Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
A harrowing music theme and ominous, non-verbal scenes of deserted streets, gathering passive-aggressive gangs and a police force caught in the middle of a transition from old-fashioned to modern set the stage for this intense and tight chiller from writer/director/editor/composer John Carpenter. The talented filmmaker had just made his first feature, Dark Star, and was given full artistic freedom by producer J. S. Kaplan. Carpenter has said that he drew inspiration from both Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo and George Romero's Night of the Living Dead when writing the script, and while that's an interesting combo, it's not really the script in itself that makes Assault on Precinct 13 so effective, even if it's clever enough. The secret is Carpenter's craftmanship behind the camera and the rather unique mood which is created by the combination of his camerawork, his musical score and the somewhat stylized performances he gets out of his actors. There's little doubt that Michael Jackson drew inspiration from Assault on Precinct 13 for his many successful music videos of the 1980s.