John Carpenter revisited

I will take my licks. I’ve seen it several times and it just leaves me cold. Well, not cold, there’s still the great vibe he sets up, but it just never quite seems to pay off. Maybe it’s tainted by my memories of first watching it, where I missed the end of the movie, and years later rewatched it and found it didn’t live up to my expectations.

I mean come on, pilgrim ghosts though?

I have a headcannon series of events that take place in the wake of Prince of Darkness (well, a slightly modified version of it; less satan and more weird/cosmic horror) that leads to an eventual Swords and Super Science/post apocalypse D&D campaign.

Also, Adrienne Barbeau.

But The Fog’s definitely no Prince of Darkness or In the Mouth of Madness, and neither of those are The Thing, so.

You can rent it on Amazon Prime for $5

Ah thanks, I’m sure it wasn’t there last I looked. I know what I’m watching tonight then.

No fans of Ghosts of Mars? (LOL you watched Ghosts of Mars…)

I watched Halloween yesterday, it was proably the second time since the 90s … and it showed way more Gestaltungswille, more will to frame scenes and actors in the camera. In PoD, the camera work looked really like no effort was made (most of the time).

There are some good/great scenes in Halloween. Near the end, when JLC killed Meyers the second time and sent off the kids, she stays in the house and from a dark shadow the face of Meyers emerges. A really great, iconic shot. Or when JLC flees to the other house followed by a hand camera and it almost looks as she stumbles because the whole ground is moving and shaking. Or when Meyers played the silent ghost with glasses.

There are some silly things, like when the girl got stuck when doing her laundry, or Meyers put the gravestone in the bed, or how the actors fail to smoke cigarettes in a realistic way, it does look really fake. The cigarettes don’t even look like they are properly lit or filled with tobacco.

It was a nice surprise, when Jamie Lee Curtis and the boy watched a horror movie on TV, the credits started, RKO, I was wondering what’s coming, and then the letters for The Thing appeared exactly as they were recreated by Carpenter later in his film. I need to watch the original Thing sometime.

Donald Pleasance appeared to be like some van Helsing type of character. For a while he was barking at the wrong tree, but appeared at the right time for the finale to kill the Vampire/Meyers. Because JLC just could not do it, she killed Meyers 3 times. Oh, DP also couldn’t do it. So Meyers an actual vampire? It’s strange that they made Meyers this super human.

I am missing the context here, when the movie came out. Was the audience shocked? Did they like the ending?

I liked the sound design, when the classic horror movie sounds were edited over the present action. The music added a lot to the atmossphere, very iconic.

I don’t want to watch Texas Chain Saw again, but I have a feeling that Halloween is more of a trashy slasher, and TCM is more of a serious horror film. There is just so little context given to Meyers. It’s like he is pure evil. The introduction to him in the 60s was quite shocking. DP adds a lot to the “pure evil” lore. So the more I think of it, the more I think that this is kind of a crude vampire-type movie. Also the relationship to sex and death is a theme in vampire movies.

I am just a bit curious if I should watch the other 2 sequels with Jamie Lee Curtis. She was actually great, well she always is…

Who likes Halloween?

Not really. no. Carpenter didn’t want to do the sequel but was talked into it enough that he wrote the script but passed off directing. It’s not really worth watching.

H20 is a better movie. But it’s not great. Although it was intended to close the book on Laurie and Michael (so technically the first, second, and this movie are sort of their own continuity), and it does so effectively. Indeed, the finale is pretty awesome.

Carpenter did not want to give a lot of context to Meyers. All the ultimate evil stuff was a human lens he was viewed through. Michael is not a vampire (lol). But his seeming invulnerability/strength/etc was all basically reinforce both how dangerous he was and essentially how alien/other he was. He wanted Meyers to be like a natural disaster, a horrible tornado if you will.

I think I am misremembering, but there was a movie director who was witness to some kind of shooting or killing that happened at a bus stop. Was this John Carpenter? I can’t find this information any more… I know some movie director (in his youth) was involved, and then he went on to become a director. But who was it?

