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Let's talk John Carpenter / Carpenter 101

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JoeBoy101

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MY thoughts on Carpenter's movies:

- Memoirs of an Invisible Man is surprisingly watchable. The biggest drag is Chevy Chase playing Chevy Chase, but if it had been better cast, it would have been really good.

- Always thought In The Mouth of Madness was not as good as Prince of Darkness. I adore the themes of Prince of Darkness and how they try to meld science and religion. I also love how neither one serves as a ward against the evil the hero(ine)s face.

- The Thing is the best Lovecraftian movie in my mind. Unspeakable and indescribable alien horror infesting normal people. Threatening to wipe out all of humankind. Ancient artifacts that should have been left undisturbed. In The Mouth of Madness is a decent movie, but it never seem to tie all its pieces together very well.

- Big Trouble in Little China. Damn near the perfect movie.

- The Russell/Carpenter teamup is one of the richest movie pairings I've ever seen with more quality content than I've seen matched in a long time.
 

MrCunningham

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Somebody get Carpenter to work on a video game soundtrack before it is too late. He needs to at least score one game. Are you reading this, Kojima?!

Awesome thread BTW.
 

Elandyll

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Thank you for the great OP, John Carpenter so deserves it.

Truly an underrated master of his craft, never understood why Wes Craven achieved so much more public recognition tbh.

"Cigarette Burn" is also a great episode in the Masters of Horror anthology.
"Body bags"(1993) is also, for the fans, a very enjoyable anthology directed by Carpenter and Tobe Hooper (originally planned for HBO, but re cut for theaters).
 

Foggy

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Dec 9, 2013
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He's had the best run of any genre director. 10 master class films from 1975-1988. He's the king.
 

Blader

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Assault on Precinct 13, Escape from New York and The Thing are great. I didn't think much of Halloween tbh. Saw it for the first time during last year's horror marathon and thought it paled in comparison to Black Christmas. Didn't really care for Big Trouble either.
 

Matty77

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Personally I feel he is one of the greatest directors in American cinematic history, and the fact he does not get that recognition proves the bias against genre especially horror is real.
 

Fancy Clown

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Assault on Precinct 13, Escape from New York and The Thing are great. I didn't think much of Halloween tbh. Saw it for the first time during last year's horror marathon and thought it paled in comparison to Black Christmas. Didn't really care for Big Trouble either.

I've been meaning to see Black Christmas for a long time. It sounds awesome.

Great OP, OP.

Just a nitpick. Christine had already that name for the original owner Roland LeBay. I know you haven't watched it yet, you need to fix that ASAP. It's one of my favourite movies of all time.

Fixed just 4 u

- Always thought In The Mouth of Madness was not as good as Prince of Darkness. I adore the themes of Prince of Darkness and how they try to meld science and religion. I also love how neither one serves as a ward against the evil the hero(ine)s face.

I flip flop on which one I like better. I think Prince of Darkness is the better crafted movie from a technical standpoint, is more consistantly entertaining, has a way better soundtrack, and is scarier, but Sam Neil is so good in Mouth of Madness compared to the lead of Prince of Darkness, and I think itMs movie is a little better written maybe. I donno man, I love both of them so much.

I personally blame Sam Neil for his decline. For no rational reason, I just can't stand that guy.

He's so good tho. Super underrated actor.
 

Horseticuffs

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Jan 28, 2011
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Carpenter is God, and the only film music I listen to on its own is his. Lost Themes 1 and 2 are great and it just makes me feel good that I know he's out there.

I think The Fog doesn't get enough credit. Yeah, it's not going to rewrite history but it's such a good time, and if you're a Halloween fan it's just like a greatest hits album. I watched it with my daughter a few weeks back and she was like "Look! The girl from Halloween. The other girl from Halloween too! Omg it's the guy from Halloween 3!". It was just a helluva time.

It's gonna be a sad day when he leaves us.
 

Brian_FETO

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Apr 12, 2014
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I feel silly, never realized Christine is a Carpenter film. Always thought of it as "a Steven King movie" I suppose

Saw They Live last year, I enjoyed it but I feel like it takes way too long to get going

Haven't seen Big Trouble or Escape From New York since I was a kid, I'm well overdue to rewatch them and actually remember them

Have never seen The Thing. What am I doing with my life
 

SeanC

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Oct 30, 2015
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I think The Fog doesn't get enough credit. Yeah, it's not going to rewrite history but it's such a good time, and if you're a Halloween fan it's just like a greatest hits album. .

