Brian De Palma
Though he entered filmmaking at the same time as such luminaries as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Arthur Penn, director Brian De Palma took a decidedly different path as his contemporaries and focused his creative efforts on making viscerally disturbing thrillers that were both stylish and excessively violent. Later dubbed the Modern Master of Suspense, De Palma owed much of his career to the original Master, Alfred Hitchcock, whose movies he remade in one fashion or another several times over. After emerging onto the scene with small independents like "Greetings" (1968) and "The Wedding Party" (1969), De Palma reworked Hitchcock's "Vertigo" (1958) into the unsuccessful thriller, "Obsession" (1976). But he had one of his most lasting successes with "Carrie" (1976), a graphic horror thriller about teen cruelty that featured one of the most memorable uses of fake blood in cinema history. Following "The Fury" (1978) and "Dressed to Kill" (1980), wherein he honed his signature stylistic flourishes, De Palma directed John Travolta in "Blow Out" (1981), one of his most critically regarded films that sadly suffered a bad fate at the box office. De Palma returned with renewed vigor and directed his most notorious film, "Scarface" (1983), which originally earned an X-rating for its graphic violence, while later becoming a favorite among many filmgoers. He followed with what many considered his best film, "The Untouchables" (1987), which was a successful blend of his usual cinematic styling with strong performances from its leading actors. The beginning of the decade saw him become responsible for one of the biggest flops in Hollywood history, "The Bonfire of the Vanities" (1990), while later directing the mega-successful "Mission: Impossible" (1996), perhaps his most straightforward studio film. Though he triumphed with the critically lauded, but underappreciated "Carlito's Way" (1993), De Palma also stumbled over the likes of "Snake Eyes" (1998), "Mission to Mars" (2000) and "The Black Dahlia" (2006), which demonstrated his ability to, on the heels of great cinematic triumphs, fail in unique and often maddening fashion.