Let's talk John Carpenter / Carpenter 101

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So has anyone seen the two forgotten Carpenter films 'Someone's Watching Me' or 'Elvis'? Are they any good and worth tracking down?
 
but I know EFNY is very meagre in terms of special features.

Not the Scream Factory Bluray version! They've released a bunch of Carpenter movies and have done a great job getting a bunch of features for them. Their edition of The Thing is coming out next month and it is super stacked.
 
Fell in love with this guy after seeing The Thing a few years ago. Amazing setting, lighting and effects. I knew it was something special in the vein of Alien.

Christine has become one of my favorites by him. The movie just has so many memorable scenes and the concept is downright bizarre. I remember seeing bits and pieces of it as a kid and being a little afraid to be in the garage with the car all alone. Hah!

Dark Star was quite a surprise. I didn't expect it to be a comedy until it started being funny. I've always wanted to see the cut on the bluray which shortens the chase scene with the alien. I bet it would help with the pacing problems the movie has. I wanna chill up in that space bubble and listen to music.

The Fog was a recent find for myself. The setting and atmosphere are great, and yeah, it's like a classic ghost story. So much fun.

Halloween might be his best directorial work. Every scene in the movie is planned for maximum effectiveness. My favorite slasher film along with Black Christmas.

They Live The first time I saw this I wasn't SUPER impressed, but after watching it again last month I picked up on a few things I must have missed before. That fight scene was so shocking after kinda forgetting about it. PUT ON THE GLASSES!!!!!!

Big Trouble In Little China
was tons of fun. I love Kurt Russell. Reminds me of the Indiana Jones movies of the 80s with a cool Chinatown atmosphere. Fun characters and settings. Surprised the special effects were so nice after watching a few of his lower budget movies.

Great thread! I'm going to have to check out Starman and Memoirs of the Invisible Man asap.
 
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?

looking back at other movies, this tends to happen a lot, particularly pre-Internet.
Fallen (1998) is easily one of my favorite movies (the epic antagonist angle), yet it too bombed hard on both critical and BO ends. It's weird too: they called it generic, despite there being no other movie that deals with that plot device is such a fun way. "Generic how, exactly?", would be my question.

Also, horror has gotten easier -like, a lot- to market in recent years whereas previously it meant almost certain death at the boxoffice unless you were an outlier like Alien and Halloween. But those types of (body) horror experiences were completely new at the time, whereas we grew up on them. Though The Fly (Cronenberg) still repulses me when Goldblum vomits over food.
 
The Fly, The Thing, and Day of the Dead are three 80's horror films I hold very close to my heart and all three are the only films to make me feel physically ill the first time I watched them (ok The Fly does that to me every time I watch it).
 
While I personally find both Alien and The Shining to be a little closer to my heart than The Thing, both my best friend and I agreed when we watched it for the first time together two years ago that it was the perfect horror film. What Carpenter accomplishes in that movie is phenomenal, especially in his ability to capture paranoia within the cast and also cause the audience to also be paranoid over what's going with the entire cast.

Not to mention, The Thing also has one of the absolute best ending scenes to a film ever. My aforementioned friend and I went out to a late dinner after we watched it and raved about that one scene in particular the whole way there and back too. I get chills everytime I see it.
 

hobozero

Member
It was mentioned previously, but if you like Carpenter definitely track down his episode of Masters of Horror "Cigarette Burns". It is basically a better version of The 9th Gate, except instead of tracking an evil book dude is tracking an evil movie.
 
It was mentioned previously, but if you like Carpenter definitely track down his episode of Masters of Horror "Cigarette Burns". It is basically a better version of The 9th Gate, except instead of tracking an evil book dude is tracking an evil movie.

Ooh, that sounds interesting. £18 for volume 1 on Amazon though, which is more than I'd like to pay. Any idea if the rest of the content is worth it?
 

gwailo

Banned
Not the Scream Factory Bluray version! They've released a bunch of Carpenter movies and have done a great job getting a bunch of features for them. Their edition of The Thing is coming out next month and it is super stacked.

I just got an email from Shout's PR guy and The Thing has been delayed until October 11 due to "audio issues in select scenes".
 
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?
Has to be one of the most unpredictable movies on earth just keeps you guessing
 
I love Carpenter, nice thread! My favorite films are In the Mouth of Madness, They Live and The Thing. Had no idea he directed The Ward, gonna have to watch that soon.

