By the sounds of it, it wasn't the world's chummiest interview, but Bloody Disgusting's Mr Disgusting was still lucky enough to catch up with John Carpenter to discuss The Ward at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.
If Carpenter's bored with the press circuit already, it's probably got a lot to do with being constantly reminded of 2001's hapless Ghosts of Mars, after which the director went into self-imposed exile (not counting a couple of Masters of Horror segments) from which he's only now returning. But he's willing to admit that "After Ghosts of Mars I thought, I don't want to do this: it's too hard, too fucked up."
The Ward, which features Mandy Lane's Amber Heard as an institutionalised arsonist getting subjected to a good old fashioned haunting, tempted Carpenter because it was "contained" and not effects-driven. Plus "it promised to have a real interesting cast", by which he means predominantly female: "I'd much rather direct girls than boys, especially at my age."
He seems to have come around to using CGI, where in the past he'd completely sworn off it (hence GoM's dreadful miniatures). "It's a great tool to use," he says now. "There are a lot of choices. I learned a bunch of things on this movie." He still promises a lot of old-school Carpenter jump-scares though, "which people may not like, but tough shit."
And he's resigned to remakes (Rob Zombie's Halloween, Rupert Wainwright's The Fog) "as long as they pay me. That's a very important component".
No word on a UK release date for The Ward yet, but in the meantime, there's a splendid Carpenter / Landis / Dante feature in the current issue of Empire to keep you occupied.