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A master of horror, John Carpenter created the 1978 thriller hit Halloween, which has inspired and influenced countless other filmmakers.
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His then-wife, actress Adrienne Barbeau, co-starred with Jamie Lee Curtis in the film. Turning to a gritty, futuristic action drama, Carpenter worked on Escape from New York (1981) starring Kurt Russell. Both films opened to disappointing reviews and mixed box office results.
Taking on one of the literary masters of horror and suspense,
Carpenter directed the big screen adaptation of Stephen King's Christine. He took a break from his usual fare for the science fiction romance Starman (1984) starring Jeff Bridges. Bridges played an alien who takes over a dead man's body and becomes involved with the man's widow (Karen Allen). The film proved to be a critical and commercial success with Bridges earning an Academy Award nomination for his work.
Returning to independent film, Carpenter has continued to work with varying degrees of success, but none matching the heights he reached with Halloween. Horror thriller Prince of Darkness (1987) and sci-fi action flick They Live (1988) failed to attract much of an audience. Carpenter tried comedy, directing 1992's Memoirs of an Invisible Man with Chevy Chase, which also proved to be a disappointment.
After the 2001 sci-fi thriller Ghosts of Mars, Carpenter took a break from directing. He worked on a few television episodes, but he did not return to the big screen until 2010 with The Ward. In the thriller starring Amber Heard and Mamie Gummer, young female patients at a mental institution suffer at the hands of an evil ghostly figure.
Carpenter has a son, Cody, from his first marriage to actress Adrienne Barbeau. The couple were married from 1979 to 1984. Carpenter has been married to producer Sandy King since 1990.
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Their creative visions unsettle, shock and haunt us—then leave us begging for more. Meet some of the biggest horror-film directors in Hollywood; the ones who not only sent chills down our spines and thrilled us with their suspenseful work, but who also made films so good, it became fun to be a little afraid.
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