Carpenters Have the Best Tools: Top Ten John Carpenter Films Carpenters Have the Best Tools: Top Ten John Carpenter Films
To follow the other top 10 I posted recently (The Man, The Myth, The Snake: Top 10 Kurt Russell Films), I figured I might... Carpenters Have the Best Tools: Top Ten John Carpenter Films

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To follow the other top 10 I posted recently (The Man, The Myth, The Snake: Top 10 Kurt Russell Films), I figured I might as well continue on with the theme, and give you all my top 10 John Carpenter films, of ALL TIME! I am hoping to start posting some horror film reviews, especially on ones I find good or intriguing. Enough gibber gabber, on with the show….

Carpenter will never go down as one of the greatest directors of all time, but he will be remembered as a very influential filmmaker, mainly in classic cult films, generally in the horror and science fiction genres. I have always been a huge Carpenter fan, having grown up admiring many of his early films, and appreciating most everything he has done. I am hoping he has at least one more great film to give to us, but alas, like Argento and many others, with age, has also come mediocrity and let downs. Let’s begin….

10. They Live (1988)

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By no means a “great” film, but a fun, Twilight Zone-esque showing for Carpenter. Staring Roddy Piper as a homeless man who stands up to the aliens that are trying to control the population with subliminal messages of acceptance of the status quo through the use of mass media.  Another B-Movie classic from Carpenter.

Stars – Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster

9. The Fog (1980)

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Carpenter’s follow-up after 1978’s Halloween, The Fog has always held a special place in my heart since I was a kid. Once again, not a “great” film, but a moody and atmospheric piece of cinema that gives you zombie leper pirates bent on vengeance for crimes of the past! Let’s not mention the lame 2005 remake…………

Stars – Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Janet Lee, and Hal Holbrook.

8. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

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Carpenter’s second major film, focuses on a police officer who defends a precinct from an onslaught of gang members. Initially not a success, the film was a hit in Europe and gained cult status shortly after in the US. Once again, no need to mention it’s 2005 remake……….

Stars – Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, and Laurie Zimmer.

7. Starman (1984)

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The only Carpenter film to receive an Academy Award nomination (Jeff Bridges – Best Actor). The story is about an alien traveling to Earth in response to an invitation to do so left on the Voyager 2 space probe. At it’s core, it is a love story, and a nice little change-of-pace film for Carpenter.

Stars – Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, and Charles Martin Smith.

6. In The Mouth of Madness (1995)

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Carpenter’s Lovecraft inspired horror film, the third part of his Apocalypse Trilogy (The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and ITMM), centers on a man’s investigation into the disappearance of popular horror novelist Sutter Cane.

Stars – Sam Neil, Julie Carmen, Jurgen Prochnow, and Charlton Heston.

5. Prince of Darkness (1987)

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Underrated Carpenter film, that does feel a bit “unfinished”, but very creepy and atmospheric. The Second installment of his Apocalypse Trilogy, did not receive favorable reviews on release, like a lot of his films, but has since garnered cult status. Who doesn’t like a film about the ultimate evil infused with the theory of matter and anti-matter? Additionally, you get Alice Cooper!

Stars – Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount, Victor Wong, and Jameson Parker.

4.  Halloween (1978)

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The film that created a franchise along with the slasher film genre. It also starred an unknown actress at the time, Jamie Lee Curtis. It has established itself as a classic in it’s field, and remains as Carpenter’s most influential film.

Stars – Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, and P.J. Soles.

3. Big Trouble In Little China (1986) 

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Classic Carpenter, and once again, a critical failure on it’s initial release, but through the years, has become a cult classic. Who can’t love a good ole’ Kung Fu movie starring Kurt Russell? In my opinion, a huge influence on the Mortal Combat game series, especially Raiden! Great stuff!

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Stars – Kurt Russell, Kin Cattrall, Dennis Dun, and Victor Wong.

2.   Escape From New York (1981)

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No doubt in mind what the top four were on this list, it was just a matter of where they ranked for my personally. Escape was one of those films that when I saw it, I feel in love with it instantly. One of Carpenter’s films that actually was received well by critics and movie-goers. Snake Plissken was a bad ass and my main man Kurt was ideal for the role and created an iconic character with his performance. There are rumors of a “remake”, which I hope are squashed, but as long as Carpenter is willing to sell off all his properties, be warned. Big Trouble is also in “remake” stage………..UGH!

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Stars – Kurt Russell, Donald Pleasence, Adrienne Barbeau, Lee Van Cleef, and Ernest Borgnine.

