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-   -   Top John Carpenter films (http://www.horror.com/forum/showthread.php?t=64752)

CarpenterFan 06-19-2014 07:25 AM

Top John Carpenter films
 
Hello and a virtual handshake to you all.

I'm a big (dare I say MASSIVE) John Carpenter fan here... as my username suggests (I couldn't resist!)

The Thing would have to be my definitive favourite if put on the spot.

Check out the link to the following Top 10 and see if it does the Master of Horror justice...

http://bit.ly/SW8tVh

Straker 06-19-2014 08:07 AM

In the Mouth of Madness should be on that list, for sure....

thesowismine 06-19-2014 03:34 PM

Wow, didn't expect him to look like he does. Thought he'd be some scary looking dude you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley or something. I agree with you, he is one of the greatest! "The Thing" truly messed me up

Jigsaw Killer 06-19-2014 03:41 PM

The Thing
Halloween
The Fog

neverending 06-19-2014 10:50 PM

I'm in the minority of horror fans that doesn't lionize John Carpenter. I think he made one really great film, several nearly great films, and a bunch of really cheesy shlock.

Halloween is his best, for me. I like The Fog despite the fact it falls apart in the last reel, like They Live despite its cheese, like Prince of Darkness for its sheer outrageousness, and Dark Star is fun.

Most of the rest I just think are sloppy, cheesy and cliche. Vampires is one of the worst vampires movies ever made, IMO.

Straker 06-20-2014 06:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neverending (Post 972313)
I'm in the minority of horror fans that doesn't lionize John Carpenter. I think he made one really great film, several nearly great films, and a bunch of really cheesy shlock.

Halloween is his best, for me. I like The Fog despite the fact it falls apart in the last reel, like They Live despite its cheese, like Prince of Darkness for its sheer outrageousness, and Dark Star is fun.

Most of the rest I just think are sloppy, cheesy and cliche. Vampires is one of the worst vampires movies ever made, IMO.

I agree with a fair bit of that and think he definitely has shown some really amateur touches in both his directing and writing over the years. What he does usually bring to his work is unique perspectives and style. Even a movie like They Live, which in all fairness is poorly shot and laden with cheese, is actually a really great concept and story. From the story line, right down to the matte shots when the glasses go on, there is something that just captures a really unique flavour. I do think though a lot of the time his writing is a little bit child like and his directing is hit and miss.

metternich1815 06-20-2014 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neverending (Post 972313)
I'm in the minority of horror fans that doesn't lionize John Carpenter. I think he made one really great film, several nearly great films, and a bunch of really cheesy shlock.

Halloween is his best, for me. I like The Fog despite the fact it falls apart in the last reel, like They Live despite its cheese, like Prince of Darkness for its sheer outrageousness, and Dark Star is fun.

Most of the rest I just think are sloppy, cheesy and cliche. Vampires is one of the worst vampires movies ever made, IMO.

Well, unsurprisingly, I completely disagree. In my opinion, he is an amazing director, one of the best in the horror genre. Sure, he does not compare to someone like Alfred Hitchcock, but is still good nonetheless.

I will agree with you that Halloween was one of his greatest films, but I disagree it is the best. To me, The Thing (1982) was his best film and one of the best horror films of all time. Top five at least. I would probably put Halloween in the top ten horror films of all time.

One aspect I will agree with you on is that there are a number of his films that are cheesy, but those are still good, in my opinion. Some other films he made that were really good were In the Mouth of Madness and Prince of Darkness neither of which I found cheesy at all. I am not sure what you mean by its "outrageousness". I thought it was a really interesting idea and an excellent film. I have not seen all of Dark Star.

I will agree with you on the ending of the Fog. It seemed a little silly to me, but the rest of the movie more than makes up for it. The story was fascinating, the atmosphere darkly beautiful, and there was a creepy element to it. The music really complemented it as well.

I liked Vampires, but I agree that it is far from his best. I do think there were many vampire films far worse than that one. In my opinion, it was just a fun film.