I didn't see this mentioned anywhere, but a Halloween reboot is being made with John as an executive producer and possibly even doing the score -- could be sweet.
 

rgoulart

Member
I'm very fond of late 70's and 80's horror and sci-fi movies and John Carpenter made some of the greatest movies of those years and some of my favourites films ever. Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing, Christine, They Live, all great movies that I recommend to anyone for different reasons.

Big Trouble in Little China was a childhood classic, I've seen it many times after school on TV. In the Mouth of Madness is a very creepy film and one of the best Lovecraft stories that Lovecraft never wrote.
 
Had no idea he directed The Ward, gonna have to watch that soon.

I didn't see this mentioned anywhere, but a Halloween reboot is being made with John as an executive producer and possibly even doing the score -- could be sweet.

The Ward is really bad outside of the very opening/title sequence, but it's still kinda interesting to watch in the context of his career, and there are some nice shots. But it's mostly just really dull and terribly written and acted and not in a fun way.

And yeah, I had heard about the new Halloween. I don't have a lot of faith in jt, but I will 100% see it if he does the score. I'm glad he's somewhat involved in it anyway.
 
Great topic, Carpenter is a really fun director and I really like a number of his movies. I'll have to check out some of the ones I haven't seen.

That being said, I think Escape from New York is pretty overrated. Controversial opinion I know, but I think the low budget really hurts this movie. Its such a cool concept but a lot of the movie doesn't do it justice. I watched it recently (my second viewing) and thought about making a thread for it but I figured it wouldn't go anywhere. Anyways, to me, Escape from New York is one of the few movies I can think of that is actually ripe for a remake.

Maybe I just really want a Metal Gear Solid movie and Escape is my scapegoat. LOL
 
I love Carpenter, nice thread! My favorite films are In the Mouth of Madness, They Live and The Thing. Had no idea he directed The Ward, gonna have to watch that soon.

I didn't see this mentioned anywhere, but a Halloween reboot is being made with John as an executive producer and possibly even doing the score -- could be sweet.

I'm pretty sure I have seen The Ward, but I recall literally nothing about it. I had no idea Halloween was getting a reboot though - didn't it just have a reboot about six or eight years ago?!
 
He's my favourite movie director. Even though he hasn't directed a good movie in well over a couple of decades, he'll always be my favourite. So many classics under his belt.

Dark Star has no right being as good as it is, given the shoestring budget.
 

gamz

Member
Great topic, Carpenter is a really fun director and I really like a number of his movies. I'll have to check out some of the ones I haven't seen.

That being said, I think Escape from New York is pretty overrated. Controversial opinion I know, but I think the low budget really hurts this movie. Its such a cool concept but a lot of the movie doesn't do it justice. I watched it recently (my second viewing) and thought about making a thread for it but I figured it wouldn't go anywhere. Anyways, to me, Escape from New York is one of the few movies I can think of that is actually ripe for a remake.

Maybe I just really want a Metal Gear Solid movie and Escape is my scapegoat. LOL

Then you might want to give Escape from LA a try. Higher budget and Carpenter just goes batshit on it. Ive grown to love it over the years.
 
I'll always defend his Halloween 2. I think he goes full on his style and it works. Weird and brutal. But I'm a huge fan of TDR.

I haven't seen his Halloween 2. I respect that Zombie has a very distinct style, a pretty good eye, and did something new with Halloween (at least the first half), but I really can't get into his movies. The incredibly grating white trash characters and extreme sadism in his movies is too much for me.
 
Just watched JC's Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns". While it's not essential Carpenter, it lands squarely in the enjoyable side of things he's done, and easily the best thing he's done since In the Mouth of Madness. This is actually pretty similar to Mouth of Madness, about how works of art can have reality altering effects.

There's a lot of bad dialogue here, some bad acting, and because it was made for TV in the 90's you don't get any of that widescreen goodness, but it's made up for by how great the concept is. It's about a guy trying to find an 'evil' film, and there's a tension and curiosity that builds up that mirrors that of the protagonist (played by a youngish Norman Reedus!), and the climax is sheer insanity that is certainly worth the wait through the pretty much entirely dialogue based scenes that precede it.
 

gamz

Member
I haven't seen his Halloween 2. I respect that Zombie has a very distinct style, a pretty good eye, and did something new with Halloween (at least the first half), but I really can't get into his movies. The incredibly grating white trash characters and extreme sadism in his movies is too much for me.

