"Master Of Horror"
"We're a violent country. We always have been. We embrace our individuality
and our violence." -John Carpenter
The first John Carpenter film I saw was 'The Thing' and it scared the
living daylights out of me. Up until this point I wasn't often permitted by my parents to watch Horror movies but for some reason they decided
to let me watch it. I am telling you this film haunted me for days! I
could not get the image of the head that sprouted legs out of my mind.
And it wasn't just that scene either. There were so many shocking images in this film that I couldn't stop talking about it for days. I must
have driven my poor parents nuts. I went on and on discussing, at great
length, much to my parents chagrin, the guy getting hit with the paddles and his whole chest collapsing and "eating" the other guys hands! I
would tell anyone who would listen to me go on and they were mortified!
The next Carpenter film I saw was 'Halloween'. I remember when this film
premiered that the trailer would play on commercial breaks right before
my bedtime and I would lay in bed terrified. The music alone scared the
hell out of me! Still to this day I find it extremely creepy.(so creepy
that my best friend even has her phone set up so that's what she hears
when I call it) For as long I can remember Michael Myers has always
struck fear in the heart of me so by the time I actually got to see this film (I somehow convinced the babysitter to let me watch it) I was so
scared I had a pit in my stomach almost to the point of nausea but at
the same time I was so excited I could barely contain myself. I was
finally going to see it for myself!! And see it I did! I couldn't sleep
for weeks. I kept hearing the music in my head and I was convinced
Michael Myers was lurking in my back yard. Needless to say, My parents
fired that babysitter.
There were so many awesome films that followed and I can remember the first
time I saw each one with perfect clarity. Not only that but how excited I would get just settling in and waiting for the film to start. To this
day, they are still some of my favorite films. 'The Village of the
Damned' creeped me out beyond belief with those scary little white-blond children. 'Prince of Darkness' made it impossible to look into a mirror for myself and a number of my girl friends. 'They Live' was way ahead
of it's time (and has the longest fight scene in film history). 'Body
Bags' which has one of my all time favorite shorts 'The Gas Station' and who could forget 'Escape From New York' and it's sequel that came many
years later 'Escape from L.A.' or his 'Masters of Horror' episodes
"Cigarette Burns' and 'Pro-life'?
One of the things that made Michael Myers so scary for me was the edge
of your seat suspense that Carpenter used rather than the gore that
would later define the Slasher genre. It was the movie that helped
return the Horror genre to box offices and also helped give birth to
the slasher film genre. Much of Hollywood was impressed with his
ability to make quality films with shoestring budgets.
A graduate of USC film school, Many people know John Carpenter for his
work in the horror industry but he has directed in many genres, not to
mention his work in screenwriting and composing. He is responsible for
the screenplays of 'The Eyes Of Laura Mars', 'Halloween II', and 'The
Philadelphia Experiment' just to name a few. At the time of 'Ghosts Of
Mars' he had composed music for 17 of his 20 film productions. His film
'John Carpenter's Vampires' set a box office record for the biggest
Halloween weekend ever but most of his popularity is due to the
Apocalyptic undertones of his movies which are most prominent in the
unofficially titled 'Apocalypse Trilogy' which consists of 'The Thing'
(1982) 'Prince Of Darkness' (1987) and 'In The Mouth Of Madness' (1995). Watch these and you will see that this man's talents are truly
John Carpenter was very fond of westerns as a child which was evidenced when he won an Oscar (while still a student at USC) for the 1970 short 'The Resurrection Of Bronco Billy'. He has also won 3 Saturn Awards for
'John Carpenter's: Vampires' and a Cable Ace Award for his TV Western
'El Diablo'. He was also heavily influenced by Howard Hawks, Alfred
Hitchcock,' The Twilight Zone' and 1950's low budget sci-fi films. He
actually began filming horror shorts on 8mm before he even entered High
School! He has been the subject of a documentary titled 'John Carpenter: The Man and His Movies' and it was recently rumored that he is set to
helm the film adaptation of Randy Queen's Comic 'Darkchylde'. He is also a man who is truly dedicated to his fans. So much so that when he
recently passed out at a horror convention and was rushed to the
hospital, CAME BACK to the convention so his fans would not be
disappointed even though he probably shouldn't have.
Carpenter really is a true Master of Horror and I for one hope he
continues to make movies in the Horror Genre as well as all other
genres. He is a genius in his field and I hope to keep on watching the
master at work!
"In France, I'm an amateur. In Germany a film maker. In Britain a GENRE
film director and in the USA, I'm a bum" -John Carpenter