The Playlist

Watch: Vintage 30-Minute 'Fear On Film' Talk With John Landis, David Cronenberg & John Carpenter

  • By Ben Brock
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  • April 16, 2014 11:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
God, I wish this conversation between John Landis, David Cronenberg and John Carpenter, about the history, nature and culture of horror movies, could go forever. And all this back in 1982, a golden age for horror and a time when all three men were at the height of their considerable powers.

The Playlist Team Picks Their 13 Scariest Movies

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • October 31, 2013 12:19 PM
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  • 15 Comments
Favorite horror movies
On the off chance you haven't literally tripped over a pumpkin in the last five minutes, we're here to remind you that tonight we celebrate the single greatest excuse ever invented to get trashed and wear skimpy clothing: Halloween. But of course, in addition to its status for some as a nationwide night of consequence-free hedonistic abandon, for others, Halloween has a deeper, more rarefied spiritual function: as a time to discover the limits of rationality; to test the boundaries of your relationship with the unknown and unknowable; in short, to scare yourself shitless.

The Essentials: 7 Great John Carpenter Movies

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • July 30, 2013 12:43 PM
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  • 8 Comments
John Carpenter Essentials
This week, "The Fog," filmmaker John Carpenter's 1980 chiller about a fog that rolls into a sleepy seaside community carrying with it ghostly visitors, will be re-released on Blu-ray and DVD by Shout Factory, complete with a host of all new special features (including a wonderful, retrospective conversation with Jamie Lee Curtis that doesn't just cover her collaborations with Carpenter but goes on to include a frank discussion of most of her genre work from that period). With its pristine picture quality and sound, it goes a long way in reminding you what a skilled technician and artist Carpenter truly is, able to conjure forth visions of nightmarish clarity, nearly out of thin air. This is a director capable of keeping you up at night, but one who isn't interested in a cheap scare. When asked to give advice to young filmmakers, he said, simply, "Play for history if possible." That's certainly what Carpenter has tried to do; and to celebrate this recent release we've decided to run down seven of his most essential films. Frequent collaborator Kurt Russell has said of his friend that he "sees the world slightly askew." As a Russell character in a John Carpenter movie would say: no shit.

Watch: Test Footage From John Carpenter's 'Halloween' Using Steadicam Competitor Panaglide

  • By Cain Rodriguez
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  • July 30, 2013 10:42 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Though many know of the great impact that the Steadicam had on the filmmaking world at large, few are aware of its competitor, the Panaglide. Though many use the two names interchangeably now, both were two different systems that were part of a nasty battle but what’s important now are the images the two rigs have given us over the years. In the case of Panavision’s Panaglide, it gave John Carpenter the power to put his audience into the mind of a killer and test footage shot during the pre-production of the seminal horror classic “Halloween” using the new technology has appeared online.

Watch: 1-Hour 2004 Documentary 'John Carpenter: Fear Is Just The Beginning...The Man And His Movies'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 6, 2013 12:00 PM
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  • 4 Comments
There is no doubt that John Carpenter is already one of the titans of genre filmmaking, and one whose influence is still being felt today, even if his most recent efforts haven't quite matched his career highs. But really, getting into the same ballpark of movies like "Dark Star," "Halloween," "Assault On Precinct 13," "The Thing," "They Live" and more is no easy feat. And the fact that Carpenter is the man who made all those movies himself (and more), is frankly a testament to his talent.

Exclusive: Jeff Nichols Talks John Carpenter-Esque 'Midnight Special,' Wants To Make 'Tremors'-Style Film & More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • April 23, 2013 3:00 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Yesterday we sat down with Jeff Nichols, the talented indie filmmaker behind "Shotgun Stories," "Take Shelter," and this week's "Mud" which stars Matthew McConaughey in another great post-career resurgence performance (more from our interview later this week). While we had him, we couldn't help but ask about an upcoming project he's already teased – a John Carpenter-esque chase movie called "Midnight Special." Nichols talked at length about the movie, its tone and mood, and what is compelling him to make it as well. The director also discussed "Mud" and a laundry list of projects and genres he'd like to tackle. And given his output thus far, there's little reason to doubt he'll achieve them all.

'Mud' & 'Take Shelter' Director Jeff Nichols Writing John Carpenter-Esque Project ‘Midnight Special'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 22, 2013 11:24 AM
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  • 1 Comment
After making three distinct, small-scale films focusing on unique individuals caught in stories that could also be fables or fairy tales -- "Shotgun Stories," "Take Shelter," the upcoming "Mud" -- Jeff Nichols seems to want to shift gears a bit. He was on Fox's shortlist to take over "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" before it went to Matt Reeves, and over the summer he signed on to helm teen genius tale "The Boy Who Played With Fusion." In short, it seems like Nichols wants to play a bit more with genre material, and indeed, he's writing something we might not expect from him.

5 Things You Might Not Know About John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 25, 2012 1:58 PM
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  • 4 Comments
June 25, 1982, was a good day for genre fans. Hell, that summer saw a spate of genre classics released, including "The Road Warrior," "Poltergeist," and "E.T." But June 25th in particular saw not only the release, as we discussed earlier today, of "Blade Runner," but also another legendary sci-fi picture, which like Ridley Scott's film, wasn't well-received at the time, and flopped at the box office, but went on to be enshrined in the geek hall of fame. No, it's not Barry Bostwyck vehicle "MegaForce," it was John Carpenter's terrifying "The Thing," which despite the efforts of last year's poor retread/prequel, remains one of the greatest sci-fi/horrors ever made.

John Carpenter Wants Amy Adams To Star In His "Gothic Western" (In His Dreams)

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 5, 2011 5:16 AM
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  • 13 Comments
It's been well documented how much John Carpenter loves and is influenced by classic westerns – his breakthrough feature "Assault on Precinct 13" was an updated, urbanized version of Howard Hawks' "Rio Bravo;" his iconic Snake Plissken character is modeled after the western heroes John Wayne embodied; and his films often share a kind of compositional identity with early westerns with an emphasis on the kind of luxurious widescreen framing that Sergio Leone and John Ford employed. But he's never actually made an honest-to-god western himself, although 1998's mostly forgettable "Vampires," with James Woods playing a grizzled vampire hunter, probably comes closest. Well, if Carpenter has his way, his next film will be the straight up western he's always dreamed of (and he even has casting ideas already).

Review: John Carpenter Retires, Forgets That He Had To Direct 'The Ward'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 7, 2011 2:02 AM
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  • 6 Comments
An open field. A girl. A fire. A mystery. Ignoring a brief and ultimately irrelevant prologue, the beginning of “The Ward” immediately pulls us into the story of a classic horror convention, the Survivor Girl. Except, tantalizingly, we don’t know what she’s survived and, given a few orchestral cues, we may even question whether she has survived or not.

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