John Carpenter

Twin_Star

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#1
Have we got a thread for this guy? One dedicated to all things Carpentian?

Mainly because i happened upon "Escape from New York" last night on ITV3 and experienced some small delight in remembering how much i enjoyed it as a tiddler, and the pleasant sensation of still enjoying watching it 20 years later. So many films of yore turn into fey gold in your hand once the sheen of nostalgia wears off.

He's involved in making a new movie at the moment, "13th Apostle", which is some kind of serial killer flick from what i can make out. A few sites are keeping tabs on the pre-production lifecycle, although there's nothing yet on IMDB which is a bit strange. The best site i've found so far is >>HERE<<.

But back to his salad days. I think Prince of Darkness is his tour-de-force / piece de resistance. Sooooo creepy. OK, a corpse reanimated by beetles muttering "pray for death" might not be everyone's cup of tea, but the tachyon transmission - "this is not a dream, not a dream" as something hoves into view through the church door is pure cinematic platinum. A thousand bucks to set up the shot, and a generation of kids scared is a pretty good ROI.

For the full text of this message in a bottle from the future, check out the IMDB discussion boards on this movie - "You are seeing what is actually occuring for the purpose of causality violation." - ubergood, ya?

I know, i know "Ghosts of Mars", but as a wise man once said - in every life a little rain must fall.

Anybody out there got their own fave movies / moments? And of course mods move or merge if i'm re-treading old ground here...
 

Heckler

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#2
Prince of Darkness not his best moment at all, great concept, flabby plot and vears a little too close to a slasher movie at times.

In the Mouth of Madness is great latter day Carpenter though and sadly maligned on it's release.

Halloween 1 was ground breaker and stilling chillingly watchable today.

Escape from New York - Yep I agree a rare treat.

Assault on precinct 13 (the original) - edgy and well put together

The Thing - Cold cold paranoia and unbelivable special effects (back when they were real not cgi)

Not forgetting: The Fog (also still bears a rewatch), They Live (superb)

Now the clunkers:

Starman - (urrgh! so sweet it's nauseous)
Big Trouble in Little China - (so much squeezed in it creaks)
Christine - (Okay it's Stephen King so he was doing his best to polish a turd)
Invisible man - (Oh dear!)
Ghosts of Mars - (Assault on Precinct 13 in space only shite)
Vampires - (I wanted to like this, I still like this if I squint really hard)
Escape from LA - (No!)
 

BaronHardacre

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#3
A genius film maker, IMHO. Yes he has made stinkers, though some were made earlier in his career, than you'd think (Christine, anyone?), but with a resume that includes: Halloween, The Thing, Escape From New York, and They Live, then I think he can be forgiven some misses.
My personal favourite is the very underated In The Mouth Of Madness. Pure Lovecraft, without being based on any of his work, the film also includes a fine performance from Sam Neill, and a pretty chilling one from Jurgen Prochnow (sp?).
Personally, I'd say he is one of the finest horror directors, still working.
 

Heckler

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#4
The pisser about Mouth of Madness is it isn't available at the moment on Region2 DVD in English.
 
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#5
I'm a big fan - for a mainstream film producer he always seems to have something strange up his sleeve. In no real order:

The Thing - one of my favourite films of all time - I've seen it an awful lot but grabbed it on DVD anyway!!! Great extras.

Assault on Precint 13 - a bona fide classic. A real mastercalss in building tension.
www.imdb.com/title/tt0074156/

Dark Star - bonkers sci-fi that I'm sure was one of the first videos I was allowed to rent as a kid when my Dad brought the school video player (probably the size of a suitcase and the cost of a car) home as a birthday treat.
www.imdb.com/title/tt0069945/
www.forteantimes.com/review/darkstar.shtml

Escape From New York - Snake is a fantastic anti-hero!! Lets not mention the sequel ;)
www.imdb.com/title/tt0082340/

Prince of Darkness - certainly dished out a few scares first time I watched it but I've not seen it in a while so it might not work so well today.
www.imdb.com/title/tt0093777/

The Fog - effective although a tad formuliac horror.
www.imdb.com/title/tt0080749/

Big Trouble in Little China - massive rip off of far superior Hong Kong flicks (its even mentioned on the back of the HKL release of Zu Warriors) but its a fun romp.
www.imdb.com/title/tt0090728/

--
Looking back on them now I suspect nostalgia plays a big role in my appreciation (but then again The Thing still works!!) and he does seem to rework the same theme an awful lot Assault on Precinct 13, Prince of Darkness and Ghost on Mars are pretty similar excpet the location and baddies change (The Fog also has that people trapped in place under attack theme done first and best in Night of the Living Dead)

-------
In the Mouth of Madness is available via Amazon.co.uk cheap as chips:

www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/07806 ... ntmagaz-21

Are we back to the problem of not haivng a multi-regional player?