I’ve not heard this story, unfortunately. I’m not an expert in all things Carpenter (the man/director) so I can’t rule out it was him (or confirm it, if it was him).

100% agree. Also funny to hear them talk about doing the commentary for these new fangled laserdiscs. Kurt just chuckles his way through the whole film.

Prince of Darkness made a really deep impression on me as a teenager. Coming out of the mid-80s style of movies where most everything was wrapped up in a tidy bow at the end, the film’s unresolved questions and nihilistic sense of inevitable victory by evil was pretty novel to the young me.

I also liked how they portrayed the intersection of science and religion in this film. Most books and movies on the subject had the credulous scientist running towards religion with the hope of “solving” it, only to fall prey to the ineffable nature of the supernatural and paying a price for it. This movie ends up at the same destination, but they don’t just throw science out the window – the scientists are unprepared for their discovery, but the link between advanced science and religion is still there at the end. It’s one of the reasons I still have a soft spot for Event Horizon.

Still, I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that PoD is a “good” Carpenter movie. The characters are generally unlikable, and the plot is muddy and hard to follow.

But that last scene is still burned into my memory, and that’s more than I can say for most movies.

If you have read the book version of Christine, the movie is * really * disappointing. For me, I don’t know if I can go back and watch it again as just a movie. I loved the book, the movie was very meh - heck, I didn’t even like the casting.

ugh, I think the streaming version of Prince of Darkness was cropped, didn’t display the original format. I think that’s the reason why shots looked kind of sloppy… I will try to find a DVD/BluRay with the correct aspect ratio…

I watched Halloween for the first time a year or so ago. It was on TV a couple of times when I was a kid, but I somehow always missed it.
It’s still a good movie, IMHO. It came as quite a surprise to me what a puristic approach Carpenter took. It was a pretty clean movie, and I mean it in a positve way. The only reason why I only think it’s good, but not great is that I have “indirectly” seen it too often. It was copied a hundred times, often whole sequences.

The original The Thing from another world by Howard Hawks is rock solid creature Sci-Fi stuff, if you like those classics. Tarantula and Them! are my thing, so this movie was a feast for me.

The latest Halloween from 2 years ago, again with JLC, was surprisingly good. Not the second coming some critics claimed, but a good genre movie. The fresh perspective is that JLC’s character is no longer a victim. She’s willing to fight back.

I have seen this movie probably thirty times. Was a Halloween tradition to watch it growing up. I still laugh at the “I’ll show you how saturated I can get” line.

Watched The Fog too. It was solid, but seemed outdated to me. 6/10.

Ghosts of Mars. Avoid.

Vampires. Carpenter is a big western fan, and this is a western disguised as vampire action. The style is a bit similar to They Live, Escape from New York and Asault on Precinct 13.
I like it a lot, but it’s full of character and easy not to enjoy.

Assault on Precinct 13. Carpenter transforms a classic western scenario (El Dorado, Rio Bravo - alos by Howard Hawks) into a gang scenario and uses it for a comment on violence.
I think the movie still holds up fine. Not much explanations. The incident happens, the viewer gets drawn in by the shocking confrontation after a few minutes. Then the faceless villains come wave after wave. Once again a movie without any fat on the ribs. 8/10
The remake with Laurence Fishburne was surprisingly effective. I recommend it.

Dark Star. No budget, but a lot of creativity. A spoof on 2001. Slow pace, many funny ideas, consequently supported by long dialogs. I still find it funny. Not sure though how it holds up for somebody who sees it for the first time.

Escape from New York and The Thing. These are Carpenter’s masterpieces. No discussion about it. 10/10.

They Live!. A second tier Carpenter. I like it, even though it’s a B Movie. It has this typical Carpenter kind of coolness. Guess it’s still worth a look. 7/10.

This is why it doesn’t do much for me. It’s well made but it’s been so heavily copied that it held no surprises for me and I don’t inherently enjoy slasher movies.

Yes, not much suspense left. The movie buff in me enjoyed watching the original in pure form, though. Don’t think I’ll ever watch it again.