In the early 1980s, John
Carpenter was easily the best horror film director working in the
With an Oscar under his belt (for a short film he made in 1970)
and remarkable talent as a composer as well as a filmmaker, he
made film history with 1978's "Halloween,"
the most successful non-studio production ever. His follow-up,
"The Fog," remains one of the
finest splatter movies ever, unmatched by much of the dretch
being cranked out today.
Carpenter was able to
capture a mood that was all his own in these early films. He
wrote and performed the music and picked young talent like Jamie
Lee Curtis, who would later go onto stardom, to fill his roles.
After introducing Kurt
Russell to film fans with the 1981 cult sci-fi classic
"Escape From New York," Carpenter went Hollywood. With
major studio backing, he directed 1982's make-up effects
extravaganza "The Thing," a
good movie to say the least, but inferior to everything Carpenter
had made before.
He followed it up with the better-than average Stephen King
another big-budget production which somehow lacked the punch of
Carpenter's earlier work.
By 1984, he was
directing films like "Starman," a touchy-feely sci-fi
flick with Jeff Bridges that was more or less just a cross
between "E.T." and "Mork and Mindy." It
wasn't long before Carpenter was back making indie movies again.
He returned to indie
filmmaking with the abysmal 1987 offering "Prince of Darkness." Just
when it seemed like he had lost his touch as a horror filmmaker,
he followed it up with the political "Invasion of the Body
Snatchers"-like "They Live,"
one of his best movies.
It was a downward spiral
After making a weak
Chevy Chase movie ("Memoirs of an Invisible Man") he
directed the so-so "In the
Mouth of Madness," followed by the incredibly weak
"Village of the Damned,"
a decent "Escape From New York Sequel" entitled
"Escape From L.A." and finally the god-awful "Vampires."
A former great in the
splatter film world, Carpenter had apparently lost his mojo. But he came back
with the box office bomb "Ghosts of Mars," which, despite its lack of
commercial and critical success, was still a great Carpenter movie, returning
him to the vibe he delivered in the 1980s. In essence though, Carpenter hadn't
adapted with the times. While his action films had once been cutting edge, his
old style was now basically out of date, with movies like "The Matrix"
being cranked out by the dozen. But make no mistake: "Ghosts of Mars"
is a great movie.
To read an interview
with the director, click here.
"Halloween" franchise site is located at http://www.halloweenmovies.com