A John Carpenter Poll

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Impossible.

Alex in SF, Monday, 3 September 2007 23:18 (twelve years ago) link

When he's on, he's way the fuck on. Then there's the rest of the time. Anyway, "The Thing" is the best of his best period (the Kurt Russell trilogy) and also possibly the best paranoid horror movie ever made.

Starman is quality, too.

Oilyrags, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 00:15 (twelve years ago) link

I voted for "The Thing" because I can't make it through that movie - it freaks me out v. thoroughly.

Sara R-C, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 00:21 (twelve years ago) link

Thing! Thing! Thing!

latebloomer, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 00:27 (twelve years ago) link

The Thing.

jed_, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 00:28 (twelve years ago) link

gotta be Halloween for me

dmr, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 00:46 (twelve years ago) link

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/images/directors/03/25/they_live.jpg

The Yellow Kid, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 01:05 (twelve years ago) link

I picked Assault on Precinct 13. He has at least two movies that are "better" movies (The Thing and Halloween) but the simplicity of AoP13 appeals to me. Ghosts of Mars is sooooooooooo terrible.

n/a, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 01:09 (twelve years ago) link

Oh, Escape from NY is probably better too.

n/a, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 01:09 (twelve years ago) link

Plus Assault on Precinct 13 has the awesomest music.

n/a, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 01:12 (twelve years ago) link

Virtually impossible to choose between these six:
Assault On Precinct 13 (1976)
Halloween (1978)
Escape from New York (1981)
The Thing (1982)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
They Live (1988)

The rest in order:
Christine (1983)
The Fog (1980)
Prince of Darkness (1987)
Escape From L.A. (1996)
Dark Star (1974)
Ghosts of Mars (2001) (this is kind of underrated)
Starman (1984) (I don't really remember this well, it might be higher)
In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
Village of The Damned (1995)
Vampires (1998) (this is the only one I can remember thinking okay this is really bad)

Never seen:
Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 01:24 (twelve years ago) link

I wonder if Dark Star is as much fun as I remember it being. (Saw it when I was 17.)

Rock Hardy, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 01:31 (twelve years ago) link

In the Mouth of Madness is underrated

latebloomer, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 01:36 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah it's pretty creepy.

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 01:43 (twelve years ago) link

OK, unlike the Hitchcock one, I did not vote pragmatically here. I went Christine and also considered The Fog. That said, I hope Assault on Precinct 13, The Thing or They Live win over Escape from New York or Big Trouble in Little China.

Eric H., Tuesday, 4 September 2007 02:16 (twelve years ago) link

Mmmm Vanilla Twist.

pisces, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 02:41 (twelve years ago) link

I went for The Thing, but now wish I'd gone for Dark Star. Or Escape From New York. Or maybe Halloween. A John Carpenter-directed Fatal Attraction would have won it though.

Matt #2, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 12:27 (twelve years ago) link

I like that he's never made a remotely serious movie (well except for Starman, I guess.)

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 13:49 (twelve years ago) link

Really reaaly difficult, for me though it's

Halloween
A on P13
The Fog
Big Trouble In LC
They Live

The music on Halloween just beats out the music on A on P13 for me but they are both awesome.

Already i feel like Escape from NY and Starman should be top 5 as well.

Ned Trifle II, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 14:13 (twelve years ago) link

And The Thing

Ned Trifle II, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 14:14 (twelve years ago) link

I'm curious what you mean by a serious movie, Alex.

Oilyrags, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 14:16 (twelve years ago) link

I think he means movies I like (ie, out of respect to you fanboyz, I am going to abstain rather than vote for Starman).

Dr Morbius, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 14:23 (twelve years ago) link

EXACTLY! Haha no I mean that he never tried for Oscar-fare or to really move out of the horror/sci-fi niche he created for himself. Obviously a lot of other horror/b-movie guys haven't either, but every time I think of oh Raimi for example, I still think it's neat that guys like Romero/Craven/Carpenter just stuck with what they were good at.

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 14:56 (twelve years ago) link

in fairness, apparently I haven't seen 4 of Eric's 5 faves. Please warn me if there are any others like Big T in Little C.

Dr Morbius, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 15:03 (twelve years ago) link

Morbs, at least give The Fog a shot. It's got very Val Lewtonian overtones.

Eric H., Tuesday, 4 September 2007 15:06 (twelve years ago) link

I will, someday

Dr Morbius, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 15:08 (twelve years ago) link

I actually think "The Thing" is a pretty serious picture, even though the filmmaking itself is mostly about thrillpower. The whole cold-war 'enemy within' sci-fi invasion sub-genre is 'serious' imo, even if I can't really define what I mean by serious.