1. The Thing (1982)

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If you read my other article on Kurt Russell, then no surprise here. For me, this is as good as it gets for Carpenter. I have watched this film no telling how many times and it never gets old. A true horror classic!

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Stars – Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, and Keith David.

Honorable Mention:

Elvis (1979) – Kurt Russell – TV

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Cigarette Burns (2005) and Pro-Life (2006) episodes of Master of Horrors – TV

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Halloween II (1981) – Jamie Lee Curtis

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What are your guys thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with my list? I am probably done with Top 10 lists for awhile, and will probably try my hand at a Horror Column, reviewing several recent horror films. Plan on also doing reviews on two new albums coming out in the next few weeks, the new Buck Cherry and Shinedown. Believe It!

-FFT

Author Image

Full Frontal Throttle

  • Abe

    Flip flop Halloween and Big Trouble and your list is on the money.

  • So long as The Thing is #1, as is the case, then I can’t argue with it.

  • KilliK

    amen

  • KilliK

    Also, some other honorable mentions:
    Dark Star, Christine, Escape from LA.
    John was the king of b-movies.

  • CreepyThinMan

    1 – Dark Star
    2 – The Thing
    3 – Christine
    4 – The Fog
    5 – Halloween
    !!!FACT!!!
    https://youtu.be/tyNuWCjc-bg

  • 1. The Thing/The Fog
    3. Escape From New York
    4. Big Trouble in Little China
    5. Halloween
    6. In The Mouth of Madness
    7. They Live
    8. Prince of Darkness
    9. Starman
    10. Christine

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    1. In the Mouth of Madness
    2. The Thing
    3. Prince of Darkness
    4. Big Trouble in Little China
    5. Halloween

  • Tarmac492.1

    Prince of Darkness should be hailed just for the greatness of the ideas presented. It kind of turns into a NOTLD rip-off at the end, but there is still plenty of creepiness in it. Love it!!! And this might be some of the coolest stuff I have ever seen in a movie

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  • Tarmac492.1

    cunt fungus

  • Tarmac492.1

    Christine is a really solid adaption of King’s novel. The novel had some epic scenes–like Repperton’s death, but Carpenter did a great job of making it work as a flick. Keith Gordon was great in this, as well.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Great article man!! Love these lists.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Starman was great. Love the rednecks with the deer.

    “I’m gonna get that sumbitch, Donny Bob (spits out tabacky) Right now.”

    Thats how I remembered it anyway. been awhile.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Love this article, and would switch 1 and 2 personally, but…

    Could you maybe edit this, and expound your thoughts into a Huge article?

    Would love to read pages of your thoughts, truly.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Still some of the greatest creepy imagery.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Dark Star?

    Hmmm, need to rewatch, but there is no way it’s better than Escape.

    No Fuckin way.

  • Hey creeps, what is your opinion on Escpae from LA? I think I never read it before.

  • Tarmac492.1

    No Vampire$??? LOL!!! Hated that one. Mostly because of the disappointment of wasting James Woods and the action was lame.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I liked Memoirs of an Invisible Man. No classic, but underrated. An actual “performance” from Chevy.

  • Tarmac492.1

    There can never be too many horror film reviews. Lets get some, stat!! Will anxiously await a horror movie review form you, Full Frontal.

  • I consider Carpenter’s THE THING to be a perfect film. Nothing in it is wrong or superfluous. Cinematic perfection from beginning to end.

  • Stalkeye

    Great list, FFS, Believe it!!

    Needless to say, here’s my picks:

    5.Halloween- Before Fast Food Horror franchises lie Jason or Freddy, the was Myers!!

    4.They Live- Metaphoric attack on the Yuppie/Reagan establishment. (RIP Rowdy)

    3.Assault on Precinct 13- Carp’s Modern day Rio Bravo with a “Vanilla” Twist! *GASPS*

    2.The Thing -Best remake ever thanks to an great cast, memorable dialogue, Carp’s direction, Bottin’s SFX and Morricone’s soundtrack.

    1.Escape from New York-No brainier there. Innovative with a high concept, Kurt’s breakthrough performance moreso than Elvis and not to mention the brilliant Soundtrack courtesy of Carp and Alan Howarth!! While Superman proved that a man can fly, EFLA made you root for the bad guy.

    Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

  • Phantomcreeps

    Absolutely, despise it.

  • Stalkeye

    I thought James was good and the conspiracy behind the Vatican was a brilliant subplot. Not to mention that it was Thomas Ian Griffith’s last good role

  • Phantomcreeps

    Agree.

    There is no problem, or flaw that anyone could ever muster.

    It just does not exist in the film.

  • Stalkeye

    His opinion is exactly the same as mine. (0:<

  • Phantomcreeps

    Good list, but those numbers revert.

