John Carpenter

  • John Carpenter – Dark Star (1974)

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    As the directorial debut of John Carpenter, Dark Star has achieved a degree of cult status over the years. It’s no masterpiece by any stretch and the acting, dialogue, and pace are a bit stale, but this spacey 1974 parody of Stanley Kubrick’s classics, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr. Strangelove, is intriguing in that it features many of the elements that became staples of Carpenter films: a simple but effective score, anti-establishment sentiments, blue-collar characters, and a downbeat ending. Taking inspiration from 1958’s It! The Terror from Beyond Space, Carpenter began the film while attending USC in 1970 and later expanded it to feature length. He was assisted significantly by future screenwriter Dan O’Bannon (who later wrote the very similar Alien), whose multiple credits on the film include a starring role. One scene featuring O’Bannon’s character Pinback playing a game in which he stabs an ice pick between his fingers was later used by James Cameron in Aliens. O’Bannon’s most impressive contribution to the film, however, were his special effects, which are startling for a film with such a low budget.Read More »

  • John Carpenter – Escape from New York (1981)

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    In the future, crime is out of control and New York City’s Manhattan is a maximum security prison. Grabbing a bargaining chip right out of the air, convicts bring down the President’s plane in bad old Gotham. Gruff Snake Plissken, a one-eyed lone warrior new to prison life, is coerced into bringing the President, and his cargo, out of this land of undesirables.Read More »

  • John Carpenter – Elvis (1979)

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    Elvis is a 1979 television film by John Carpenter and is based upon the life of Elvis Presley, starring Kurt Russell in the title role. However, it ends in 1969 and does not depict the last few years of Presley’s life and career.

    Elvis is notable in Carpenter’s career for two reasons. It was made after Halloween had wrapped, so it offered him an avenue to try his hand at a film away from the horror genre. It was also the first time Carpenter had worked with Russell, who became a frequent collaborator of Carpenter’s. Russell subsequently starred in Escape from New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Big Trouble in Little China (1985), and Escape from L.A. (1996).Read More »

  • John Carpenter – They Live (1988)

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    John Nada (Roddy Piper) is a quiet loner, a drifter who gets work where ever he can find it. While working on a construction site in L.A. and sleeping in a vagrant community at night, John stumbles upon a secret society of alien beings who pose as wealthy and powerful people in human society. John joins a rebel group commited to exposing this conspiracy, and becomes their reluctant leader and the only hope of the human race. Former wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper is outstanding as the unassuming hero, playing the role with understated shock at what he uncovers and stubborn courage when he confronts it.Read More »

  • John Carpenter – The Thing [+Extras] (1982)

    1981-1990HorrorJohn CarpenterSci-FiUSA

    Based on both the short story by John W. Campbell, Jr. and the 1951 film produced by Howard Hawks, THE THING is John Carpenter’s stunning masterpiece of horror. A group of weary scientists enduring the winter in an isolated camp deep in Antarctica chance upon an alien spacecraft buried in the ice. Near the strange craft is the body of an alien being, frozen solid. Thinking they have made the find of a lifetime, the scientists bring the alien body back to camp and thaw it out. The alien awakens, not in the best of moods, and proceeds to take over the identities of the scientists, one by one, body and all. Helicopter pilot MacCready (Kurt Russell) must lead the surviving men in discovering who among them is human and who is not and how they can destroy “the thing” before it takes them all and moves on to the heavily populated mainland and the rest of humanity.Read More »

  • John Carpenter – Masters of Horror: John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns (2005)

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    “I know what you want, you want to see the movie.”

    John Carpenter directs this unsettling installment of the “Masters of Horror” series, following one man’s search for the holy grail of horror cinema. Hired by a millionaire collector (Udo Kier) to retrieve the infamous Le Fin du Monde — a violent movie that reportedly causes viewers to turn into homicidal maniacs after they watch it — an unsuspecting theater owner (Norman Reedus) begins to fall under the film’s spell.Read More »

  • John Carpenter – Halloween [Extended Edition] (1978)

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    Plot Synopsis from AMG

    It was “The Night HE Came Home,” warned the posters for John Carpenter’s career-making horror smash. In Haddonfield, Ilinois, on Halloween night 1963, 6-year-old Michael Myers inexplicably slaughters his teenage sister. His psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) can’t penetrate Michael’s psyche after years of institutionalization, but he knows that, when Myers escapes before Halloween in 1978, there is going to be hell to pay in Haddonfield. While Loomis heads to Haddonfield to alert police, Myers spots bookish teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and follows her, constantly appearing and vanishing as Laurie and her looser friends Lynda (P.J. Soles) and Annie (Nancy Loomis) make their Halloween plans. By nightfall, the responsible Laurie is doing her own and Annie’s babysitting jobs, while Annie and Lynda frolic in the parent-free house across the street. But Annie and Lynda are not answering the phone, and suspicious Laurie heads across the street to the darkened house to see what is going on .
    Lucia BozzolaRead More »

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