"Starman" is just "The Thing" standing on its head.

Oilyrags, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 15:10 (twelve years ago) link

I'm not sure those are my 5 faves, either. Halloween would certainly give They Live a run for the fifth slot.

Eric H., Tuesday, 4 September 2007 15:14 (twelve years ago) link

The Thing is so f'ing scary. Love it.

Trip Maker, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 15:20 (twelve years ago) link

The Fog isn't very good.

n/a, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 15:25 (twelve years ago) link

What's not to like? ... I mean, other than it not being particularly scary?

Eric H., Tuesday, 4 September 2007 15:27 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah there isn't enough to 'The fog', a half-hour stretched to movie length.

Most of his films have some kinda veiled commentary to me - but done in a seriously entertaining way.

And yes, incredible music - seriously underrated as a film composer/arranger isn't he? Everybody loves Morricone, etc. but he sure knows how to pack a punch. 'Ghosts of Mars' is up there with his very best in that respect.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 18:23 (twelve years ago) link

http://www.i-marco.nl/weblog/images/bush_they_live.jpg

We're inching closer to the inevitable John Landis poll.

Eazy, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 18:25 (twelve years ago) link

I still think it's neat that guys like Romero/Craven/Carpenter just stuck with what they were good at.

Craven did that Meryl Steep movie...

latebloomer, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 18:34 (twelve years ago) link

Plus he wasn't very good at what he was good at.

Eric H., Tuesday, 4 September 2007 18:39 (twelve years ago) link

voted 'they live' just to be objective, but it almost, almost went to 'prince of darkness' just to rep for it. the scene where alice cooper kills the nerd guy from 'riptide' with half a bicycle (a scene so brilliant it is spoiler-proof) and the shared dreams with television interference.

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 18:40 (twelve years ago) link

'Escape from NY' for me, which just shades 'The Thing' as I skived off school to see it.

I also really rate 'The Eyes of Laura Mars', which he wrote.

Soukesian, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 20:50 (twelve years ago) link

The Thing

I have no memory of Starman and was kinda unaware it was even his movie

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 21:44 (twelve years ago) link

Haha I totally suppressed that stupid Meryl Streep movie that Craven did!

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 21:51 (twelve years ago) link

I don't think I've seen a single one of these. Maybe parts of Halloween when I was a kid.

jaymc, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 21:53 (twelve years ago) link

it was downhill for Raimi after that stupid BillyBob Thornton hillbilly "thriller" movie

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 21:54 (twelve years ago) link

you mean the fine A Simple Plan? o u kid

Dr Morbius, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 21:55 (twelve years ago) link

It was downhill after Quick and the Dead! Actually A Simple Plan s'okay.

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 21:57 (twelve years ago) link

oh man I forgot about the Quick and the Dead ugh

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 22:00 (twelve years ago) link

It was downhill after Quick and the Dead!

You mean there are worse films than Quick and the Dead??!?!

ledge, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 22:03 (twelve years ago) link

The Gift's mediocre.

Alex in SF, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 22:04 (twelve years ago) link

I only saw it last night, and was AMAZED at the awful crash-zoom-piled-on-crash-zoom editing, totally destroying whatever semblance of tension the movie might have had.

xpost.

ledge, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 22:04 (twelve years ago) link

horribly shitty casting doesn't help either - I'd say its only marginally more of a trainwreck than Carpenters' Vampires, which is unforgiveably bad

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 22:07 (twelve years ago) link

Apparently Sharon Stone insisted on DiCaprio and Crowe, and even paid their fees to get them over the studio's wishes.

ledge, Tuesday, 4 September 2007 22:12 (twelve years ago) link

feel i normally align with darragh on films but Assault on Precinct 13 is good and James Morrison makes an excellent point.

Fizzles, Friday, 23 August 2019 05:24 (five months ago) link

oh deems is talking about the *performances* lol.

Fizzles, Friday, 23 August 2019 05:25 (five months ago) link

ha, develop that

i love any other carpenter ive seen, and was really looking forward to this so am willing to be talked round a bit.

phil neville jacket (darraghmac), Friday, 23 August 2019 08:18 (five months ago) link

well i’m ion a train but yes i don’t think the performances are v good but probably don’t need to be.

saw this when i was 15 and that’s where it’s status for me comes from. but if i give it a bit of thought i’d say the escalation of violence, from initial incident to gradually coalescing threat is v well managed. that threat coalesces into the specific impacts of bullets etc on the claustrophobic precinct but they’re only ever loosely linked to that brooding presence just beyond the visible iirc. in that respect it’s much like the early parts of the fog.

