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Let's talk John Carpenter / Carpenter 101

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Apr 1, 2013
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- 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.

Yeah, I love Prince of Darkness. There's something incredibly bleak and frightening about it, from the liquid falling up, the wound
on Kelly's arm becoming infected while the beast passes into her
, to the concept that behind this mirror is this realm of unspeakable terror. The bit when their dead friend tells them to "please listen" before he falls apart and cockroaches spill out always chills me a bit, and I find the groups of homeless outside of the church to be really creepy.

Also love this clip, and the errie music in the background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYZIU1uIS2w
 

Creamium

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Mar 10, 2005
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I love Halloween and The Thing so much, some of my favorite movies. I haven't watched any of his other stuff though, pretty criminal. I should put Escape from NY and Big Trouble high on my watch list.
 

JoeBoy101

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I love Halloween and The Thing so much, some of my favorite movies. I haven't watched any of his other stuff though, pretty criminal. I should put Escape from NY and Big Trouble high on my watch list.

Escape from New York really is an incredible action flick. Very good beats and pacing with little filler. Think Mad Max with less vehicular mayhem. Big Trouble is just, well.. its incredible. Think Mystic Karate action flick, but completely from the perspective of the goofy sidekick.

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

I wish I was you. So that way, I could experience that movie all over again. Out of my top three horror movies, Carpenter has two of them: Halloween and The Thing.
 
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Everyone who hasn't seen Escape from New York or Big Trouble in Little China really ought to ASAP. The latter is probably my favourite Carpenter film of all.

I haven't seen Dark Star, Starman and I don't think I've seen Memoirs of an Invisible Man, or at least if I have I don't remember anything about it. I should probably watch these, as honestly I consider pretty much every other 70s and 80s Carpenter film to be a stone cold classic.
 

Matty77

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Everyone who hasn't seen Escape from New York or Big Trouble in Little China really ought to ASAP. The latter is probably my favourite Carpenter film of all.

I haven't seen Dark Star, Starman and I don't think I've seen Memoirs of an Invisible Man, or at least if I have I don't remember anything about it. I should probably watch these, as honestly I consider pretty much every other 70s and 80s Carpenter film to be a stone cold classic.
Starman is a must watch. Never watched Memoirs because I really disliked Chase at that point in his career, and Dark Star is very skippable, it's a padded out student film. Its got flashes of John in it and Dans sense of humor but at the end of the day you can tell it's a padded out student film.
 

Nokterian

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John Carpenter despite a few bad movies he made some legendary ones and making is own music makes it even more legendary. His two albums? Fucking awesome so cool resurgence of synthwave it was there for a longtime but it becomes more mainstream because of games,movies and other inspiration from the 80's.

Also he is a huge gamer thanks to his son he loves to play shooters and such, he is cool and i want to see his concert if he ever comes to the netherlands.
 

EGM1966

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Love classic John Carpenter.

Like most of his other stuff.

Not so sure about his few weaker films but hey nobody's perfect.

Him and Russel at peak: film geek heaven.

Well done JC and thanks for a lot of great entertainment.
 

Currygan

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Jul 7, 2012
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deserved thread for one of the great American artisans. Carpenter knows movies are movies and he imbues his stuff with pure cinematic feel even when they're mediocre. It's sad to think he belongs to another era, but his best ones are immensely rewatchable making his legacy last
 

Fancy Clown

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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.

The Fog is great. Incredibly stylish and well shot, and the setting is fantastic.
 

Zousi

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He is coming to my town with that live tour, so i should probably go check that out. Setlist seems to include many tracks from his movies.

One of my favourite directors of all-time for sure. His movies are always so damn rewatchable. The atmosphere, music, camerawork... just top notch.
 

Englebert3rd

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The Thing and Escape from New Your are two of my most favourite movies ever. The Thing is really something else and can't be compared to anything. Even its paranoid atmosphere is really hard to nail in modern movies.
Escape from New York is the same, it's impossible to do the same arc, story, set pieces because it was innovative and there are plenty of film (see Lockout) trying to replicate the same story but fail.
I mean Escape from New York had a bit of everything:action, thriller, horror (in particular the scene with Kurt's then-wife) and drama. Any other director would've butchered it but JC made it a nice cohesive and coherent movie, and for that he needs to be thanked.
 

gamz

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I'm always amazed how big Escape from NY looks with such a low budget. It has a epic feel.
 
