but they don't know who. The Thing could easily be Carpenter's most challenging and technical film to date. The design of the monster remains one of the most frightening creatures in cinema history.

Carpenter went on to make many other films, including Christine (1983), Star Man (1984), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988), In the Mouth of Madness (1995), Village of the Damned a 1995 remake of the 1960 classic science fiction film, Escape from LA (1996), Vampires (1998), and Ghosts of Mars (2001).

My second director, Tobe Hooper, was born January 25, 1943, in Austin, Texas. Hooper spent most of the 1960s as a college teacher and documentary cameraman. While he was teaching, he organized a small cast, of teachers and students, to make The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). This film was made on a very low budget and became a cult classic. Hooper based the film upon the real life exploits of Ed Gein, a cannibalistic killer responsible for the grisly murders of several people in the 1950s. The film was about five teenagers who run out of gas on an isolated Texas highway. One by one, the teens are mutilated and killed by Leatherface, the character based on Gein. Leatherface's mask was made out of human flesh, and his weapon of choice was a chainsaw. He also hung his live victims up on meat hooks.

Hooper later reunited the cast from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for Eaten Alive (1976). A gory horror film centered around a caretaker of a motel who feeds his guests to his pet alligator, "Eaten Alive" won many awards at horror film festivals. Hooper went on to make many other films like The Dark (1979), Stephen King's 1979 mini-series Salem's Lot, and The Funhouse (1981). Hooper found greater mainstream success in 1982 when Steven Spielberg asked him to direct Poltergeist. The movie became a top-ranking major motion picture. After Poltergeist his movie career went down. Hooper went 3 years until he found work again; he signed a 3-year contract with Menahem Golan and Cannon Films. He went on to direct Life Force (1985), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Night Terrors (1993), and The Mangler (1995). Hooper also directed numerous horror television sitcoms.

To date, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is his best work; as Rex Reed said, "It's the scariest film I have ever seen." Leonard Martin writes, "While not nearly as gory as its title suggests Massacre is a genuinely terrifying film made even more unsettling by its twisted, but undeniably hilarious black comedy."( Tobe Hooper is truly a great "Master of Horror."

My third director, George A. Romero, was born February 4, 1940, in New York City. Romero grew up in New York before attending Pittsburgh,



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