I should see The Fog again. It's one I don't go back to regularly because I'm just not big on it. It just had a bad production, kind of messy as a result and even Carpenter isn't a fan. It's got Tom Atkins, though, so I have no excuse in not giving it more chances. Tom Atkins makes everything better.
 

inm8num2

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Apr 3, 2012
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I fucking love Starman. It's such a beautiful movie.

Can't say enough about Carpenter and how much I enjoy his work. That mid 70s to late 80s stretch is legendary.
 

FStop7

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Jan 8, 2009
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He's a creative genius and he does not mince words. He's the anti-Hollywood. His refusal to play politics has probably cost him a lot of accolades but I really don't think he cares. I saw him speak at a screening of Halloween a couple of years ago. He doesn't hold back when asked questions that other Hollywood figures might try to deflect or avoid.

He has an amazing eye for creating beautifully framed and lit shots.
He composes unforgettable music.
He writes great stories.
He gets 100% from the cast and crew when he directs.

Oh and he likes video games a lot. He's done a couple of top 10 lists for Giant Bomb.
 

HammerFace

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Apr 7, 2014
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Ghost of Mars was the first horror movie I ever watched, I was 7 when it came out and my brother and his friend convinced my mom that all 4 of us should see it. It scared the shit out of me. I had nightmares for about a week after it.
But beyond that the Thing is definitely up there as one of my favorite movies.
 

Retro

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"Oh man, I hope OP included the Lost Themes albums..."
Scroll
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perfection.gif.

Seriously, go give em a listen right now if you haven't.

Also, Big Trouble in Little China is one of the all-time greats.
 

itwasTuesday

He wasn't alone.
Feb 12, 2010
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I am now playing Lost themes, and have II queued up. Didn't even know this was a thing. Ty op.

Only thing was I am playing it out of my tv speakers, I kinda want to power up the stereo instead. But it is midnight. hrrm.
 

poppabk

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Love pretty much all Carpenters early movies and assault on precinct 13 is in my top 5 movies of all time (except that one scene where a guy didn't realize he wasn't firing because he had a silencer on). Always thought it was sad that the guy who played Napoleon didn't have a career of any note, as he made that film.
 

RandomSeed

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He has some great movies, but The Thing is on another level. It would be very hard to ever rank my favorite movies, but it would have to be in the top 3. I just never get sick of rewatching it. It's a go to movie when I'm not sure what else to watch.
 

creatchee

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Escape from LA usually gets no respect. I'm one of the few who actually enjoyed it more than NY. It might be because it straddles a very fine line between taking itself seriously and not taking itself seriously in a way that it keeps you entertaining the notion that either or both is entirely possible at any given moment.

Also, one time in the late 90's, I dropped acid, smoke a shit ton of weed and watched it with my friends. I came up with some alternate theory where Snake actually knew the president and Malloy from previous missions together and everyone was just playing coy with each other. I don't know why, but the drugs made my suspension of disbelief to that scenario very easy and had me analyzing each line for clues to their prior relationship.

Drugs are bad.
 

mariachi507

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Feb 1, 2010
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Carpenter is god.

I was going to watch him live last month but life got in the way. Still pissed about it.

I'm still hoping that he composes the next Halloween score.
 

thetrin

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I don't feel like any of his films ever quite reached the genius of The Thing, but I love Escape from NY and Big Trouble in Little China quite a bit.

I actually enjoy Big Trouble in Little China now more as an adult. It becomes increasingly obvious as the movie goes on that the only person that thinks Jack Burton is the protagonist of that movie is, well, Jack Burton. He's not the great white saviour, and I love that the movie lampoons the trope.

I never really got that as a kid, and I love the movie so much more now as a result.
 

PhoncipleBone

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Apr 12, 2005
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Halloween and The Thing are his best works in my opinion. It is a shame that the quality of his output took a nosedive beginning in the mid 90s. I like thinking that he has one last masterpiece in him and will unleash it upon the world soon.