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I haven't seen Dark Star, Vampires or his 90's output, but for my my money The Thing is head and shoulders above the rest. I don't mind Escape From New York and I enjoyed Big Trouble in Little China, but The Thing is just in a league of its own imo.
 
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I'm always amazed how big Escape from NY looks with such a low budget. It has a epic feel.

Some of the things they did in that film were so clever - like for example for the flythrough shots where the city is wireframe on the computer monitor, they couldn't afford to recreate it on computer, so used white sticky tape & a neon light on the model of the city they already had built to give the same impression! I think it's this video which goes into quite a lot of detail on the film's development: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM6wE4FJtDM
 

gamz

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Some of the things they did in that film were so clever - like for example for the flythrough shots where the city is wireframe on the computer monitor, they couldn't afford to recreate it on computer, so used white sticky tape & a neon light on the model of the city they already had built to give the same impression! I think it's this video which goes into quite a lot of detail on the film's development: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM6wE4FJtDM


Yeah, I've read all the behind the scenes and such. James Cameron did the matte painting shots.
 

Fancy Clown

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Some of the things they did in that film were so clever - like for example for the flythrough shots where the city is wireframe on the computer monitor, they couldn't afford to recreate it on computer, so used white sticky tape & a neon light on the model of the city they already had built to give the same impression! I think it's this video which goes into quite a lot of detail on the film's development: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM6wE4FJtDM

That's awesome
 

Lumine

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While it's far from flawless, The Thing is definitely a big favorite of mine. I'm not a big horror fan but I love that movie. That said, not all of Carpenter's stuff was all that great. Especially the more recent stuff. Well I guess by now, they're not even all that recent anymore. I'd love to see Carpenter do a new movie again. Preferably with a soundtrack of his own.
 

deleted

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Feb 10, 2009
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I love me some Carpenter movies! Not all of them are for me, but most have an amazing feel. The Thing is a Masterpiece!

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.

I'm in the same boat. I enjoy LA more than NY. It is more trashy, but at the same time, it feels more like he actually had the budget to realize more of his actual vision.
It's not able to live up to it the whole time, but I don't get the criticism the movie gets for things like the surf scene... It's not like we are talking about a dark, self serious movie. The satire is so strong, that it almost approaches parody levels.
 

gamz

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While it's far from flawless, The Thing is definitely a big favorite of mine. I'm not a big horror fan but I love that movie. That said, not all of Carpenter's stuff was all that great. Especially the more recent stuff. Well I guess by now, they're not even all that recent anymore. I'd love to see Carpenter do a new movie again. Preferably with a soundtrack of his own.

He's done with making movies.

http://www.cinemablend.com/news/153...-may-be-done-making-movies-heres-what-he-says
 
Apr 1, 2013
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I'm in the same boat. I enjoy LA more than NY. It is more trashy, but at the same time, it feels more like he actually had the budget to realize more of his actual vision.
It's not able to live up to it the whole time, but I don't get the criticism the movie gets for things like the surf scene... It's not like we are talking about a dark, self serious movie. The satire is so strong, that it almost approaches parody levels.

Escape From LA is basically a satire of its own predecessor, right down to having pretty much the same plot and story beats, but upping the ante and making everything bigger and more ridiculous. That's not what I wanted from it at all, however if you're open to the film not being over-serious then yeah, it definitely has a more fun and silly feel than Escape From New York.
 

deleted

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Escape From LA is basically a satire of its own predecessor, right down to having pretty much the same plot and story beats, but upping the ante and making everything bigger and more ridiculous. That's not what I wanted from it at all, however if you're open to the film not being over-serious then yeah, it definitely has a more fun and silly feel than Escape From New York.

But that was a thing for a while... If you look at Evil Dead 1 and 2 or El Mariachi and Desperado - they had the same thing going for them. And it kind of fit as a sequel. Especially from someone that didn't want to do any sequel at one point.

