Badass Writer of the Week: Debra Hill

Debra Hill

Debra Hill

By Sean Tuohy

Despite only having a handful of writing credits to her name, producer/writer Debra Hill did more to change Hollywood than most. During her 30-year career, Hill helped bring some of the most beloved films to the big screen.

Hill started off her filmmaking career as a script supervisor. She found herself on the set of an ultra-low budget film “Assault On Precinct 13,” which was being filmed by first-time director John Carpenter. The two struck up a friendship and partnership that would last till the end of Hill’s career. They ended up working on a script about babysitters being terrorized by a masked serial killer on Halloween.

“Halloween” became a surprise box office smash when it was released. The film’s success transformed John Carpenter into a well respected and sought after director and Hill into a top-level producer. The pair also worked together on cult classics like The Fog”, “Escape from New York,” and “Halloween 2.”

When not working with Carpenter, Hill was busy producing films of her own. “The Dead Zone,” “The Fisher King,” and “World Trade Center” are some of the 30 titles that she helped produce. Her body of work is even more impressive because she came to fame during a time when women in film were mostly relegated to hair and makeup.

Hill also produced films that most people assumed woman would not like, including horror, action, and thrillers. She is also credited with helping to create the booming “teen slasher” subgenre.

In 2004, Hill discovered she was had cancer. At the time of her death in 2005, she was working on “World Trade Center.” We assume she’s twirling a knife somewhere, crafting new, unsuspecting victims for Michael Myers. 

Badass Writers of the Week