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RE: Summing it up for me

 
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RE: Summing it up for me - 7/3/2006 2:54:15 PM   
niallon


Posts: 10
Joined: 7/3/2006
From: Anywhere but Haddonfield, Illinois!
Noob here but I'm a huge Carpenter fan. With five pages already my opinions will probably just be repitition but if I may. I think John Carpenter has to be one of the finest directors of the 70's and 80's as most in this thread would agree. Though having seen Cigarette Burns I'd have to disagree with the sentiment that he has lost it. I did carry this sentiment after Ghosts Of Mars but to see him direct a simpler, and ironically, more "ghost story/myth" type piece, and still get it right is quite reassuring. Cigarette Burns is a great piece, though I could have done with a different leading man, just didn't work for me. The story is more old school IMO and Carpenter's direction when not working with hot new things and instead woirking with more mature actors or at least less young ones is fantastic. The most shocking thing was how the TV element of the episode went out the window when I was watching it. I watched Argento's Jennifer and though quite good I could still smell the TV element from it, most notably due to the superior score provided by Carpenter Jr, Cody Carpenter. Cigarette Burns is an atmospheric, " as good as a TV show can be" piece.

niallon

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Post #: 151
RE: Summing it up for me - 7/3/2006 4:46:56 PM   
Companero


Posts: 626
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: London Violenta, UK
quote:

But i like to think of John  Carpenter as a "i dont care if they make money, i just love making movies" sort of film maker. And more power to him for that.


That would be a great sentiment if he still made films for the majority of his fans to enjoy, but he doesn't.

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Post #: 152
RE: Summing it up for me - 7/3/2006 5:10:13 PM   
stuartbannerman


Posts: 1088
Joined: 30/9/2005
then i guess he makes films for me....as even though some of his recent films(and he doesnt make enough films in my opinion, but im greedy) arent as fantastic as his classics (The Thing, Escape from NY, Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13) i still very much enjoy and re-watch any film he makes with joy.



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Post #: 153
RE: Summing it up for me - 7/3/2006 7:31:00 PM   
rich


Posts: 4945
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Neo Kobe
I have to say Prince of Darkness was one of the most dull things I've ever put myself through.

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Post #: 154
RE: Summing it up for me - 8/3/2006 9:30:34 AM   
Companero


Posts: 626
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: London Violenta, UK
quote:

ORIGINAL: stuartbannerman

then i guess he makes films for me....as even though some of his recent films(and he doesnt make enough films in my opinion, but im greedy) arent as fantastic as his classics (The Thing, Escape from NY, Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13) i still very much enjoy and re-watch any film he makes with joy.




Glad someon'e happy, Stuart
 
That said, I'm not one of Carpenter's harshest critics and do believe he is still capable of making good films. Out of all his films, it's only Ghost Of Mars that leaves me completely cold.

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Post #: 155
RE: Summing it up for me - 8/3/2006 9:48:57 AM   
stuartbannerman


Posts: 1088
Joined: 30/9/2005
Prince of Darkness grows on you......ive seen the film perhaps half a dozen times.......

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Post #: 156
RE: Summing it up for me - 8/3/2006 9:57:00 AM   
Outlaw Torn


Posts: 35
Joined: 8/3/2006
From: Eire
Carpenters films always seem to have a quiet sublety to them, as if he is taking them really seriously, but really he's just having a laugh.

Incidently, isn't it true that Carpenter invented the lightspeed effect of the stars going by as white lines, in Darkstar? I cant think of any other film before Darkstar that ever did that.



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Post #: 157
RE: Summing it up for me - 8/3/2006 9:59:16 AM   
Companero


Posts: 626
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: London Violenta, UK
quote:

ORIGINAL: stuartbannerman

Prince of Darkness grows on you......ive seen the film perhaps half a dozen times.......


Agreed - I think Prince Of Darkness is his most underrated film. As I mentioned elsewhere, seeing the film in it's original ratio also heighten's one's appreciation for the film. It looks great in widescreen.

