JOHN CARPENTER ~ THE MAN AND HIS MOVIES
Posted: Sun, Mar 23 2008 - 13:31 PM
I don't own ALL of John Carpenter's films. In fact, as much as I love him as a director, I'll be the first to admit his recent films pale in comparison to his work from the 70s and 80s. That said, his first smash hit, Halloween (1978), was for many years the most successful independent film ever made. Not bad for a bunch of kids making a horror film about babysitters and the boogeyman.
A list of the Carpenter DVDs I do own:
Elvis - the movie
Escape From New York
Big Trouble in Little China
Escape From L.A.
Though his later films do have their fans, movies like Prince of Darkness, They Live, Vampires, Ghosts of Mars, etc ... fail to measure up to the sheer levels of suspense and entertainment I've come to expect from this man. All right, In The Mouth of Madness was pretty good.
Rob Zombie's 2007 re-imagining of Carpenter's Halloween only served to remind one how skillfully the original was constructed. Zombie's film was 100 times more gory, and 100 times less scary.
Another Carpenter remake has recently been announced, Escape From New York, though the film (once starring 300's Gerard Butler) has hit numerous roadblocks of production trouble, and is currently on hold. Here's hoping it stays that way.
Carpenter's influence was never more apparent than in 2007's Tarantino/Rodriguez double-bill homage to the exploitation movies of the 70s, Grindhouse (and shame on fans for letting this very entertaining film bomb). The movie was practically a love letter to John Carpenter. From its flesh-eating zombies-take-over-the-world plot, to its staccato 4/5 synthesizer soundtrack, to the casting of Kurt Russell as the psychotic Stuntman Mike, the spirit of Carpenter held sway over the movie. Assault on Precinct 13 meets The Thing. I loved it, but refuse to buy the DVD until the producers release it as the double-feature I saw in theaters.
I am posting a BBC-produced documentary below, entitled, John Carpenter: The Man and His Movies. It is an hour in length, and while I am not thrilled with chronology of some of the films discussed, nor the films omitted from discussion, it is still a pretty entertaining and informative program. Much is made of the influence of Alfred Hitchcock thrillers and Howard Hawks westerns on Carpenter -- other insights are equally fascinating.
John Carpenter still has some classic films in him -- here's hoping he gets around to making them.
WORDSLINGER'S UPDATE: Google video embeds are now appearing very tiny (see below) and are unwatchable. To watch this very entertaining documentary, I'm afraid I have to redirect you to its Google page HERE.
Category: The Auteurs