Hell In Space

Enjoying Horror & Science Fiction At It’s Best!

Legends Of Horror: John Carpenter

John Carpenter… The legend behind one of the most successful slasher horror movie frnachises of all time!

Now if you have been following me through out my time writing articles for Hell In Space… You would probably recognize the fact that John Carpenter (Halloween) is one of my favorite horror movie filmmakers of all time!

And he has justified it in full! John Carpenter is a justified legend of horror!

Ok, so at a young age, John Carpenter has always been interested in both film and music… As a matter of fact, his father was actually a, ‘Music Professor’!

A young John Carpenter during a publicity still for, Big Trouble In Little China (1986).

From a young age John Carpenter has been tremendously interested in both Western movies and Science Fiction movies… Including such films as: as Forbidden Planet (1956)… And, The Thing From Another Planet (1951), (A great Science Fiction/Horror movie!)

Basically from what I can tell he is a huge fan of, ‘Howard Hawks’ (Rio Bravo), because besides his horror and science fiction films… Mr. Carpenter is a huge fan of Howard Hawks western films.

So of course this was the first beginning of what would later become a prolific filmmaker career!

Since John Carpenter is a fan of, ‘The Thing From Another World’ he decided to remake it in the early 80s with, ‘The Thing’!

In the 1960s he would go on to Film School where he would be in a position to do a short film by the name of, ‘Captain Voyuer’, which… For that being what that is… It is interesting… Because it was found in the USC film archive (He went to USC,) it was interesting because some of the film techniques that he used in this film… He would incorporate in to one of his biggest films of all time, Halloween (1978)!

After that he would go on to work on another movie by the name of, Resurrection Of Bronco Billy (1970)… Where he would co-write the film with Nick Castle (Who would go on the play, ‘Michael Myers’ in the first and most recent Halloween movies!)

Now John Carpenter was one of those lucky sort that managed to really dive in to something really awesome in a film career! With one of his first major movies that he did after school was the cult classic: Dark Star (1974)… A science fiction comedy that included: Dan O’Bannon (Alien)… Who would later become famous for his own string of great B movies!

A young John Carpenter on the set of, Dark Star (1974)!

But his next film is one that is one that he said he considers to be, ‘my first film’… That is the movie Assault On Precinct 13 (1976)…

This movie has a lot of the elements that you can tell that would be kind of his signature style in alot of his non-horror/Science Fiction films… The best way I can describe it is using a style that is sort of an homage to the classic western films that Howard Hawkes did a long time ago…

What I mean by this, is that you generally take a particularly strong leading man, and you put him in with a crowd that varies in strength and promise… And then you put them in a situation that is almost overwhelmming.

Assault On Precinct 13… An homage to Howard Hawkes classic Western movies.

In a lot of respects you could say that, Austin Stoker (Terror Among Us)… Or that it was Darwin Joston (Eraserhead)… But the truth is, is I would say that they both are the strong leading men in this… They both had elements that fit that classic John Wayne (The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance) western….

And they worked increbly well together, like how it works in alot of western movies!

Regardless, it was a great film… And even if it is not his first legit film… It is definitely his first legitimate film that brought him to prominence for the various roles that he took on to ensure that the film was made (Besides Director, he was also wrote the script, and did the music as well!)

John Carpenter scoring, ‘Assault On Precinct 13’!

And then a few years later, he do one of the biggest films of his career… That is, Halloween (1978)!

This movie would be considered to be one of the biggest films for a couple of reasons:

1: Even though I don’t think it was entirely intended… But Halloween trailblazed the 80s slasher films… And alot of the broad strokes that John Carpenter brought to the first Halloween, Sean S. Cunningham (The Hills Have Eyes) adapted for, ‘Friday The 13th’… Robert Hiltzik (Toxic Tutu) seemed to adapt that for Sleepaway Camp (1983)… Etc..

Michael Myers helped blaze the trail for Jason Voorhees in the, ‘Friday The 13th’ series!

2: This movie would also produce upon itself one of great slasher horror movie series of all time with a series that includes 8 movies and a remake series of 2 films in and of itself!

3: And this is a feat that I wanted to add in here… With Studios butchering classic horror films in an effort to try and reclaim the original magic of these classic series first films… Halloween is one of the few films that bounced back from an unfortunately subpar remake film series (Not my opinion… In my opinion… A solid remake series…. Not as good as the original series… But a good one never-the-less!)

Now we cut more deeply in to the work that John Carpenter did in the 1980s… (In my opinion the pinnacle of his success… He did some solid work in the 90s and some in the new millennium… But nothing like he did in the 1980s…)

John Carpenter with Kurt Russell on the set of, Escape From New York (1981)!

With that said, he really did a booming career in the 80s (some of these films he did then are currently being remade or have already been remade…)

This was the decade of the time where he really started developing those casts that would last for years: Kurt Russell (Escape From New York), Tom Atkins (Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch), Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog) and so much more!

During this decade he would go on to remake, ‘The Thing From Another Planet’… With his movie, The Thing (1982)…

Kurt Russell in, The Thing (1982)!

This movie is such a success with horror and science fiction fans that it is today still considered to be on par with movies like, Aliens (1986), and Predator (1987)!

And other such classics include: Escape From New York (1981)… Another classic film that developed one of pop cultures most famous heroes of the 1980s (Snake Plissken)!

This movie is also one of the films of the 3 films that Kurt Russell did with John Carpenter that brought his career further in to prominence in the 1980s (Besides Escape From New York… They also worked on the sequel, ‘Escape From Los Angeles’ and, ‘Big Trouble In Little China’!)

‘Big Trouble’ is not the first movie that Kurt Russell and John Carpenter did together!

The last film that I wanted to mention here that Mr. Carpenter did, (a movie that in my opinion, really ended the 80s on a high note… That is, They Live (1988)!)

Now he did a a few decent films in the 90s… Including: Vampires (1998), In The Mouth Of Madness (1994) and Village Of The Damned (1995).

In the 2000s, I will be honest and say that he has not done as much in films… I know that he has been doing stuff like, ‘Old Man Jack’ (A comic that tells of the modern story regarding what happened to Jack Burton after Big Trouble In Little China!

Old Man Jack… A comic book update on the life and times of, ‘Jacl Burton’ who had last been seen on screen in John Carpenter’s 1980s action fantasy movie, ‘Big Trouble In Little China’!

But there really unfortunately just is not much to say after… So I will leave you with this… John Carpenter is one of the better filmmakers out there today… He has hit a ton of different genres and has made amazing films and then left the genre better for it!

If you would like some more information on the brilliant Director’s work in horror and science fiction, check out these trailers for some of his better films/TV Movies of the last 50 years!

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