Best known as the director of the 1984 cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, W.D. Richter had already established a reputation as a successful Hollywood screenwriter: Slither (1973), Peeper (1975), Nickelodeon (1976), Dracula in 1979, and Brubaker (1980), for which Richter garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. He wrote the 1981 film All Night Long, starring Barbra Streisand and Gene Hackman, marked the end of a busy chapter of his life as screenwriter. Not until 1991 did Richter direct again, with the sci-fi spoof Late for Dinner, starring Marcia Gay Harden and Brian Wimmer. Returning to screenwriting, Richter adapted Stephen King's novel Needful Things for a 1993 release. He then penned the script for Jodie Foster's 1995 film Home for the Holidays.