Even if you’re not familiar with the name Dean Cundey, you’re certainly aware of his work. The journeyman cinematographer has worked with some of the biggest directors in the game, including Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard. He’s the genius behind some of the shots that have captured your imagination, haunted your nightmares, and made your dreams come true. Naturally, we felt it was about time to celebrate his legacy (even though he’s a daily fixture on the OPS Twitter account).
After perfecting his trade working on low budget horror and exploitation films, Cundey’s big break came in 1978 when he collaborated with the John Carpenter on the trailblazing slasher flick Halloween. You don’t need us to tell you why Halloween is widely regarded as a masterpiece of horror cinema. It changed the game. That said, as you’ll see later on, Cundey’s contributions to the film showcase a masterclass in visual storytelling which few horror films have come close to matching even to this day.
Carpenter continued to work with Cundey on subsequent films, but it didn’t take long before the Hollywood A-list came knocking at his door. In 1985, Cundey teamed up with Robert Zemeckis for Back to the Future and its sequels. In 1988, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Who Framed Roger Rabbit? You’ve probably heard of this other movie he worked on called Jurassic Park… the list goes on.
Since then, Cundey has proven himself to be as versatile as they come, having worked on everything from kids’ animated fare to some truly bewildering Adam Sandler movies. However, it is this unpredictability and willingness to constantly challenge himself that makes Cundley one of the true greats of his craft. The Academy has yet to acknowledge this, but the rest of us know what’s up.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Escape from New York
Rock ‘n’ High School
Back to the Future II