  • Stalkeye

  • Stalkeye

    FIXED! (0=

  • Stalkeye
  • Phantomcreeps

    Why? Why?

    I went by myself to the theater.

    Downed a Fuckin 40, in the hot sun, before I walked in.

    By myself I walked out, a lesser man.

    The movie is not ironic,

    It is not a good silly reverse Escape from N.Y..

    And, it is most definitely not a jab at any current government body.

    There is no substance, no care, no love.

    It is simply The first and most poignant slap in the face to the world that John Carpenter didn’t give a Fuck.

    Good for him, but it pissed me off.

    Something fierce.

  • Stalkeye

    LOL My Friends and I wished we had escaped from Escape from LA.

    It was disappointing on so many levels and even the Score sucked. It sounded like Fucking batman Cartoons, and its no wonder because Shirley Walker did some of the Music.

    Don’t get me started on the SFX and the beautiful Pam Grier as a Tranny. “Carjack Malone”? Fuck you, John! I don’t know which is worse, this or…

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51CGyp%2BMkyL._SX940_.jpg

  • Phantomcreeps

    Escape from NY is the greatest film I’ve ever seen.

    Hands down.

    The Thing is my second.

    Creepshow is my fourth.

    Wizard of Oz is my third.

    Unforgiven is the fifth.

    🙂

  • Phantomcreeps

    Hate that gravy train shitstain too.

    I love carpenter, but Jesus.

    I love the Ward though.

    Convinced Deceased to watch it and he liked it.

    Carpenter is my favorite director, but LA cut deep.

    The Ward is good.

  • Phantomcreeps

    The Fog and Christine fucking rock.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Actually, there are quite a few. It’s undeniably a great movie, but the zealot-like dogma surrounding it these days is annoying, much like that surrounding Blade Runner (another wonderful but flawed movie).

  • Phantomcreeps

    At least Harry Knowles decapitated head is in it.

    True story.

    GIF that shit.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Like?

    Such as?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I’d have place them in a different order, but yes, those are my five favorites as well.

  • Phantomcreeps

    You may be going to war, with the wrong motherfucker.

  • Stalkeye

    I’m on it.

  • Phantomcreeps

    The Thing is not Blade Runner, Fuck you kindly.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Quite a few?

  • Phantomcreeps

    Fuck you.

  • Stalkeye

    Y’know, I heard so many bad things about The Ward that I kept putting it off.
    If it’s still available on my Netflix Queue, I’ll (finally) get around to it.

  • Phantomcreeps

    It’s absolutely great, if you like old Johnny.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Some of the characters are poorly developed, nay anonymous, and a few of the dramatic scenes of conflict aren’t as well done as they could have been. They’re adequate and sometimes even good, but most fanboys don’t have a clue about great writing and so always neglect these aspects in their appraisals.

    Just imagine what a William Goldman or Paddy Chayefsky could have done with those scenes. For all its monster FX, The Thing is really human drama – a dozen men in a room (or rooms) slowly going insane – it’s the 12 Angry Men of monster pics. And there are numerous unsatisfying cheats and dead-ends in the screenplay, too, although admittedly this may have been due to production problems.

    Also, the movie still has a B-Movie feel to it at times, like all of Carpenter’s work. It’s not like Alien, which transcended those roots to become a genuine work of art that could sit alongside the greatest ever made.

    The Thing’s direction, creature scenes, atmosphere, music, blocking and framing, etc. are nigh perfect, however. My non-denominational opinions won’t be popular, but I don’t care.

  • Phantomcreeps

    I read your comment Three times.

    It was more ridiculous, subsequently.

    Read, what you just wrote and fester.

    Fuck.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Let’s start from the beginning.

    Some of the characters are poorly developed?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Yes. They’re just cannon-fodder to make up the numbers. We don’t care about them.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Are we talking about the thing?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    No, it wasn’t. Ruminate on it and open your mind. Free yourself from the dogma.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    No, we’re talking about Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Dude, you are a straight fuckhole.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Cute

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I know.

  • Phantomcreeps

    We all know, but who cares.

    People hate me, but what is your specific problem with the thing?

    Because I will rip you apart.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Good luck with that.

  • Phantomcreeps

    You have no argument though.

    What you typed is garbage.

    Means nothing.

    C’mon.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Hmmm…and yet, I seem to see quite a few clearly defined points in my post, so no.

    Also, you seem like a crazy person. Time to take your meds.

  • Tarmac492.1

    The action scenes look like they were staged for geriatrics to perform before bingo at the old person’s home. Woods is excellent. Griffith should have had a better career. Here’s hoping he can rebound.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Here’s a good one turd.

