Began making movies at age nine after discovering his father's 8mm camera
Made first short (with sound), "The Abyss"
Directed short entitled "Heisters"
Directed award-winning short film, "Down Friday Street"
Broke into professional filmmaking via commericals and industrials
Directed a PBS documentary on the folk trio, "Peter, Paul, and Mary"; first produced effort
Feature debut as producer, director and screenwriter, "Eggshells (An American Freak Odyssey)", a story about the decline of the peace movement; won award at the Atlanta Film Festival but failed to find a distributor
Feature acting debut, "The Windsplitter"
Gained notoriety by directing, producing, co-writing (with Kim Hendel), and score composer (with Wayne Bell) the horror/exploitation classic, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"; produced on a budget of $155,000, went on to reputedly gross $50 million (reports vary considerably) but, due to complications with distribution, its maker received only a fraction of his contractual share
Completed second feature "Eaten Alive/Death Trap/Legend of the Bayou/Horror Hotel/Starlight Slaughter" (directed; wrote story; composed score); had extreme creative differences with the producers who recut the film
Fired as the helmer of a feature entitled "The Dark"; replaced by John Bud Carlos
TV directing debut, directed the well-received CBS miniseries "Salem's Lot", the first TV adaptation of a Stephen King work
Fired as helmer of horror feature "Venom"; replaced by Piers Haggard
Experienced extreme creative differences with producers of "The Funhouse" which he directed
Helmed first big-budget studio feature, "Poltergeist" produced by Steven Spielberg; feature rumored to have been actually co-directed by the overpowering auteur
Dissatisfied with scripts being offered, directed "Dancing With Myself", a music video for recording artist Billy Idol
Signed a three-picture deal with Menahem Golan and Yorum Globus of Cannon Films
First credit as a modelmaker, also provided music, co-produced, and directed, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2", a gory yet satirical sequel to his 1974 landmark
TV series directing debut, "Amazing Stories"
Directed the pilot episode ("No More Mr. Nice Guy") for the syndicated horror anthology series "Freddy's Nightmares"
First screenwriting collaboration with visual effects artist ("Lifeforce" 1985; "The Mangler" 1995) cum writing partner Stephen Brooks, "Spontaneous Combustion" (also directed); released direct-to-video; they also co-scripted "The Mangler" (1995)
TV-movie (as opposed to miniseries) directing debut, "I'm Dangerous Tonight", a supernatural thriller for the USA Network
Directed first TV special, "Haunted Lives . . . True Ghost Stories" for CBS
Directed a segment ("Eye") for the omnibus Showtime telefilm "John Carpenter Presents Body Bags" (also acted)
Signed an exclusive multi-year development deal with Walt Disney TV to create, produce and direct series, movies and miniseries through his Amberson Films
Directed the pilot for UPN's "Nowhere Man", a cultish suspense series
Credited as special visual effects creator on the UPN special "Real Ghosts II" (also directed)
Helmed the two-hour pilot/series premiere of the NBC period sci-fi thriller "Dark Skies"
Directed the "Beyond the Sky" episode of Steven Spielberg's miniseries "Taken" (Sci-fi)