But sure, you are right, the movie is more silly.
I would have loved a third take on the character, where it went back to NY's style though.
Long and ridiculous were the rumors about Escape from Earth.
 

IronRinn

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Great OP for a great director. He had a rough stretch there after In the Mouth of Madness but he has done so many classics it doesn't even matter. Dude has had a hell of a career.
 

Fancy Clown

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For the three of you that care, I fleshed out the entries for Body Bags, Halloween 2, and Halloween 3 a little in the "more section" (I haven't seen any of those, but they have certainly piqued my interest!) and I'll probably keep updating the page and fleshing out the other entries as I get around to consuming more Carpenter stuff / have the inclination to do so.
 

wenis

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For the three of you that care, I fleshed out the entries for Body Bags, Halloween 2, and Halloween 3 a little in the "more section" (I haven't seen any of those, but they have certainly piqued my interest!) and I'll probably keep updating the page and fleshing out the other entries as I get around to consuming more Carpenter stuff / have the inclination to do so.

watch body bags immediately.

The one with Alex Datcher...



whew.
 

bob_arctor

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Jun 7, 2004
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The Thing and Escape from New Your are two of my most favourite movies ever. The Thing is really something else and can't be compared to anything. Even its paranoid atmosphere is really hard to nail in modern movies.
Escape from New York is the same, it's impossible to do the same arc, story, set pieces because it was innovative and there are plenty of film (see Lockout) trying to replicate the same story but fail.
I mean Escape from New York had a bit of everything:action, thriller, horror (in particular the scene with Kurt's then-wife) and drama. Any other director would've butchered it but JC made it a nice cohesive and coherent movie, and for that he needs to be thanked.

Great post--mainly because I completely agree with you. The Thing and Escape From New York are definitely my favorite Carpenter films and two of my favorite films ever.
 

ZeroCDR

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I'm a massive fan of pretty much all of his work with Kurt Russell. Big Trouble in Little China in particular was a huge part of my childhood, endlessly rewatchable. One of my favorite movies ever for sure.

Never liked Halloween unfortunately.
 

PhoncipleBone

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Apr 12, 2005
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probably mentioned but he is on tour right now with his son and the rest of the gang playing awesome live versions of the movie themes and tracks off Lost Themes: http://www.theofficialjohncarpenter.com/tour/

With his age it's probably the first and last tour so do go see it! Saw the show in Copenhagen and will see it again this sunday in Helsinki.
He ain't even coming back to Bowling Green, KY where he grew up?! Dammit. Hopefully he adds a date here. I would probably shell out for a VIP pass for a show.
 

Secret Fawful

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One of my favorite directors. By the way, for anyone who loves Carpenter, you should check out War of the Dead Part II on MSX. It's an old Metal Gear-style game heavily inspired by Escape From New York, Prince of Darkness, and The Thing. you play as a Jill Valentine-esque STARS-esque woman who goes into an Escape From New York-style dilapidated city filled with convicts and 80s punks that is being overrun by denizens of Hell, turning the populace into possessed people out of Prince of Darkness and shapeshifting monsters straight out of The Thing. There's also a radio station straight out of the Fog, with a very horrific and memorable segment featuring a sweet loving dog.

It's a very old game but the things they do with the sprites and resolution and visuals are kind of amazing considering how limited they are.

 

Nags

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I recently bought Lost Themes 1&2 after being on a Perturbator kick.

Daniel Davies of The Kinks produced it. I dated his daughter awhile back.
 

Karak

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Even some of the lesser successful ones I like. Probably the only director in the world where i like every single one of his movies. Plus he is a huge gamer lol
Love John Carpenter films. I legit like Vampires, James Woods carries that fucking movie.


The book was fantastic. Sadly the writer passed but I would have loved Team Felix replacing Team Crow to see how it went down. James did pretty ok.
 

dietdracula

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Watched Starman tonight for the first time. A nice change of pace for Carpenter. I liked it.

Now I'm watching Christine for the first time in a long while and it's great.