--------
And here is the direct IMDB entry link for him:

www.imdb.com/name/nm0000118/

anyone seen his films from the sixties?

# Gorgon, the Space Monster (1969)
# Gorgo Versus Godzilla (1969)
# Sorceror from Outer Space (1969)
# Warrior and the Demon (1969) (as Johnny Carpenter)
# Terror from Space (1963)
# Revenge of the Colossal Beasts (1962)
 
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#7
Heckler said:
Emperor said:
In the Mouth of Madness is available via Amazon.co.uk cheap as chips:

www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/07806 ... ntmagaz-21

Are we back to the problem of not haivng a multi-regional player?
It would certainly appear that way :oops: . I'm in a cake and and wanting to eat it situation again.
Somoene has put a Starlogic DVD player (I have it and it works just fine - and costs buttons) up on Amazon:
www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002 ... ntmagaz-21

At £13.50 you'd save that rapidly by being able to buy R1 DVDs!!

Or you could make your current one have a "nasty accident" and use the insurance money to get a new multiregional player ;)

[edit: They have a cheap Daewoo one too:

www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0006 ... ntmagaz-21 ]
 

MrRING

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#8
His 60's films are all pre-film student work, so I imagine they are on par with the home movies M. Night features on his DVD releases.

Escape from New York actually had a board game out at the time:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/731

Dark Star started life as a student film, which a studio was impressed enough with to give funding to turn it into a feature.

Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite films of all time. When it was first out, I watched three times on the same day, which is a personal record. A great BTILC site:

http://www.wingkong.net/

I love the original Fog, but they are making a remake of it for this fall:

http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/thefog/site/

Apparently, Carpenter thought he ruined his career with this one when he first put it together. It just wasn't scary. But he went in, reedited it, and added the prologue with John Houseman, and the classic happened.

I'm surprised that nobody here mentioned They Live, surely one of the great (if low-budget) paranoid sci-fi films of the 80's. The outrageous street fight betwen the leads is hilarious!

http://www.propagandamatrix.com/291103theylive.html

They Live and Prince of Darkness were two of three proposed low-budget thrillers, but the deal fell through before the last one was made. Not sure what it would have been, because there is a virtual ton of unmade Carpenter flicks.

A big ol' list of unfinished Carpenter films:

http://www.geocities.com/j_nada/carp/projects.html
 

Twin_Star

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#9
Yep, They Live is a classic. As you say the fight scene in the alley really adds a frisson to the proceedings.

The best bit for me though, is where he puts the glasses on for the first time. CONSUME. THIS IS YOUR GOD. PROCREATE

delish!
 

Heckler

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#10
Truely the fight scene in the alley is one of greats of cinema, it looks like it really hurts.
 

GNC

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#11
I seem to be alone in thinking that Christine is really underrated. It vrooms along nicely and I prefer it to the book.
 

Alexius4

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#12
I'd put The Thing at the top of the Carpenter list - moody and menacing, and psychologically plausible - the cast do a great job of prtraying a mixed bag of guys coping with the extreme. Terrific film.

I like The Fog - OK, it is creaky, but it has some really atmospheric moments (I love the story telling opening, for instance). Maybe because I first saw it as an imaginative fifteen year old living in a small fishing town...

They Live is fine, acerbic satire - being able to see what advertising is really saying....
 

DanTheGPI

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#13
Heckler said:
Emperor said:
In the Mouth of Madness is available via Amazon.co.uk cheap as chips:

www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/07806 ... ntmagaz-21

Are we back to the problem of not haivng a multi-regional player?
It would certainly appear that way :oops: . I'm in a cake and and wanting to eat it situation again.
What else can you do with cake but eat it? :)
I know there are few places on line when you can obtain unlock codes for DVD players its usually just done by enter some numbers with the remote.
To put this back on topic, They Live and In The Mouth of Madness are two of my favorite films. If anyone's interested in that sort of thing a band called Snog made heavy use of samples from They Live in their early albums
 

GNC

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#14
DJ Shadow samples the transmission from Prince of Darkness on his classic Endtroducing album.
 

original_fLeebLe

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#15
i love his films but let us not forget about his composing. i think that the theme tune to 'escape from new york' is fantastic. this man is truly talented.
 