Also, just the other year moved to the town in Kentucky he grew up in. Kind of cool to know I live in a place that was a big influence on one of my favorite directors.
 

Marvie_3

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Jul 26, 2007
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John Carpenter is one of my favorite directors. Hes made so many movies that I absolutely love.
 

Data West

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Halloween and The Thing are two of my favorite movies of all time

but Precinct 13 is so fucking boring and I ultimately feel that way about most of his resume outside of those two.
 

Messofanego

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I fucking love Starman. It's such a beautiful movie.

Can't say enough about Carpenter and how much I enjoy his work. That mid 70s to late 80s stretch is legendary.

Starman is so sweet, love it.

 

Matty77

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I don't feel like any of his films ever quite reached the genius of The Thing, but I love Escape from NY and Big Trouble in Little China quite a bit.

I actually enjoy Big Trouble in Little China now more as an adult. It becomes increasingly obvious as the movie goes on that the only person that thinks Jack Burton is the protagonist of that movie is, well, Jack Burton. He's not the great white saviour, and I love that the movie lampoons the trope.

I never really got that as a kid, and I love the movie so much more now as a result.
Totally agree, people always call the character incompetent, even in this thread but he's not, he's just a side character in a conflict out of his depth and understanding, he is not useless it's just it's not his story.
 

Zakalwe

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Big Trouble, The Thing, Prince of Darkness, Escape from LA, Halloween, The Fog...

Incredible films. Defined genres, blurred genres, created genres. The man's work is legendary.

They Live was one of my favorite films as a kid, I had a copy that cut off five minutes before the end but I still watched it over and over.

When I finally saw the ending it was a very surreal experience.
 
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I'm a big Carpenter fanboy. The Thing and Prince of Darkness are my faves. I totally acknowledge that Vampires onward is bad.

But the underrated and usually under-discussed movie here is Village of the Damned. The movie is uneven, but a good sci-fi horror concept. The opening 20 minutes are among my favorite in any genre movie, holding neck and neck with the first 20 of Inglorious Bastards and 28 Weeks later, easily.
 

daviyoung

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Great topic. Starman growing from baby to fully grown Jeff Bridges in a few seconds freaked me out as a kid.

Carpenter's campy stuff is way more interesting to me than his praised works.
 

Horseticuffs

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I should see The Fog again. It's one I don't go back to regularly because I'm just not big on it. It just had a bad production, kind of messy as a result and even Carpenter isn't a fan. It's got Tom Atkins, though, so I have no excuse in not giving it more chances. Tom Atkins makes everything better.

Tom is the absentee, alcoholic father I always use in my internal monologue whenever I need to think about absentee, alcoholic dads.

The kind of guy who will show up to at least every fourth little league game. Yeah, he might be super drunk and cheer rather boisterously, but he made it, damn it. He made it.
 

Bloody_Five

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I think Vampires is great.
Great mix of Western and Vampires = Southern Horror
James Wood is amazing
Vampires behavior is brutal and "realistic"

Love the idea that vampirism is actually the real deal when it comes to eternal life and resurrection of the flesh promised by the Catholic Church

Worth watching if only for the first 1/2 hour culminating
in the motel attack
 

Atrophis

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Sep 24, 2007
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I really need to watch In The Mouth of Madness again. Been way too long since I saw it.

Also The Thing will always be one of my all time favourite movies. Scared the living shit out of me when I was younger.

Can't wait to see Carpenter live in a couple of months. We got a few GAFers going to the show so having a little meet up hopefully.
 

Carcetti

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Out of his less known stuff I really adore Prince of Darkness, a movie that still scares me for some reason.

I also somehow like Vampires. It's the best kind of trash, with the totally unlikable macho cast, horrible attitudes, amazing swearing... I liked the book it's very loosely based on, too.
 

Matty77

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I also somehow like Vampires. It's the best kind of trash, with the totally unlikable macho cast, horrible attitudes, amazing swearing... I liked the book it's very loosely based on, too.
I hated Vampires for that exact reason, not because of Carpenter but because I was a fan of the book. I also got a couple friends into it and when we found out it was going to become a movie, by Carpenter no less we all went to see it on opening night. We were all disappointed.
 
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