    And

  • Phantomcreeps

    No

  • Tarmac492.1

    There is legit poetry to this post. Love it.

  • Tarmac492.1

    This is not a dream… not a dream. We are using your brain’s electrical system as a receiver. We are unable to transmit through conscious neural interference. You are receiving this broadcast as a dream. We are transmitting from the year one, nine, nine, nine. You are receiving this broadcast in order to alter the events you are seeing. Our technology has not developed a transmitter strong enough to reach your conscious state of awareness, but this is not a dream. You are seeing what is actually occurring for the purpose of causality violation.

  • Stalkeye

    “The action scenes look like they were staged for geriatrics to perform before bingo at the old person’s home.”

    LMMFAO That’s a good comparison, I’ll give ya that.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Nice

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I might just do that. This was something quick to go along with my Kurt Russell Top 10.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Me too. I was so excited for the possibilities, then when I saw it, was pissed off!

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    It pissed me off, then he started selling off all his properties for re-makes! So fucking sad, and it still pisses me off

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Very true story.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Ward pissed me off, just because it was so unoriginal. Carpenter better than that. He and Argento both sold out in their old age

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    In no way is it better than any of those film in my top ten! FACT!

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Dark Star? Come on….

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Hey, we agree on something! 🙂

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I like it. Believe

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Can’t have a Carpenter top 5 without Big Trouble! Come on! Revel in all it’s silliness…

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    He was. B movie king, for sure

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Don’t know why, but always loved that film, flawed as it was.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Agreed

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Love It

  • Tarmac492.1

    Agreed. But it seemed he was swinging for the fences(at least in the first 2/3rds) and you have to fucking respect that.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Wow, In the Mouth of Madness as #1. Have not seen that before.

  • Tarmac492.1

    The Thing was the Antithesis of ET and the USA was not ready for the downer ending of Carpenter’s fick, IMO. If it was made 20 years later we would have eaten it up.

  • Tarmac492.1

    At their peaks, I think Carpenter is better than Argento, maybe not technically but Carpenter’s best beat Argento’s best. The way the ’98 Yankees would beat a high school baseball team.

  • Tarmac492.1

    May we expect a straight on horror movie review from you, soon?

  • Stalkeye

    “Some of the characters are poorly developed, nay anonymous, and a few of the dramatic scenes of conflict aren’t as well done as they could have been”

    to be honest, I can say the same about the characters from Avatar especially Jake Sully. As far as i can remember, there was really no sense of joy or astonishment he experienced after being able to “walk” again.

    Although, I liked Steven lang’s performance as Miles Quaritch, there was something a bit lacking with his character. I did not feel his sense of disappointment after Sully joined the side of the Na’vi. And don’t get me started on Michelle Rodriqgez’s “Welcome to Air Pandora”. She played an native American (Trudy) but where was the dialog of her mentioning how her ancestors were forced out of their homeland and massacred by foreign invaders? Yet the praise this Movie receives is as “Dogmatic’.

    I like your Analogy of 12 Angry men however, there perhaps wasn’t enough room for character development between the entire cast of characters however, each was different within their own right and there were hints of traits that were already established. Windows hates Palmer, Palmer is an irresponsible Stoner Pilot, Blair becomes more paranoid afterwards, McCready is cynical but takes hold of the situation meaning that he takes steps that may not sit right with the others. Childs is stoic especially when standing up to Macrady.
    “Then kill me”.

    That revelation of it being an no win situation affirms Macready’s stance and determination as he says- “None of us are gonna make it alive, but neither is that Thing”.

    There may have not been enough development, but it was a very feasible effort. My only gripe is that omitted Blair monster scene in which Nauls gets offed.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Devils Advocate. Were the characters in Alien better developed than The Thing?

  • Tarmac492.1

    Bill Lancaster. Son of Burt. Wrote Carpenter’s The Thing and the Original Bad News Bears. Died at 49. RIP.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    In that comparison to Alien, I’m not talking about the characters, just the general “feel” of the movie. The Thing seems tied to its pulpy roots; Alien doesn’t.

    Also – and not that this means all that much – Alien seems to figure on a lot of mainstream critics lists of best movies. I don’t recall ever seeing The Thing on those lists. The Thing largely seems to be feted on fan or genre sites – I’m not sure it ever fully crossed over to mainstream appreciation (although it’s certainly better respected today than it once was). It still seems more like a cult classic, too anarchic and gory for “highbrow” tastes.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I will always remember Daniel Baldwin on Stern talking this movie up I nearly creamed in me bloomers I was so excited. Then i saw it.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    “As far as i can remember, there was really no sense of joy or astonishment he experienced after being able to “walk” again.”