BaronHardacre

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#16
fLeebLe said:
i love his films but let us not forget about his composing. i think that the theme tune to 'escape from new york' is fantastic. this man is truly talented.
True, the Assault on Precinct 13 theme has been rewoked into many electro tunes, and the Halloween theme is a stone cold classic. However, I thought it was a bad move when he moved from pretty basic electronic based soundtracks to blusey rock soundtracks.
 

dreeness

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#17
:)

and who can forget the score from The Thing? So minimal and claustrophobic, you know, that deep "den-den, den-den" with the strained high keening sound backing it up? That movie was brilliant altogether, Russell playing it laconic and misanthropic, it was so much better than the hokey original. So much closer to the spirit of Who Goes There, the original was just so much cold war flag-waving, James Arness in a jumpsuit growling, the basic themes of "intellectuals sure are stupid" and "die foreigner die" hammered into the ground. But in Carpenter's remake, sure there was the horror of the scary monsters, but there was also the deeper existential horror that wasn't ever openly acknowledged, except maybe a bit with Wilford Brimley's hysterical assault on the radio equipment --- "Maybe some of you know! I know! Nobody gets out! Nobody gets out alive!" Like that is just so f*cking brilliant, the way that scene was handled, because for just an instant it seems that he's just gone wacko out of terror of the monsters, but then it's suddenly obvious, he doesn't want anyone to survive, because that's the only way to be sure of stopping the contagion. That's the real brain-stabbing thing about it, they ultimately can only win by dying, by taking the camp down and everything with it, including themselves, the final "wait here a while" scene, magnificent.
 

MaxMolyneux

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#18
The Thing, Halloween movies and Big Trouble in Little China are some of the best I've watchedof his movies. :yeay:

The Halloween films has that classic theme tune they have at thebieginning and the end of the films too. Turns out Michael Myer's was possesed by some cult in those films forget whyhe has to kill every membe rof his family though.

Big Trouble in Little China was cool with Lo pan and the cheesy stroy line was funny too.
 

fquake

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#19
I love Big Trouble in Little China, it has some cracking dialogue.

'It's like old Jack Burton always says...'

'Who?'

'Jack Burton! ME!'
 

river_styx

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#20
Escape From New York has the perfect score. Deep, throbbing electronic beats cutting to eerie, soon to be shattered silence.

Styx's favouritist Carpenter flick by far, Kurt Russel has never been better than when he played Snake Plissken.

I'm still holding hopes for the Escape From the USA tv series and manga cartoons. Even after Escape From LA.
 

MaxMolyneux

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#21
His movie Vampires was nothing special but it was ok. Can't belive the second one has Bon Jovi in it but thanbk god he only presents that one. :shock:
 

BeatrixKiddo

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#22
Didn't realise there was a 'sequel'. checked it out on IMDB....looks like a pile of poo. Probably would watch it though :oops:
 

Spookyangel

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#24
I like the theme tune he did for the original Halloween. It's really menacing in its monotony.
 

GNC

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#25
Assault on Precinct 13 has a great theme too. Pity they didn't use it in the remake.
 

SniperK2

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#26
I thought Assualt on Precinct 13, was so underated, and got the b/f to watch it lately, and he thought it was great - he'd never heard of it, but he's younger.

The Thing, ditto, the first film that stopped me sleeping AND actually made me feel physically sick, the part where they try to jump-start the mans heart and his chest just caves in... OMG, I yelled into a pillow.

Halloween, and the music, which b/f playes on his organ-whatsit ( not * that * organ! ) and gives me chills every time.

BTILC - is a fun film, mum and I used to enjoy watching that.

The Fog - atmospheric, something to do with the normality of the town, the radio presenters calm, soporific voice, and what is happening, long time since I have seen it actually.
 

river_styx

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#27
Memoirs Of An Invisible Man is a misunderstood comedy classic with special effects that were well ahead of their time.

Anyone who sat through Hollow Man can see how Carpenter shot all the same tricks roughly ten years before Kevin 'The Werepig' Bacon shot up with his magic serum. Not the gory stuff though, Memoirs is a PG or something afterall.
 

MaxMolyneux

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#28
Good effect in Hallow Man when he uses the serum to turn himself invisible.

Only seen Hallow Man but what was the difference in the effects? Would the ones in Hallow Man be more computerised than back then?
 

GNC

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#29
Memoirs was a weak adaptation compared with the superb book, which sadly seems to have been forgotten about nowadays.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#30
MrRING said:
Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite films of all time. When it was first out, I watched three times on the same day, which is a personal record. A great BTILC site:

http://www.wingkong.net/
Good link!!

This is also a great review which makes a lot of interesting points about how ahead of its time it was:

www.dvdfile.com/software/review/dvd-vid ... china.html

That 2 disc special ediiton sounds good - expensive at Amazon (not much off the RRP of £22.99):
www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000 ... ntmagaz-21
R1:
www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000 ... ntmagaz-21
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005A ... enantmc-20

but a steal at £8,99 (inc P&P) at Play.com (which is now winging its way to me as we speak):

www.play.com/play247.asp?pa=sr&page=tit ... tle=101229
 
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