The Playlist

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.

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.

Box Office: Slow Weekend As '80s Remakes 'Footloose' & 'The Thing' Open Soft; 'Real Steel' Stays #1

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 16, 2011 3:40 AM
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  • 7 Comments
You put out one remake of an '80s movie during a slow weekend, and it’s not a big deal. You put out remakes of two niche early '80s hits on the same weekend, and audiences get the message. This weekend was the clearest example yet of studios offering reheated product, one of which was remains in public memory as a punch line, the other as a cult classic that was ignored by critics and audiences upon its initial release. At least they weren’t expensive.

In Theaters: '80s Night At The Multiplex With 'Footloose' & 'The Thing'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • October 14, 2011 7:34 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Kick off your Sunday shoes, dear readers, this weekend it's time to cut loose with "Footloose." And what's that? It's a remake-tastic weekend with "The Thing" also in theaters, if you enjoy your '80s nostalgia with body inhabiting aliens instead of nubile dancing teens. Also, Señor Almodóvar's latest, "The Skin I Live In," and the funnymen trio of Martin, Wilson and Black in "The Big Year."

Review: 'The Thing' Lamely Inhabits John Carpenter's Original & Turns Into A Generic Monster Movie

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 13, 2011 3:55 AM
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  • 5 Comments
"The Thing" arrives this weekend as a prequel to John Carpenter's masterful 1982 film, that aims to theoretically expand on the story presented nearly three decades ago by telling us what happened at the Norwegian compound that first housed the alien infection that then spread to the American base. But perhaps it should be no surprise that screenwriter Eric Heisserer, the man behind "Final Destination 5" and the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" reboot, has little imagination or ability to bring anything new to the table. So what we end up with is a strange hybrid of a movie, one that is oddly slavishly devoted to Carpenter's original, but when given the chance to put its own stamp on the material, falls back on tried and true genre antics. To put in perspective just how at odds this prequel and Carpenter's film really are, the 1982 film starts in a panic in a sequence that ends up with a guy getting dramatically shot in the face -- Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s movie kicks off with crude sex joke.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead Says Reshoots On 'The Thing' Were To Help Punch Up The Story & Ending

  • By Jeff Otto
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  • October 10, 2011 10:58 AM
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  • 1 Comment
While fans and followers of John Carpenter's seminal "The Thing" are quick to dismiss anything that dares to touch the hallowed material of the horror maestro, even the strictest purists have to admit to at least a morbid curiosity in Matthijs van Heijiningen Jr.’s forthcoming prequel to the 1982 film.

'The Thing' Director Matthijs Van Heijningen Jr. May Return To Zack Snyder's 'Army Of The Dead'

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • October 4, 2011 2:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Filmmaker Matthijs Van Heijningen Jr. is unknown to most audiences, and with good reason: his forthcoming version of “The Thing” is the commercials director’s first feature movie. But if the film becomes a hit in the way that he and Universal are hoping, he may soon entertain a variety of options for his follow-up, including one project he started on even before deciding to tackle “The Thing,” a zombie-themed science fiction film entitled “Army of the Dead.” Van Heijningen told The Playlist that he isn’t sure if that’s his next film, but indicated that the project actually was far into development before being shelved three years ago.

Watch: Mary Elizabeth Winstead Doesn't Know Who To Trust In New Clip From 'The Thing'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 30, 2011 1:58 AM
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  • 1 Comment
What's worse than having a job in the icy, forbidding wastelands of Antarctica? Finding out that there is a shapeshifting monster out there picking off your colleagues.

The Last Place You Wanna Be Is Cooped Up With A Dozen Norwegian Guys In 'The Thing' Red Band Trailer

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 19, 2011 6:09 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Forget all those awards season prestige movies and international arthouse hits. With TIFF, Venice and Telluride over, it's now back to blockbuster schlock, so let's get on with the unnecessary "The Thing" remake shall we?

‘The Thing’ Remake Yells "Boo!" In First Clip

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 8, 2011 4:50 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The hype generator surrounding Universal’s pricey remake/reimagining/whatever of John Carpenter’s 1982 chiller “The Thing” (itself a remake of 1951’s “The Thing From Another World”) has been on the fritz lately. We first got a fairly impressive look at the movie way back at last year’s New York Comic Con. At that point the film was scheduled for an April 29th, 2011 bow, before getting pushed back considerably to the more Halloween-friendly slot of October 14th, 2011. While this new release date is right around the corner, only one trailer and a single mysterious poster for the flick had surfaced in recent months (though we’re just happy it’s a Halloween release that doesn’t feature home video footage of ghosts). Well, the hype generator seems to have been reengaged, with MTV (via Coming Soon) debuting the first stand alone clip from the movie.

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