Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

16 Unexpectedly Influential Film Directors of the 20th Century


14
John Carpenter

A lifelong fan of horror movies, John Carpenter reinvented the genre in 1978 with Halloween, and unwittingly inspired a flood of "holiday" horror films: Mother's Day, My Bloody Valentine, Friday the 13th, and many more. Carpenter laid the ground rules with a young woman in peril inside a weirdly shadowed house, an indestructible maniac on the loose, dark rooms that the heroine has an inexplicable urge to enter, and fiendishly effective shock moments. Halloween is a perennial favorite, and still a high point of blunt, low-budget moviemaking.