I've rewatched many of his films over the summer and I'm pretty sure John Carpenter is my favorite director. His films have such a no bullshit attitude to them and I love it.

I rewatched They Live over the weekend and it resonates with me as much as it ever did. Perhaps I'll rewatch Escape From New York later this week!
 

SapphiCine

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Just watched In the Mouth of Madness. I like aspects of it thematically but overall it left me cold. Not all that scary and a bit hammy.
 

Fancy Clown

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Just watched In the Mouth of Madness. I like aspects of it thematically but overall it left me cold. Not all that scary and a bit hammy.

It's certainly a bit hammy, but it wouldn't really be a Carpenter movie if it weren't. I thought there were a lot of really fun scares; the axe maniac, the guy on the bike, the hotel lady. It's good stuff. I love how everything gets warped over the course of the movie and just totally descends into absolute madness, fully delivering on the title and concept.
 
Apr 1, 2013
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It's certainly a bit hammy, but it wouldn't really be a Carpenter movie if it weren't. I thought there were a lot of really fun scares; the axe maniac, the guy on the bike, the hotel lady. It's good stuff. I love how everything gets warped over the course of the movie and just totally descends into absolute madness, fully delivering on the title and concept.

Yeah, I love that too when it really starts to spiral into insanity. Like the bits when the lady is doing the crab-walk, or he sees the old woman's true form as the monstrous tentacled beast, or when Sam Neill sees the kids and they appear to have eaten one of the dog's legs. It's a really twisted film and I love how it plays with these themes. I never really liked the ending when I was little, but I saw the film again a few months ago, and somehow it feels perfect.
 
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Big Trouble in Little China is my comfort movie. When I have the living room to myself I'll have it on loop in the background :p
 

Fancy Clown

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I never really liked the ending when I was little, but I saw the film again a few months ago, and somehow it feels perfect.

John Carpenter is the best at ending movies, and the apocalypse trilogu have the best endings of the bunch imo. With all three he cuts to black at juuuust the right time as the full implications of humanities impending (or fully realized) doin are sinking in after the wild ride he puts you through.
 

IronRinn

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I remember my brother and I rented In the Mouth of Madness and as soon as the credits ended we rewound the tape and watched the whole thing over again. Then we watched it one more time before we had to return it. It just hit all the right Lovecraft buttons (not the virulent racism, obviously, that would be one of the wrong buttons). I still love the scene where Sam Neill spies and flees from the tumbling mass of cosmic horrors.
 

gamz

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I love that how some of his movies took years to get respect. The Thing is now a stone cold classic and in the past 4-5 years They Live has been analyzed more and more.
 

Nyx

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I'm not a big Carpenter fan, but his The Thing movie is the best horror movie ever made, in my humble opinion.
 

Fancy Clown

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I love that how some of his movies took years to get respect. The Thing is now a stone cold classic and in the past 4-5 years They Live has been analyzed more and more.

I'd love it even more if they got the respect they deserved when they were released so he could have gotten better budgets and maybe he'd still be making movies today...
 

SeanC

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If there's any place to post this, I guess here: Gunship music video Tech Noir.

A very pulpy, 80s-inspired music video with Carpenter doing the narration at the beginning. Plus the song is awesome.

He's really big in music and collaborating with the synthwave/pop etc...movement that is popular right now. Does a lot of remixes on top of his own compositions.
 

Fancy Clown

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That's awesome, thanks for sharing. It's a bummer he doesn't have any interest in directing anymore, but at least he's found new creative vitality by focusing only on music.
 

Watevaman

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I need to watch some more of his flicks that I haven't seen yet. I caught some of Mouth of Madness on TV a few years back and it wasn't grabbing me but I believe I was pretty tired so maybe I have to be fully awake to enjoy it.

The Thing is my favorite movie of all time. Ever since I saw it as a kid I've loved it. The ominous tone, environment, and music set it up very well as a horror film even if it may not be the same type of horror by modern standards.
 

JimmyRustler

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The Thing bombing critically and in box office is the biggest crime in movie history.

I remember being glued to the fucking screen when I first watched it. When I found out it bombed I was like.... What in the holy fuck?
 
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