Notable movies: Halloween, Escape from New York, The Thing
Though deep pockets can go a long way toward cinematic innovation, John Carpenter has long been the poster child for the fact that financial constraints can be a boon to creativity. Case in point: 1978’s Halloween. Shot on a budget of just $325,000, the film went on to make $70 million in theaters, making it one of the most profitable independent films of all time (even to this day). Though it’s often credited as one of the first slasher flicks, Carpenter took a cue from Spielberg’s Jaws in leaving it up to the audience to fill in many of the horror elements; though it’s filled with frightening imagery, there’s actually very little gore or graphic violence. Though dozens of filmmakers have attempted to re-create similar movie magic over the years—including the nine films that followed in the franchise—its ingenuity (and genuine frights) have never been matched.