Fizzles, Friday, 23 August 2019 08:44 (five months ago) link

hmm this is all fair tbh

i hate to be that person doing that thing where youve seen a genuinely bold and influential effort after all the movies that have done it since (and tbf often better, which of course given budget and a template is easy done) and therefore seeing mainly the faults...but i think im that person this time

phil neville jacket (darraghmac), Friday, 23 August 2019 09:13 (five months ago) link

As I'm sure has been mentioned somewhere on this thread already, Assault is basically Hawks' Rio Bravo transplanted to an urban modern-day setting - but I think knowledge of that actually makes the Carpenter seem more ingenious!

IIRC ex-ilxor Enrique tried to argue somewhere (again, maybe here) that the remake of Assault is better than the original, but he may have been provoking us complacent auteurist at the time.

Ward Fowler, Friday, 23 August 2019 09:21 (five months ago) link

i’ve only seen the remake once, back when it was released, but i remember it being pretty good

Andy Jones, Earth-Born Angel of Love (bizarro gazzara), Friday, 23 August 2019 10:43 (five months ago) link

Obviously Carpenter loved Hawks and siege movies, and he would go to that well a lot - even Halloween is ultimately kind of a one-person siege movie - but Assault is also kind of a riff on zombie movies (minus the zombies).

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 23 August 2019 11:49 (five months ago) link

right down to the weather/lubar radio reports at the start

phil neville jacket (darraghmac), Friday, 23 August 2019 13:02 (five months ago) link

lunar

phil neville jacket (darraghmac), Friday, 23 August 2019 13:02 (five months ago) link

AOP13 is good but it's certainly this (relative to expectations) really understated and bleak and dim movie which i think works effectively as a mood flick more than a kinetic action movie, which is to its credit. i do remember the performances being blatant in terms of the lack of charisma happening onscreen, everything taken away from the performances but the words and the gestures. I mean practically Bressonian in a way tbh.

omar little, Friday, 23 August 2019 19:47 (five months ago) link

There's a quote from Simon Pegg on the wiki that sums that up, sort of:

"You wouldn't really call it an action film," claims Pegg, "because it was pre- the evolution of that kind of film. And yet it is kind of an action film in a way."

Which is party why it works as a kind of link between Night of the Living Dead and, I dunno, Die Hard.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 23 August 2019 19:58 (five months ago) link

Wikipedia says "Assault ... was shot in only 20 days, including Thanksgiving, on a budget of $100,000."

and you can see every dollar on the screen

Brad C., Saturday, 24 August 2019 18:51 (five months ago) link

Carpenter only ever makes siege movies, just sometimes the protagonists are under siege (they live, the fog, prince of darkness), and sometimes they're the ones conducting the siege (big trouble in little china, escape from new york, vampires). His is a world of fortresses.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Saturday, 24 August 2019 22:19 (five months ago) link

in dark star the protagonists are under siege by their own bomb

El Tomboto, Saturday, 24 August 2019 23:07 (five months ago) link

Embarrassingly, I must confess that I only saw Escape From New York for the first time last night. Solid flick! Although not quite what I expected. I figured it would have the brash swagger of his mid-'80s action-oriented material, but falling as it does between The Fog and The Thing it makes sense in hindsight that it's actually a moodier and more meditative film than I'd imagined. Wanna see LA now even though I'm sure it isn't the sequel this thing deserved.

McGrief the Crying Dog (Old Lunch), Sunday, 25 August 2019 00:47 (five months ago) link

LA is bad

Οὖτις, Sunday, 25 August 2019 00:48 (five months ago) link

What's the word on Black Moon Rising? I was first alerted to its existence via a trailer compilation I own and thought 'THIS LOOKS AMAZING' even before I learned that there was a Carpenter connection.

Also need to get around to watching Somebody's Watching Me! so the title stops seeming like an indictment of my continued negligence.

McGrief the Crying Dog (Old Lunch), Sunday, 25 August 2019 00:51 (five months ago) link

FTR, I seem to enjoy Carpenter even when he is bad (eg Vampires and Ghosts of Mars).

Oh right, the other one I haven't seen and always forget he did: Memoirs of a See-Through Chevy Chase. Is there any point?

McGrief the Crying Dog (Old Lunch), Sunday, 25 August 2019 00:54 (five months ago) link

Nah, Carpenter didn't write it or do the soundtrack... it's pretty bad.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Sunday, 25 August 2019 02:43 (five months ago) link

I've never seen Memoirs. I always forget about Starman (which is not a siege film).

