St. Louis-born Dan O'Bannon made his first -- and arguably greatest impact to date -- as a screenwriter, on Alien (1979). But as a film student in southern California, he also made a major contribution as an actor/co-author/editor/special effects man on John Carpenter's first movie Dark Star (1974), a spoof of science fiction that became a major underground hit during the '70s and '80s. With two such credits under his belt and a predilection for such subject matter, O'Bannon has been a major force in science fiction and horror movies ever since. His screenplays have ranged from the eerie horror outing Dead and Buried (1981) to the action hit Blue Thunder (1983), and the compelling Lifeforce (1985), as well as Invaders from Mars (1986), both directed by Tobe Hooper, and the 1990 megahit Total Recall. His record is a somewhat mixed one, as Lifeforce, adapted from the work of Colin Wilson, is usually (and unfairly) regarded as a confusing failure, while Total Recall, based on the work of Philip K. Dick, was a major success in reaching mass audiences. As a director, O'Bannon also scored a good-sized hit with Return of the Living Dead (1985), one of the sequels to George Romero and John Russo's Night of the Living Dead.