Jump to content
IGNORED

John Carpenter


chalkitdown
 Share

Recommended Posts

Just now, Skeeez said:


It’s shonky and completely over acted but pound for pound one of the best ghost stories out there imo. Pulp horror at its best.  I adore The Fog.

 

 

Right - it's a proper ghost story, not a monster movie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Yiggy said:

But I’m not sure I got what’s good about it. It’s an interesting setting and there are a bunch of really weird characters and things like the car with chandeliers on the front. It had a slightly mad comic book styling. I expected snake to be an amazing character but I found him a bit underwhelming? His moodiness level was strong but his line delivery? Not so much. There were large sections of nothing happening and despite the fun chasing stuff towards the end there wasn’t a lot of action. 

 

It's perfectly reasonable to point out the flaws and it isn't perfection by any stretch, but for me it just captured my imagination and my mood when I first watched it and those things stick with you.  Snake is cool as, a total badass.  New York (as in the real city) was this very scary weird, slightly alluring place so the setting was completely logical.  And the weirdo characters make a whole lot of sense in the context that they have. The action is definitely low budget, but one persons "nothing happening" is another's world/character building.  This is something Carpenter does a lot, even in Assault there are large stretches of nothing but small character moments.  (Why is Cabbie there? Because he wouldn't leave his cab behind.  And when it dies, he dies.)  It's also pretty influential in it's depiction of a prison system where the Government has effectively washed it hands of the problem and handed it over to someone / no-one else - as reused in things like Wedlock, Fortress and the quite underrated No Escape.  So coming at it with todays eyes (it is 40 years old) I can see why it doesn't click.  The equivalent timeline when it came out was possibly something like The African Queen.

 

EfLA is an interesting one.  It's EfNY in a mirror - LA being the only free place in America, Snake being a killer not a rescuer, the bad guy being Latino instead of black, Map To The Stars Eddie being a hustler instead of Cabbie being a decent guy. It's a mess of a film packed with great ideas.  The President being a religious nutter, Taslima there because she's a Muslim.  Some of it is far too on the nose (Peter Fonda, Surgeon General) and the CGI is awful but at its heart it's right up my street, a deeply cynical movie ("This town loves a winner!")  where the only way to fix the world is to shut the whole thing off.

 

This is why I love Carpenter and especially the Escape movies - they have a cynical heart where even the good guys are shades of black. I discovered them on VHS in the 80s as a teenager, so they are bound to sear themselves into the memory, especially when you consider Carpenter's incredible knack for releasing them precisely at the wrong time.  (EfNY / Raiders, The Thing / ET, Big Trouble / Rambo II, EfLA / Independence Day.) At the end of the day, discovering Carpenter's work from 81-87 as a fourteen year old is like finding a band at the exact time when it feels like they are speaking to you.  So I'll acknowledge the flaws but hey, it's my flag in the ground. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Monkeyboy said:

I love it. The dark, lo-fi vibe is brilliant. I think if you go in expecting an action film, you'll be disappointed. There can't be many action films with a ticking clock life or death situation where the hero pulls up a chair for a little sit down, because he has no fucking clue what to do next.

I love it for the reasons you mention, but also the cynicism that's deeply engrained in it and nearly all of Carpenter's greatest work. 

 

Carpenter and Kurt Russell's EFNY audio commentary is rolled gold, much like every audio commentary featuring the pair. 

 

Big Trouble In Little China, is actually my favourite JC movie. 

 

It's perfect in every way. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, AstroBot said:

Think I'll do a John Carpenter rewatch over Christmas.  Anyone else?

 

Probably more than any other director, Carpenter's work is infinitely re-watchable to me. At least the extraordinary run from Precinct 13 to They Live (and pop Mouth of Madness in at the end). Even if all these movies aren't 5-star hits there's just something about them. I could put pretty much any of them on at the drop of a hat.

 

Regarding commentaries, I was very disappointed that when Shout Factory finally put out Escape from LA they couldn't wrangle Carpenter and Russell together to record one. What a missed opportunity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Plissken said:

 

It's perfectly reasonable to point out the flaws and it isn't perfection by any stretch, but for me it just captured my imagination and my mood when I first watched it and those things stick with you.  Snake is cool as, a total badass.  New York (as in the real city) was this very scary weird, slightly alluring place so the setting was completely logical.  And the weirdo characters make a whole lot of sense in the context that they have. The action is definitely low budget, but one persons "nothing happening" is another's world/character building.  This is something Carpenter does a lot, even in Assault there are large stretches of nothing but small character moments.  (Why is Cabbie there? Because he wouldn't leave his cab behind.  And when it dies, he dies.)  It's also pretty influential in it's depiction of a prison system where the Government has effectively washed it hands of the problem and handed it over to someone / no-one else - as reused in things like Wedlock, Fortress and the quite underrated No Escape.  So coming at it with todays eyes (it is 40 years old) I can see why it doesn't click.  The equivalent timeline when it came out was possibly something like The African Queen.

 

EfLA is an interesting one.  It's EfNY in a mirror - LA being the only free place in America, Snake being a killer not a rescuer, the bad guy being Latino instead of black, Map To The Stars Eddie being a hustler instead of Cabbie being a decent guy. It's a mess of a film packed with great ideas.  The President being a religious nutter, Taslima there because she's a Muslim.  Some of it is far too on the nose (Peter Fonda, Surgeon General) and the CGI is awful but at its heart it's right up my street, a deeply cynical movie ("This town loves a winner!")  where the only way to fix the world is to shut the whole thing off.

 

This is why I love Carpenter and especially the Escape movies - they have a cynical heart where even the good guys are shades of black. I discovered them on VHS in the 80s as a teenager, so they are bound to sear themselves into the memory, especially when you consider Carpenter's incredible knack for releasing them precisely at the wrong time.  (EfNY / Raiders, The Thing / ET, Big Trouble / Rambo II, EfLA / Independence Day.) At the end of the day, discovering Carpenter's work from 81-87 as a fourteen year old is like finding a band at the exact time when it feels like they are speaking to you.  So I'll acknowledge the flaws but hey, it's my flag in the ground. 


Thanks for that. 
 

I can definitely see the appeal and clearly I can see how the finding them in the 80’s thing would be a big thing. 
 

Having watched a bunch of the extras I am getting round to a 2nd viewing. I may do the commentary first. The cast is great and I loved what they did with the special effects. Music too. Weirdly It’s growing on me already. 
 

2 hours ago, AstroBot said:

Think I'll do a John Carpenter rewatch over Christmas.  Anyone else?

 

I have Big trouble, and prince of darkness lined up never having seen either before!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Big Trouble in Little China and EfNY feel like films that you will love forever if you catch them at the right time - generally mid to late teens, I would imagine. I never saw BTiLC until fairly recently, and it didn't really do much for me I have to say. I wanted to like it, but it left me cold. They Live on the other hand I first saw on a tiny TV in my bedroom late at night when I was about 15, knowing nothing about the film, and it absolutely blew my mind.

 

Films like Halloween, The Thing and Assault on Precinct 13 are just beautifully crafted films that work regardless of when or where you watch them, but I feel like a lot of his other stuff can hit you right between the eyes, or be miles off target. He's a slightly odd filmmaker Carpenter in that his work is so variable in quality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:

Watching the Fog. Most unbelievable thing so far is that Nick and Elizabeth getting together after he gives her a ride at the start. Tom Atkins was 23 years older than Jamie Lee Curtis! 

 

Yeah, I was going to call that bit out as the least believable part of the movie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.