I will add a note that I have not seen Assault on Precinct 13 or Big Trouble in Little China.

As for the post, I agree with Straker, In the Mouth of Madness is a notable exclusion from this list. That film was quite excellent, if underrated.

Straker 06-20-2014 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by metternich1815 (Post 972340)

I will add a note that I have not seen Assault on Precinct 13 or Big Trouble in Little China.

Assault on Precinct 13 is one of my personal favourite Carpenter flicks, its very simple/ minimalist and has a great atmosphere. The acting, writing, directing are all a bit hit and miss, but the atmosphere and pacing are spot on.

Big Trouble in Little China is just cheap tongue in cheek fun and as long as you don't take it too seriously its decent enough, but its not particularly good. Its become a bit of a cult classic, mostly for Kurt Russell's hammy, over the top comedic performance, which fits in perfectly with the cheesy, off beat tone of the movie.

Sculpt 06-20-2014 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neverending (Post 972313)
I'm in the minority of horror fans that doesn't lionize John Carpenter. I think he made one really great film, several nearly great films, and a bunch of really cheesy shlock.

Halloween is his best, for me. I like The Fog despite the fact it falls apart in the last reel, like They Live despite its cheese, like Prince of Darkness for its sheer outrageousness, and Dark Star is fun.

Most of the rest I just think are sloppy, cheesy and cliche. Vampires is one of the worst vampires movies ever made, IMO.

What did you think The Thing 82?

As a writer, I assume you've read the SFWA awarded sci-fi novella by John W. Campbell Jr, Who Goes There? I think Carpenter captures the essence well, the plot, implications & paranoia. Carp & Co creates a very effective setting and mood: the cruel cold environment and grave isolation -- thus creating the stark conflict between the essential need to trust and rely on your fellow comrades, and the deadly peril this trust and reliance puts you in when it's the 'wolf in sheep's clothing'. This is further amped with Carp's shocking special effects that simultaneously stun and wake you, being both surreal and yet having ultra realism.

The film doesn't stray from the rich ground of the premise, and effectively stays on track. As a balanced sci-fi film, it shows you, along with tells you.

Most of the characters are surprisingly strong from the beginning (kudos to the actors and script). I neither felt deprived of character development, nor bored or distracted by stilted character construction.

Did any of the characters change? Not overtly or with certainty. Although, I felt like the circumstances slapped all the characters in the face, and brought out the various sides of stress, fear & vulnerabilities, causing new acts implied as expressions of one's inner character.

Quote:

Originally Posted by metternich1815 (Post 972340)
I have not seen all of Dark Star. I will add a note that I have not seen Assault on Precinct 13 or Big Trouble in Little China

Mett, save you time and money and skip Dark Star. Knowing your taste, you'll likely feel ripped off. After seeing the film with a pal, he said he was certain the budget went up the filmmakers' noses. It's a film practice. Glad Carp made good use of the practice, but I didn't need to see it. It is one of the worst films I've ever seen. It's MST2K cannon fodder.

Also, based on your tastes, Assault on Precinct 13 & Big Trouble in Little China are probably essential viewing. Assault isn't about anything, but it's well crafted action, & the actors were just good. Big Trouble is creative 80's fare. It was entertaining (& know some who loved it) but I'm not a huge fan. It lacked meaning to me.

I saw Prince of Darkness in the theatre. It had some eerie visuals. Struck me as more of a surreal Lucio Fulci film. Whereas I love the purposeful surrealism of Gilliam's "Brazil", I tend to dislike a seemingly aimless nightmare without cogence & purpose.

FryeDwight 06-24-2014 01:55 AM

Like a lot of John's stuff myself...
THE THING is a classic and shame it did not do as well as it should.
HALLOWEEN has not really aged well for me, although one should never underestimate its importance.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and PRINCE OF DARKNESS are both kinda weird, especially BIG ("Is this a comedy or serious film" I was thinking my first time viewing), but worth checking out as are ASSUALT ON PRECINCT 13, DARK STAR and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS.


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