Black Moon Rising he ... wrote? Like The Eyes of Laura Mars?

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 25 August 2019 03:30 (five months ago) link

Yeah, he only wrote the screenplay (directed by the fella who helmed the feted Burt Reynolds vehicle Malone).But I mean just look at this thing and tell me it isn't simply drenched in unadulterated Carpenterism

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MFD9P-QupFs

McGrief the Crying Dog (Old Lunch), Sunday, 25 August 2019 03:43 (five months ago) link

one month passes...

They Live IS pretty good!

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:44 (three months ago) link

Kinda surprised you liked it!

Read the Lethem monograph on the film from several years back if you the chance.

Maria Edgelord (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:50 (three months ago) link

*get the chance

Maria Edgelord (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 17:50 (three months ago) link

well it's Carpenter at the limits of his talent, and he knew to give Roddy Piper fewer lines than he would Kurt Russell.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 18:34 (three months ago) link

I'm here to chew bubble gum and listen to Morbs' insights into the horror genre, and Morbs is all outta insights into the horror genre.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 18:57 (three months ago) link

yeah that famous one-liner is the kind that impresses lotsa 14-year-old boys

more scifi than horror, honeybunch

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 19:02 (three months ago) link

i did like that there isn't even a liplock with Meg Foster

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 19:03 (three months ago) link

Also that one-liner is the only memorable line in the whole movie, as far as I remember.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 19:07 (three months ago) link

the line is great because Piper’s character is an idiot who would come up with something like that

now let's play big lunch take little lunch (sic), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 19:08 (three months ago) link

I always felt like it stops the movie dead a bit, much like the endless fight scene. As much as I really like the film, I wish it didn’t wink so much.

Maria Edgelord (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 19:11 (three months ago) link

the winking kinda elevates it for me

"Brother, life's a bitch, and she's back in heat."

the protractedness of the fight scene is what makes it work! put the goddman glasses on, you might say to your Trumpist relations as you pummel them.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 19:27 (three months ago) link

Letham has a similar take on the fight scene, without the Trumpist angle (which didn’t exist yet). I get it; I just think the film is already goofy enough (the cheapo FX, the casting of a wrestler in the lead) that it didn’t need to run a highlighter over its sillier aspects.

Maria Edgelord (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 19:40 (three months ago) link

/They Live/ IS pretty good!


hell yes doc, welcome aboard

expedited frictionless convergences (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 19:44 (three months ago) link

morbs otm re: the fight scene

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 19:46 (three months ago) link

well, replace Reaganite for Trumpist at the time

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 20:03 (three months ago) link

the fight scene isn’t just protracted, it’s extremely awkward and graceless. It rules!

brimstead, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 20:42 (three months ago) link

yeah, it's two stubborn tough dudes without anyone around to go "break it up guys"

now let's play big lunch take little lunch (sic), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 21:33 (three months ago) link

also it goes on so long that it gets boring, then it goes on so much longer that it gets funny, then it keeps going and gets boring, and still keeps going so long that it gets funny again

now let's play big lunch take little lunch (sic), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 21:35 (three months ago) link

And it's just about whether or not he will put on sunglasses!

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 21:36 (three months ago) link

Keith David, actor of Shakespeare and August Wilson, is perhaps best known for this film and his Ken Burns voiceover work.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 21:59 (three months ago) link

(yes, i know he was in The Thing and Platoon)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 22:01 (three months ago) link

you came so close to him

my Paramount studio tour went all over the set on Tuesday. Have never seen the show.

― joyless shithead (Dr Morbius), Friday, July 15, 2011 8:00 PM (eight years ago)

now let's play big lunch take little lunch (sic), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 22:30 (three months ago) link

They Live is probably neck-and-neck with The Thing as my most-watched Carpenter at this point.

Go-Gurt Ops (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 22:37 (three months ago) link

i'd kill to see Keith David do Shakespeare

omar little, Tuesday, 22 October 2019 22:49 (three months ago) link

well maybe he's got a Lear in front of him

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 23:55 (three months ago) link

I saw him in Wilson's Seven Guitars

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 October 2019 23:56 (three months ago) link

Is there a more influential director this decade than John Carpenter? Nope. The Carpenter renaissance happening is music to my ears. It's about time we acknowledge how The Thing, Escape from NY, They Live, Halloween & Assault on Precinct 13 have aged like fine wine over the years https://t.co/RaaQCy3MwA

— Jordan Ruimy (@mrRuimy) October 24, 2019

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Thursday, 24 October 2019 17:12 (three months ago) link


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