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Post #: 158
RE: Summing it up for me - 8/3/2006 1:31:48 PM   
Monkeyshaver

 

Posts: 4734
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: La Planete Des Singe
An obvious film fan, witness Assault On Precinct 13's nods to both Rio Bravo & Night Of The Living Dead, there is no question that he has seen better days as a director but his first handful of films are genre classics. In Halloween he not only created the template for slasher films but also provided its best effort.
The Thing is one of the few fx laden horror films that also induces a sense of fear in an audience. He expertly racks up the tension & a perfectly pitched sense of distrust & claustrophobia. But he also has a good sense of humour & comic timing, best exemplified in the blood test scene which, after all the gore-filled action gets a wonderful punchline delivered by Donald Moffat,"I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I'd rather not spend the rest of this winter tied to this fucking couch!!" 
In my humble opinion better than the "You've gotta be fucking kidding" line.

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Post #: 159
RE: John Carpenter - 8/3/2006 1:55:28 PM   
Companero


Posts: 626
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: London Violenta, UK
quote:

ORIGINAL: Monkeyshaver

In Halloween he not only created the template for slasher films but also provided its best effort.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, Carpenter was only instrumental in bring the slasher flick to the US - many of the conventions that are seen in Halloween that would pave the way for the mass of retreads were present in the murder mysteries (gialli) made in Italy during the 60s and 70s - particularly those directed by Mario Bava and Dario Argento.
 
The giallo (as it is known in its singular term) was at the height of popularity in Italy during the 1970s. In addition to Argento and Bava, the likes of Sergio Martino (Torso, All The Colours Of The Dark), Umberto Lenzi (Spasmo, Seven Bloodstained Orchids), Lucio Fulci (Don’t Torture A Duckling, A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin), Aldo Lado (Short Night Of The Glass Dolls, Who Saw Her Die?), Massimo Dallamano (Solange, What Have They Done To Your Daughters?), Luciano Ercoli (Death Stalks On High Heels, Death Walks At Midnight) and Duccio Tessari (The Bloodstained Butterfly, Puzzle) were all making gialli.
 
Take Bava's Bay Of Blood (aka Twitch Of The Death Nerve). Made in 1971, the film would later become the blue print for Friday The 13th, in particular and although late in the cycle of Bava’s work, is often cited as the most influential film on the American slasher.
 
Carpenter has acknowledged the influence the giallo had on him making Halloween – he even name-checks Argento's Profondo Rosso (aka Deep Red/The Hatchet Murders) on the audio commentary that accompanied the Criterion LaserDisc.

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Post #: 160
RE: John Carpenter - 8/3/2006 2:24:55 PM   
Monkeyshaver

 

Posts: 4734
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: La Planete Des Singe
Well that's me told!
To be honest I haven't seen much of the Gallio stuff, apart from Argento mainly. As for Fulci, in my learned opinion he's crap.

< Message edited by Monkeyshaver -- 8/3/2006 2:25:17 PM >


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Post #: 161
RE: John Carpenter - 8/3/2006 2:39:59 PM   
Companero


Posts: 626
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: London Violenta, UK
quote:

ORIGINAL: Monkeyshaver

Well that's me told!
To be honest I haven't seen much of the Gallio stuff, apart from Argento mainly. As for Fulci, in my learned opinion he's crap.


Nah, it wasn't meant like that. There's a hell of a lot of film critics that would site Halloween as the originator of the slasher genre.
 
Don't be fooled about Fulci. He made some terrible films, for sure – especially during the late 80s/early 90s when it appeared that he would work to eat. Some of his earlier films were exceptional – if you've seen A Lizard In A Woman's Skin, Don't Torture A Duckling – a couple of his gialli or his spaghetti westerns (Four Of The Apocalypse, Massacre Time) or crime (Contraband), you'll see that he's not the hack his later films would lead you to believe. The same can be said of Lenzi, too – if you'd only seen Cannibal Ferox and Eaten Alive, you'd come to the conclusion that he was a terrible filmmaker – but he too made some great gialli and polizei films.
 
The trouble with many of the prolific Italian directors of the seventies was that they were journeymen that would bounce from genre to genre and go wherever the work took them. As the Italian film industry began to wane, so too did the budgets of the films and therefore, there became a complete lack of decent films. Dario Argento is the only filmmaker from the golden era who continues to make the films that he wants too – for better or worse.