Then you aren't going to like Halloween 2.

Have you seen Lords of Salem? It's different then his others, kinda falls about in the end, but interesting none-the-less.
 

Dude—No ...

Neo Member
I love Prince of Darkness. Actually it's probably my favorite movie of his, and that's not to say a lot of his other films are bad, and it's necessarily his best - but it's certainly my personal favorite. I really liked the whole concept of evil as quantifiable, and relating it all to something like atomic theory or whatever. I don't know how accurate the stuff is, but it was cool. And the music was fantastic; I absolutely love it.
 
I just discovered the other day that my DVD of Escape from New York actually does have a few special features, including a commentary by Carpenter and Russell! On the other hand, I could not find my DVDs of The Thing or Big Trouble at all. We moved a bunch of stuff around the house about a year ago and I must have lost the discs somewhere. Really fancy watching The Thing so I'll have to hunt it out or buy it again!
 
I just discovered the other day that my DVD of Escape from New York actually does have a few special features, including a commentary by Carpenter and Russell! On the other hand, I could not find my DVDs of The Thing or Big Trouble at all. We moved a bunch of stuff around the house about a year ago and I must have lost the discs somewhere. Really fancy watching The Thing so I'll have to hunt it out or buy it again!

You should wait for the new Bluray of the Thing that's coming out in October. It looks great is is stacked with extras.
 

Bob White

Member
Carpenter is the 80's in my eyes. Can't get enough of his urban grit synth.

The Ward was...I don't know. The shower scene is the only thing that felt like it was him directing.
 
Watched They Live again last night, Meg Foster probably puts in some of the worst acting I've ever seen in a film...and Rowdy Piper was in the movie!
 
Just saw this deleted scene from Escape from New-York that I never knew existed.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7DxQYEl5oo
 

Tobor

Member
Okay. You people sit tight, hold the fort and keep the home fires burning. And if we're not back by dawn... call the president.
 
Carpenter is the 80's in my eyes. Can't get enough of his urban grit synth.

The Ward was...I don't know. The shower scene is the only thing that felt like it was him directing.

Really The Ward wasn't that bad, I felt like the movie had potential... I actually kind of liked the character interaction and development.

It was just anything involving the "thriller" aspect of plot was just cliched and trying to do the whole "Shutter Island" mental institution thing.
 
I want to watch some Carpenter horror this month. Think I'll see if a friend wants to come over tomorrow and watch The Thing. Been a few years since I've watched it. Speaking of which, is the prequel movie from 2010-ish worth seeing?
 

gwailo

Banned
I thought it was ok. It's much more of a monster movie. You don't really get the group dynamics/tension from the Carpenter version. The finale is good though and does tie into the Carpenter movie very effectively.
 
I thought it was ok. It's much more of a monster movie. You don't really get the group dynamics/tension from the Carpenter version. The finale is good though and does tie into the Carpenter movie very effectively.

Thanks. I only got around to watching The Thing last night so I might check this out as well. It's such a great film. So creepy and tense and unnerving, and the special effects are still incredible. I know stuff like Avatar is amazing, but I look at a film like this and I think CG will never ever be as good as practical effects.
 

moggio

Banned
John Carpenter prior to Ghosts of Mars and onwards is GOAT.

The quality of his work was erratic long before then.

Escape from L.A. is when he pretty much gave up trying or caring though.

Thanks. I only got around to watching The Thing last night so I might check this out as well. It's such a great film. So creepy and tense and unnerving, and the special effects are still incredible. I know stuff like Avatar is amazing, but I look at a film like this and I think CG will never ever be as good as practical effects.

For The Thing (2011) they filmed a load of excellent practical effects but replaced most of them with dodgy CGI.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBzpT7VmSaU
 

SpaceHorror

Member
Great OP!

I still haven't seen Assault on Precinct 13 or Escape from New York, which I've long been ashamed of. I also need to see Prince of Darkness. I think this week will be a good week to knock that one out.

The Thing is my favorite, though I also really love Halloween, The Fog, They Live, In the Mouth of Madness, and Big Trouble in Little China. Hell, I pretty much love all of his movies that most are fond of.
 
Seen most of these.
Now adding the rest to my list, thanks!

Now we need a thread on movies to watch if you like John Carpenter movies.
 
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