Texas-born Carpenter ventured off to Los Angeles to attend UCLA Film School in the mid-'80s. When he graduated, he wrote and directed his first film, The Dorm That Dripped Blood. The low-budget shocker became a cult classic.
Following his first success, he continued to work in the horror genre and wrote and directed The Kindred and The Power, both of which were equally successful as his first.
At the turn of the century, he took back the director's chair to make his big-budget directing debut with the horror/thriller Soul Survivors (2001). His next script, Ocean's Eleven, was also released, featuring an all-star cast.