A Carpenter Winter Redux

(December 17, 2017)

Compared to some of his peers (say, David Cronenberg or John Waters), John Carpenter doesn’t have a very distinct point of view. You can usually spot at Cronenberg or a Waters film from a mile away, while Carpenter is less distinctive. There are some technical things that Carpenter does have a hang-up on, though: He … Continue reading A Carpenter Winter Redux

ACW2010: The Ward

(December 17, 2017)

John Carpenter. The Ward. 2010. This is likely to be John Carpenter’s final movie: He’s said that he has no interest in doing any more of them because he’s retired. It would be fun to say that he went out on a major success, but, as usual, it bombed at the box office. It’s got … Continue reading ACW2010: The Ward

ACW2006: Pro-Life

(December 17, 2017)

John Carpenter. Pro-Life. 2006. This is the other Carpenter episode from the Masters of Horror Showtime TV series. It’s a lot, er, more TV-ey than the Cigarette Burns episode, but it’s still way grislier than there’s any point in being. I had to skip past some of the scenes. But I’m a wimp. The way … Continue reading ACW2006: Pro-Life

ACW2005: Cigarette Burns

(December 16, 2017)

John Carpenter. Cigarette Burns. 2005. This is an episode from the Showtime TV series “Masters of Horror”, which was an anthology horror series that received quite a lot of acclaim at the time. This episode isn’t super-Carpenterish: A lot of faffing about in Europe (with European actors) (or is it Canada?). It’s about a film … Continue reading ACW2005: Cigarette Burns

ACW2001: Ghosts of Mars

(December 15, 2017)

John Carpenter. Ghosts of Mars. 2001. Somehow Carpenter got decent funding for yet another movie after so many of them not making any back (except perhaps 20 years after on DVD). And this time it’s a sci-fi movie! Yay! And Carpenter managed to hire some pretty entertaining actors (Pam Grier, Natasha Henstridge, Clea DuVall, Joanna … Continue reading ACW2001: Ghosts of Mars

ACW1998: Vampires

(December 15, 2017)

“My vampires are savage creatures. There isn’t a second of brooding loneliness in their existence. They’re too busy ripping and tearing humans apart.” Right… John Carpenter. Vampires. 1998. Ah! A vampire film where the vampires are the bad guys! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of those… This is the goriest Carpenter … Continue reading ACW1998: Vampires

ACW1996: Escape from LA

(December 13, 2017)

Debra Hill is back. John Carpenter. Escape from LA. 1996. Wow! Debra Hill is back as a producer! John Carpenter is known as a genre director, but this is the only sequel he’s done. He didn’t even direct any of the Halloween sequels. The highest-rated review on imdb says that it’s a misunderstood masterpieve but … Continue reading ACW1996: Escape from LA

ACW1995: Village of the Damned

(December 10, 2017)

John Carpenter. Village of the Damned. 1995. Well, this isn’t a good movie, but it’s still got a kind of charm going. I’m not quite sure what that charm is, though. Carpenter isn’t an overtly distinctive director, but it’s obvious that he’s got… something… Even if it’s not really on display here much. This post … Continue reading ACW1995: Village of the Damned

ACW1994: In the Mouth of Madness

(December 9, 2017)

I might be slightly mad here, me. John Carpenter. In the Mouth of Madness. 1994. I have no idea whether this was a studio film or not. It has a mid-level budget (more than twice of any of Carpenter’s indie films), but it’s wild and wacky. It’s not really all that scary, but it keeps … Continue reading ACW1994: In the Mouth of Madness

ACW1993: Body Bags

(December 9, 2017)

John Carpenter. Body Bags. 1993. After the horrible (but high-budgeted) Memories of an Invisible Man, Carpenter retreated to TV (Showtime) and made this fun anthology horror show. He directed two of the bits himself (and acted as the “Crypt Keeper” like host for the show) and left the third for Tobe Hooper. This is the … Continue reading ACW1993: Body Bags

ACW1992: Memories of an Invisible Man

(December 9, 2017)

Oops. I seem to have the German bluray… But there’s an English soundtrack on there, too, so never mind. This looks like an incredibly 80s film. Yup. Even though it’s from 1992. Oh, well. He’s more 90s. John Carpenter. Memories of an Invisible Man. 1992. Oh, dead. Carpenter’s back making a studio film after two … Continue reading ACW1992: Memories of an Invisible Man

ACW1988: They Live

(December 8, 2017)

John Carpenter. They Live. 1988. It was a dystopia back when Carpenter made it, but it seems like a pretty romantic and optimistic future now. Anyway, there’s so much to like about this film. The unfathomably stupid protagonist and the wildly corny “pithy sayings” he comes up with; the drag-out professional wrestling match in that … Continue reading ACW1988: They Live

ACW1987: Prince of Darkness

(December 8, 2017)