< Message edited by Companero -- 8/3/2006 2:43:51 PM >

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Post #: 162
RE: JOHN CARPENTER - 8/3/2006 3:07:45 PM   
torlporl


Posts: 109
Joined: 30/9/2005
The Thing is one of my all time favourite movies and has been since I was captivated by it at the age of 12. I love every frame of that movie. Bottin's special make up effects stand up today in a world where that stuff would definitely be done with CGI. The way Carpenter got across the feelings of tension and distrust. AWESOME.

How can Carpenter have been so left behind? He was THE MAN in late 70's and throughoutthe 1980's churning out genre classic after genre classic (The Thing, Halloween, The Fog, They Live, Big Touble In Little China, Escape From New York). Did he not move with the times? Was he out of place in the 1990's? I dunno but I miss him. Perhaps he's been replaced by a crap John Carpenter?


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Post #: 163
RE: John Carpenter - 8/3/2006 3:09:22 PM   
Monkeyshaver

 

Posts: 4734
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: La Planete Des Singe

Companero, I cite Four Of The Apocalypse as an example of a poor film from Fulci, yes it's got Tomas Milian in it but I thought it was a pretty lacklustre effort. Its boring, with unnecessary longueurs & an out of place soundtrack. Doesn't help that it was made at the tail end of the spaghetti western genre.

< Message edited by Monkeyshaver -- 8/3/2006 3:11:00 PM >


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Post #: 164
RE: John Carpenter - 8/3/2006 3:25:32 PM   
Companero


Posts: 626
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: London Violenta, UK
quote:

ORIGINAL: Monkeyshaver


Companero, I cite Four Of The Apocalypse as an example of a poor film from Fulci, yes it's got Tomas Milian in it but I thought it was a pretty lacklustre effort. Its boring, with unnecessary longueurs & an out of place soundtrack. Doesn't help that it was made at the tail end of the spaghetti western genre.




Yeah, it was one of the later spaghettis, but I admire it's darkness and I'm a fan of both Milian and Fabio Testi. Then again, the darkest spaghetti I ever saw was Giulio Questi's Django Kill - again starring Milian.

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Post #: 165
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 8:24:30 AM   
Mallrat

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 9/3/2006
    Carpenter made some of the most enjoyable genere pictures during the 70's and 80's (Halloween, The Fog, Escape From NY, The Thing, Assault On Precinct 13, They Live) and he really hasn't made anything of this quality since.  It's a shame but it happens to the majority of filmmakers, Coppola (Godfather Part 2 vs Jack) and de Palma (Scarface vs Bonfire of the Vanities) to name  a few.

The great thing is that he did make these great movies and to top it off the man records some of the best audio commentaries known to man, woman or child!!

I couldn't give a toss whether he makes another film as good as The Thing cos I can watch the DVD anytime I want.

John Carpenter I salute your genius.

Reading back through the forums I forgot another fantastic contribution that Carpenter has given the world......his soundtracks.


< Message edited by Mallrat -- 9/3/2006 8:26:32 AM >

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Post #: 166
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 8:27:35 AM   
stuartbannerman


Posts: 1088
Joined: 30/9/2005
Nicely said Mallrat.

If every film maker had a list of successes like John Carpenter has, then they have done what they set out to do.


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Post #: 167
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 11:33:10 AM   
Mr Brigante


Posts: 108
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Swindon
Here here. The Thing and The Fog are a couple of my favourite films. The Fog being the underrated one in my opinion (Mark Kermode unfairly described it as "dull"). I just love the brooding, threatening atmosphere, and the terror induced by the slow "knock, knock, knock" on the door, with the fog seeping underneath...great stuff.

I must confess though, the only John Carpenter films I've seen are the above two, and Assault on Precinct 13 (also ace). I know, I know. I'm gonna put that right.





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Post #: 168
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 12:48:52 PM   
Companero


Posts: 626
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: London Violenta, UK
quote:

ORIGINAL: Mr Brigante

The Fog being the underrated one in my opinion (Mark Kermode unfairly described it as "dull"). I just love the brooding, threatening atmosphere, and the terror induced by the slow "knock, knock, knock" on the door, with the fog seeping underneath...great stuff.



