Saturday, October 29, 2011

John Carpenter

Kurt Russell and John Carpenter - Big Trouble in Little China

John Carpenter was born in Carthage, New York which I must admit is an irrie part of upstate New York near Canada. There is the Black river and tales of home grown werewolves in that area. Honestly, a great place to be from. Yet, he spent most of his youth in Kentucky where his father was head of the music department at a nearby University. So we can see where his musical background came from. Carpenter has been making films since 1962.

John Carpenter and Keith Gordon on set of Christine

John has been bands and was even married to Adrinne Barbeau at one time. Some of his films are more dark comedy than anything else. Yet, he's directed a few horror films like Halloween, THE THING and The fog that have been true classics of that genre over the decades. Its also his synthesizer-based soundtracks, especially HALLOWEEN that has made us come back for more of his films.

His first film unearthed.

He will admit he'd be the first for a 'cheap scare' where something comes into view very fast and leaves just as quickly, intensified by musical cues. Of course, he's had his hit and misses over the years. Yet he's come through with some remarkable characters, men and women. Perhaps actors like Kurt Russell and Jamie Lee Curtis. But we are just as consumes with the haunting characters like Michael Myers. And to think it all started with The Resurrection of Broncho Billy.

My favorite of his is of the sci-fi nature. They Live. The film came out in 1988. He wrote the screenplay under the name Frank Armitage. It was an invasion of sort where the aliens lived among humans. And Roddy Piper was the main character, John Nada and David Keith was Frank Armitage. I always remember a scene where they beat each other and afterwards become friends. Honestly, it never donned on me until then about how men really are with war. Before one really sees it, these two have one the best bromances in cinema. THE LIVE is a man's movie. Yet as much as the premise is a plight, Carpenter has a way of pulling it together and making the story real.

Hopefully, horror film makers take him seriously. Carpenter truly has a way of scaring us, but he lets us fall in love with his characters too.

This film begins with a teenage girl named Kristen (Amber Heard) running.  She stops at a farmhouse, which she burns down.  The police catch up to her while the house is in flames and they take her to a psychiatric hospital, where she shares a ward with four other girls that are all about the same age. The girls all see a ghost in their ward, and they start disappearing. Psychological horror!

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