Category: John Carpenter

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John Carpenter’s Contribution to Speculative and Science Fiction Film

 

This week, speculative fiction blog Aurelia Leo published an article I wrote on legendary SF director John Carpenter.  Over the decades I’ve searched out any property I could find that Carpenter has directed.  Find my thoughts on many of his SF films at the link, including THEY LIVE, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, THE THING, and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.

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TSJ’s List of the Best Science Fiction Movies of the 1970’s

The Best Science Fiction Movies of the 1970’s

I should clarify that a film’s presence on this blog post is entirely subjective based on my experiences growing up. These were my creative formative years, during which I was discovering genre books, television shows, and movies. I was born in 1970, so really the 80’s were my true introduction to Science Fiction Horror, Thriller and Adventure — books by Asimov and Crichton and films by Cameron, Spielberg, Carpenter, and Verhoeven — but the 1970’s played a huge role in my love for the genre. Detroit Channel 7 broadcast most of the films I saw. Many had poor effects, but the stories were so powerful and the actors so committed that the movies rose above the rest of the stories that were available at the time. The themes were relevant, the plots compelling and interesting, all the base human emotions like revenge and lust and greed and hate were on full display, they spoke of issues that people dealt with every day, and they featured powerful scores and incredible directing. They were gripping.

TSJ Reviews Shout! Factory’s BluRay Release of John Carpenter’s “Lost” Film SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME!

 

TSJ Reviews John Carpenter’s “Lost” Film SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME!

Shout! Factory has been releasing John Carpenter films on Blu for a few years now. Each features additional special features that previous discs did not, many including interviews and brand new commentaries not on previous iterations. Their releases of THE THING and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK are real standouts in their Carpenter library.

Carpenter wrote and filmed SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME! for television broadcast in 1978. Two weeks after the ten-day filming concluded, he was off doing HALLOWEEN, a movie that blasted his career into the stratosphere. (See my articles on it here and here, and I spoke about it on a radio show here.)

A Look at the New HALLOWEEN Trailer

 

A Look at the New HALLOWEEN Trailer

Michael Myers is back.

He’s one of the greatest slasher villains of all time and featured in a franchise that co-created the genre. (Many also give credit to BLACK CHRISTMAS in 1974.) John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN (1978) could be considered one of the most successful independent films ever. Made on a budget of only $375 000, it earned $70 000 000 at the box office the year it was released and spawned a series that currently consists of eleven films. John Carpenter really hit it out of the ballpark and he exploded onto the horror scene and never looked back. (I spoke on a radio show about my love for this film and how it inspired me here.) Of particular note was the soundtrack that he created out of desperation:  they didn’t have a budget to hire someone to score the film, so Carpenter did it himself.

The Greatest Trifectas in Film History

 

The Greatest Trifectas in (Recent) Film History by TSJ

While writing the blog entry “Where Has the Character-Driven Action Film Gone?” (found here) I mentioned the idea of a trifecta — or “triple” — in film history. There are few directors who can create successful film after successful film. Having one critical and commercial hit is difficult enough. Having two in a row is even harder. And three? Nearly unheard of.

I decided to create a list of the greatest triples in film history. Even the concept seemed absurd, however — what gives me the right to create such a list? Who am I to say one director created a “better” trifecta than another? Moreover, how does one define success or failure in the creative/artistic industry? Sometimes a box office hit can be a critical failure, or vice versa. Well, to be blunt, this is my blog. I’ll write what I want. However, to identify triples and narrow the field it was necessary to create a list of criteria that I would follow.

TSJ’s Top Three Movies of All Time

 

People often ask me about my favorite movies. I try to watch a lot of thrillers and horror, especially in the Science Fiction genre, I like to talk about movies, and I enjoy reviewing great ones on my blog. So, I figured that this might be a good place to write an article about my top three films of all time.

Counting down from Three to One …

TSJ on the Imposter Theme in Science Fiction

John Carpenter’s THE THING, 1982

In 2013, coinciding with the release of my first novel, THE FURNACE, I wrote an essay for John Scalzi’s website on the Imposter Theme in Science Fiction.  It’s a common plot element in the genre, and I encountered it repeatedly in my formative years.  The novels INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and THE PUPPET MASTERS feature the theme.  John Carpenter’s THE THING had a massive impact on me when it was released, and THE FURNACE is actually an homage to it and the novella it was based on, WHO GOES THERE?

On Horror and Science Fiction Influences

A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of participating in a radio program with host Gail Barker.  I spoke about Horror/Science Fiction movies and how they inspired me to write.  Movies like ALIEN and THE THING.  In the 1980’s, during my most formative years developing my creativity, a wave of slasher films hit theaters.  Parents hated them, but believe it or not, they taught me about the importance of emotion in all stories, regardless of genre.