It's a very atmospheric film but I wouldn't consider it a classic. Carpenter had to go back and do extensive reshoots because he and Avco/Embassy didn't feel it was scary enough as was - he even shot a completely different ending.

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Post #: 169
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 1:49:41 PM   
Sleepy


Posts: 589
Joined: 30/9/2005
I like the way Carpenter grabs your attention and sets the mood from the very start, ripping across and revealing the title "The Thing" in a brilliant white and rush of music: one of my all-time favourite title sequences, simple and effective.

As for the Prince of Darkness, it's a film I haven't seen for ages and one I really want to view again - the two things that stand out are, the scary ass cyclinder and the cameo by Alice Cooper (don't know if that's a good thing  ).

< Message edited by Sleepy -- 9/3/2006 1:50:34 PM >


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Post #: 170
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 2:22:28 PM   
Outlaw Torn


Posts: 35
Joined: 8/3/2006
From: Eire
I love Roddy Piper in They Live...

"I came here to chew gum and kick ass, and I'm all outt gum!"
 
Such a simple film with a simple plot, but just rocks in all degrees. I still think Assault on Precinct 13 is the best work he has ever done. I dont like The Fog too much however.

I thought Vampires was a watchable film, surely not his best work, but if was on TV tonight, I would watch it. Plus it has Sheryl Lee in it.

< Message edited by Outlaw Torn -- 9/3/2006 2:23:05 PM >


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Post #: 171
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 2:33:46 PM   
manincrowd

 

Posts: 316
Joined: 21/11/2005
Assault on Precinct 13, They Live and Vampires were all let down by his music.  While his score for Halloween is creepy sometimes it can really spoil a film.  But heis a master storyteller.

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Post #: 172
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 3:02:18 PM   
Companero


Posts: 626
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: London Violenta, UK
quote:

ORIGINAL: manincrowd

Assault on Precinct 13, They Live and Vampires were all let down by his music.  While his score for Halloween is creepy sometimes it can really spoil a film.  But heis a master storyteller.


I strongly disagree with you on Assault On Precinct 13 - IMO, the score is phenomenal and serves as the pulse that gives the film much of its life. I couldn't imagine the film without it.
 
The scores for They Live and Vampires were pretty undistinguished.

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Post #: 173
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 6:09:24 PM   
Ant_1971


Posts: 105
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: England
I totally,TOTALLY agree with you there with regards to Assualt's soundtrack. Its just incredible, and IMO right up there with the best that JC's done. It just adds another dimension to the film, and i just cant imagine watching it without it. Like so many other Carpenter movies, the music he writes just adds extra gravitas to those already tension filled widescreen scenes. The fact he wrote/ composed/ played it himself just proves what a talented fella he is   Assault is a real personal fave of mine. So..... couldnt agree any more!

On another note.........i took in the delights of Escape From NY again last night. What a film indeed!!  The introduction of Snake to Bob Haulk is such a well composed scene......the way Carpenter left Plissken half in shadow was just an amazing visual effect, and the following section where they talk is framed to absolute anamorphic perfection. Such an awesome, awesome movie...... has there ever been a cooler character than Snake Plissken??? I think not!

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Post #: 174
RE: John Carpenter - 9/3/2006 9:33:11 PM   
OldGrey


