The Playlist

The Essentials: 7 Great John Carpenter Movies

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • July 30, 2013 12:43 PM
  • |
  • 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.

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

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • September 5, 2011 5:16 AM
  • |
  • 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
  • |
  • July 7, 2011 2:02 AM
  • |
  • 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.

Book Review: 'Shock Value' Is The Must-Read Film Book Of The Summer

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • July 5, 2011 1:57 AM
  • |
  • 3 Comments
Much has been written about the film revolution that took place during the 1970’s – when the studio system crumbled in inconceivable ways and a brood of bold young filmmakers, most of them wily, many of them bearded, forever changed the landscape of the film industry. But far less has been written about the seismic shift in genre films during the same period. Thankfully, Jason Zinoman, a crack film writer for the New York Times (he did last weekend’s great John Carpenter profile), has come forward to present a compelling and well researched look at those films in “Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror.”

Trailer: John Carpenter's 'The Ward' Is Filled With Hot Babes (And That Dude From 'Mad Men')

  • By Gabe Toro
  • |
  • January 6, 2011 9:27 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
Today we have our first full look at John Carpenter's "The Ward," the first film from the horror god since "Ghosts of Mars" back in 2001. This is the U.K. trailer, so when they say "Experience Terror From The Master" and then credit him as the man behind only "Halloween," we can only assume our good folks in England haven't yet experienced "The Thing," "Assault on Precinct 13," "Big Trouble in Little China" or "They Live." You poor limey bastards.

John Carpenter To Direct Comic Adaptation 'Darkchylde'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • November 1, 2010 9:26 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
First Look At 'Trespass'; New Films From Jennifer Lynch, Dennis Iliadis & Niels Arden OplevEven though "Fangland" with Hilary Swank seems to have fallen apart, John Carpenter seems well on his way with a new project, an adaptation of the comic "Darkchylde." Created by Randy Queen, the comics follow "a young girl named Ariel Chylde who regularly sheds her skin and turns into her deepest, darkest nightmares." Richard Taylor of WETA recently dropped some test footage from the film (which you can watch below) and indicated they hope to get things going on the film within the year. We've never really paid much attention to the comic, and considering Carpenter hasn't made a film worth caring about in over a decade (this year's "The Ward" was dead-on-arrival at TIFF) we're finding it difficult to muster up too much excitement about this one. But in case dorks start complaining about the CGI in the WETA clip, it's test footage guys, nothing close to final, so relax.

Email Updates

Recent Comments