John Carpenter. Prince of Darkness. 1987. After the unpleasant experience with releasing Big Trouble in Little China (the studio wanted Indiana Jones, which that film definitely wasn’t, so they made him recut the film a couple of times before spiking the release), Carpenter swore off studios. (Or perhaps it was the other way around, because … Continue reading ACW1987: Prince of Darkness

ACW1986: Big Trouble in Little China

(December 8, 2017)

John Carpenter. Big Trouble in Little China. 1986. I really thought I had seen this before, but absolutely nothing looks familiar. I do remember this film getting really bad reviews at the time, and I can see why. It’s a zany comedy/action film; a very popular genre in the 80s. But Carpenter seems to have … Continue reading ACW1986: Big Trouble in Little China

ACW1984: Starman

(December 2, 2017)

What a pretty baby! What is friend? What happened! They’re both in focus at the same time!!! And now the backgrounds are in focus at the same time as the people!? WHAAA. Is this even a Carpenter movie!? John Carpenter. Starman. 1984. By this time in his career, Carpenter had abandoned everybody from his stable … Continue reading ACW1984: Starman

ACW1983: Christine

(December 2, 2017)

Uh-oh. Nasty boys. You can tell that he’s evil by his leather vest. John Carpenter. Christine. 1983. The only thing I remember about this film is 1) I thought it was a bit meh, and 2) I had several friends that thought this was the greatest film ever. Or something. I’m excited to determine who … Continue reading ACW1983: Christine

ACW1982: The Thing

(December 2, 2017)

John Carpenter. The Thing. 1982. Carpenter’s first major studio movie. It’s very different from all his preceding films: Instead of a cheery amateurishness, we’re into Standard 80s Sci-Fi territory. “Competent” US actors that emote in the normal American mainstream film way, and a “professional” film score that tells us how to feel at any given … Continue reading ACW1982: The Thing

ACW1981: Escape from New York

(December 1, 2017)

That’s pretty much how cell phones looked in 1997. John Carpenter. Escape from New York. 1981. It’s fun watching these Carpenter films chronologically. You see how Carpenter’s cast of regulars develop. Adrienne Barbeau (who first popped up in that TV horror film) reappears, and the star is, of course, Elvis. This is another one of … Continue reading ACW1981: Escape from New York

ACW1980: The Fog

(December 1, 2017)

That looks so much like a real house and where you would park your car! John Carpenter. The Fog. 1980. The explanation for the multiple beers (or “beers”): I’ve been having this weird problem the last few weeks with some ripped Blurays. Most of them play just fine, but a handful have sound that’s 10% … Continue reading ACW1980: The Fog

ACW1979: Elvis

(November 26, 2017)

Apparently Fritz the Cat was huge in Tupelo in the 40s. Elvis. 1979. I didn’t know what to expect. John Carpenter doing a TV documentary about Elvis? Presley? Starring Kurt Russell!? But John Carpenter is no David Cronenberg. I had somehow gotten them slightly confused in my brain: They’re both people starting in the 70s … Continue reading ACW1979: Elvis

ACW1978: Someone’s Watching Me!

(November 26, 2017)

Someone’s Watching Me!. 1978. This film was made before Halloween, but released after it, apparently. I thought it kinda strange that Carpenter would go from a smash hit like Halloween to making films for TV (it was shown on NBC), but that chronology makes more sense. The version I watched is in 16:9, which is … Continue reading ACW1978: Someone’s Watching Me!

ACW1978: Halloween

(November 25, 2017)

Halloween. 1978. As with most of these films, I’ve only seen them on VHS before. Man, the blu-ray transfers look fine. (And all of John Carpenter’s films seem to be available on blu-ray, which is pretty impressive (commercially) for a director.) The movie may have had a small budget, but Carpenter didn’t skimp on the … Continue reading ACW1978: Halloween

ACW1976: Assault on Precinct 13

(November 24, 2017)

Assault on Precinct 13. 1976. John Carpenter’s music is a definite draw. It’s kinda raw and has a vitality to it. Anyway, I thought I had seen this before, but I think I must have been confusing this film with The Warriors or Fort Apache, The Bronx or something. Some of the scenes are very … Continue reading ACW1976: Assault on Precinct 13

ACW1974: Dark Star

(November 24, 2017)

Dark Star. 1974. Hey! It’s movie time again! I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this before, but it’s a long long time ago. The context now is very different, because it seems like every other line in the film is familiar from samples in music. I think Meat Beat Manifesto has most of the dialogue on … Continue reading ACW1974: Dark Star

A Carpenter Winter

(November 24, 2017)

I had planned on re-watching all of Ingmar Bergman’s films starting about right now (we all need cheering up when winter arrives, right?), but the Bergman box set has had its release pushed back two week, so I’m here without any Bergman movies to watch. So I got all of John Carpenter’s films instead, because … Continue reading A Carpenter Winter