Posts: 453
Joined: 4/2/2006
From: Somewhere between a rock and a hard place.
I have always enjoyed John Carpenter films, though I have long considered them to be something of a guilty pleasure. Critics tend to write him off as some sort of an eccentric hack, something I have never quite grasped. I get the impression that Carpenters films are made primarily for him, if anyone else likes it, fine, if not, so what? For me, his films always do the first thing any film should - they entertain me. Secondly, he tells a good story and tells it well. Hell, I can forgive a film most anything if it ticks those two boxes! But his movies just get better for me, his characters are great, his camera work goes from great to genius and I have never felt cheated in the last scenes. 
Whenever there is a debate on the strength of a director or actor, I always ask the question: What if they died tomorrow ?
Not because I'm a morbid sod, but so that you could consider what sort of a tribute they might get. With Carpenter it's a safe bet that his "in memory of" wouldn't be a badly edited version of his last film at 3 in the morning on channel Z. I think he is one of those directors who would get several films, documentaries and those critic-tribute-chat-type shows shown on several major channels, quite rightly so. Why? Because his films were simply groundbreaking.
A lot of praise has been written for the man in this forum, I agree with most of it and won't repeat it here, but I would like to add a little. Halloween is such a simple, effective, scary film that none made since has come close to touching it. People always quote Alien's Ripley as the "first" modern, strong female lead, but I think Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie already held the position.
The Thing was simply a masterpiece in suspense and fear, the special effects are over 20 years old and still stand up to scrutiny today. And the ending, can you think of anyone working today who would get away with that? Even They Live, often described as one of his "Bad Movies" is a cracking film, like so many of his, it is just so entertaining.
While he might never get an Oscar, (not that an Oscar has been any sign of quality for some years now) you can never forget that cinema owes the man a huge debt.   Just because his best stuff is older doesn't mean he should be written off as a washed up has been.
The man and his movies are legend. He has earned his place among the greats and I look forward to the John Carpenter DVD Club issue.
Right, time for a film, now where did I put that copy of Christine......

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Post #: 175
RE: JOHN CARPENTER - 10/3/2006 5:07:30 AM   
Leon Russell

 

Posts: 1
Joined: 9/3/2006
John Carpenter is a director out of time. He has often admitted  as much himself; his dream is that he could be transported back to the age of the studio system and allowed to direct moves.
Little surprise then that his work was considered retro even when he was starting out in the early seventies.
In the age of hyper-kinetic, fast-cutting eye-candy movies his style now looks even more traditional.
Carpenter is just not interested in dazzle; his heroes are Howard Hawks, John Ford and Hitchcock, all of whom eschewed overly showy technique. His favourite actors are workmanlike mainstays such as Jeff Bridges, Kurt Russell and Sam Neill.
 
Conversely, Carpenter is an adept visual technician. His compositions are gorgeous. He utilises the CinemaScope format as well as any director working today.
It speaks volumes that despite the fact that he has only ever had one bona fide knock- it-out-of-the-park hit (Halloween), he still has legions of fans, and is considered one of the most talented directors working today.
His remake of The Thing is easily my favourite film, and I will always be a Carpenter fan. If I had to offer a criticism, it would be that as a director he needs to challenge himself more, and perhaps step away from the horror genre he is so closely associated with more often. Despite interesting moments in both, films such as Village of the Damned and Ghosts of Mars are the work of a unengaged director, a great artist painting by numbers.Another non-genre film such as Elvis or Starman would force him to move away from his over-reliance on the tricks he has learned.

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Post #: 176
RE: JOHN CARPENTER - 10/3/2006 9:18:05 AM   
stuartbannerman


Posts: 1088
Joined: 30/9/2005
The definitive John Carpenter film for me will always be Halloween.  To have such a powerful slasher film that actually has virtually no blood n guts in it shows you how great John and his team were at creating this project.
Tobe Hooper has The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
James Cameron has The Terminator.
And John Carpenter has Halloween.

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Post #: 177
RE: JOHN CARPENTER - 10/3/2006 10:40:01 AM   
Monkeyshaver

 

Posts: 4734
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: La Planete Des Singe
Although only comprising of a couple of themes AOP13’s soundtrack is highly effective. If you listen to a lot of contemporary electronic music you can hear Carpenter’s influence. His scores are another example of his minimalist approach.

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Post #: 178
RE: JOHN CARPENTER - 10/3/2006 11:06:22 AM   
stuartbannerman


Posts: 1088
Joined: 30/9/2005
Considering that Assault on Precinct 13's main themes are made up of 5 notes, its a pretty amazing score for a low budget movie.


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Post #: 179
RE: JOHN CARPENTER - 10/3/2006 11:11:28 AM   
Companero


Posts: 626
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: London Violenta, UK
quote:

ORIGINAL: Monkeyshaver

Although only comprising of a couple of themes AOP13's soundtrack is highly effective. If you listen to a lot of contemporary electronic music you can hear Carpenter's influence. His scores are another example of his minimalist approach.


The score from Assault On Precinct 13 has been sampled countless times, Afrikka Bambarta and Bomb The Base are just two examples I can think of.

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Post #: 180
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