John Carpenter had a golden period for his films, a magical period, where the films made within this period continues to define the best of John Carpenter’s career and legacy.
But I guess that is the way with most filmmakers, with their work viewed in retrospect. We begin to discern or impose patterns and periods. Peaks and valleys that are potentially arbitrary. For Carpenter you can make the argument that from 1978 to 1988, than ten year period is where his legend and best work was made. From HALLOWEEN in 1978 to THEY LIVE in 1988. I think he has eight justifiable gems, great films, in that ten year period.
Namely — HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING, CHRISTINE, STARMAN, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, THEY LIVE. I omit PRINCE OF DARKNESS, for me an ambitious idea that is not executed well, but otherwise a fertile and formative period for Carpenter.
And yes I know there are outliers, interesting films outside this period, such as DARK STAR and ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 and 1994’s IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, but for the most part these are isolated spurts, rather than part of a sustained run of creativity.
So spend time today, thinking on—- the quintessential John Carpenter!
I don’t like slasher films, a term that did not exist before John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN, but sprung up in the wake of HALLOWEEN’s cultural impact, as imitators raced into the void, to be the next HALLOWEEN. I don’t like slasher flicks, or any of the imitators that have risen up, but that first HALLOWEEN film is such an exercise in pure style, both in visuals and in score, 50 years later, the film is still deeply influential. You do not get an IT LIVES or THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL without Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN.
After THE THING, this is my favorite Carpenter film. A simple, elegantly told ghost story. And it made every male of a certain age a fan of Adrienne Barbeau. 🙂 .
My favorite John Carpenter film, and one of my favorite films period. And also the poster child of remakes that surpass the original.
Those are my top 3, after that my list proceeds as follows goes THEY LIVE, STARMAN, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, and finally CHRISTINE.
Thanks for looking, and feel free to like, subscribe, or comment on your favorite Carpenter film.
Till next time be well, and keep checking out the historic SpaceX flight, on the SpaceX Youtube feed.