    Except there’s a whole sequence nakedly devoted to this, where Sully, overjoyed at being able to walk again, impulsively dashes out of the lab and across the complex’s grounds, a big grin on his face and his feet tilling the soil (as if to compound the symbolism), while the music soars triumphantly on the soundtrack.

    But what about Avatar? That’s a straw man. I’ve been critical of aspects of Avatar in the past, too, and that movie doesn’t have the dogma surrounding it that The Thing and Blade Runner do, where no criticism can be brooked and is immediately shouted down. Avatar has as many haters as lovers, and they’re often much more vitriolic.It’s also not a claustrophobic character piece like The Thing, and is really more of an universal, archetypal fable, so it doesn’t have to have as much character development by its nature.

    As for The Thing, McCready, Blair and Childs are all well developed, but there are some guys in there (Norris, the doctor, etc.) that have almost no development at all. You can’t even tell some of them apart when they’re wearing those snow suits and goggles. And some simply disappear from proceedings and are killed off-screen with little fanfare(and not always to preserve ambiguity, either). I think I read somewhere that Carpenter had to rush through production and re-write some parts on the fly, so perhaps that accounts for these flaws.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Ok. I just brought it up because you mentioned Alien in your post. It is funny because I feel that they are alike in many aspects. I think the characters are all cut from that breed of genius blue collar types and they both have that claustrophobic feel. If Ripley blew up with the Nostromo do you think it would have been regarded the way The Thing was at first?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Yeah, the main thing that’s different from the novel is that Christine was possessed by the ghost of the guy who sold Arnie the car. But Carpenter did a good job, even though he wasn’t a fan of the book and only did the movie as a paycheck.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I like it, but it just misses out.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Yup. On screen, Keith Gordon wrestling with an undead Roberts Blossom may have looked ridiculous, but if I remember in the book it was Dennis explaining that he saw this to the detective? I could be wrong. It was effective in the novel.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Alien wasn’t as vilified as The Thing at its time of release, but it did get its share of bad reviews, too. Any movie with overt horror aspects is always going to have a difficult time gaining acceptance with certain critics. Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture but had to be re-branded as a “suspense thriller” in order to do it.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I forget your thoughts on Prince of Darkness. May I get a rundown? Interested on your thoughts.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I would agree.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Spot on

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    That’s my idea. Hopefully between work and fam, I can fit one on soon

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Both started sucking at about the same time (late eighties): Carpenter’s last great movie was They Live and Argento’s was Opera. Only sporadic good movies for both since then, many awful, and certainly no great ones.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Cool. Yeah, those two tend to cut into the writing. Look forward to it!! However, every time I complain I remember Stephen King saying something along the lines of you can find two hours a day to write. He is right I guess.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Agree. Hadn’t looked at it that way, Napoleon that is, but you right. Is definitely his most underrated film.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    It seems most of King’s novels are that way, hard to put to film the way King intended it to be in his novel(s).

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    If you forego 2 hours of sleep! I like my sleep…

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I like The Thing better than Blade Runner, just me..

  • Stalkeye

    ROTF

  • Tarmac492.1

    Agreed. The more I think about it the more I have respect for screenwriters who turn out great adaptions of novels. How to externalize internal things. What to trim, excise and what to add and condense. Not easy. A risky decision I thought worked out very well was to turn Barlow into a snarling Nosferatu in the 1979 Salems Lot. You still get the cool dialogue in the showdown with Barlow and Callahan, except it is spoken by the great james mason. David Soul FTW. Dont give up on us baby!!!!

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I would agree with that.

  • Stalkeye

    Napoleon is a great anti-hero character, and a bad-ass forerunner to Snake”

    Exactly! Carpenter once said it himself in an interview.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Really? Carpenter dont like the ginger? Or the exact opposite?

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Love the 1979 Salems Lot. One of the few films to truly scare me. Was staying at my Meme’s house, and in the bedroom I was sleeping in, it had a black and white TV in it. Needless to say, Salem’s lot came on, and the black and white picture gave it and added level of creepiness, and along with The Exorcist, are two films that actually scared the crap out of me. Jaws did too, along with Amityville Horror, even though it’s actually not that great on rewatching it (1979 version).

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    A few characters in the novel see visions of the corpse driving the car. After mortally injuring the bullies, the rotting cadaver even taunts them.

    You’re never quite sure if it’s the car that’s inherently evil, or just the guy that owned it and transferred his spirit into it. Carpenter chose to simplify that point and remove the ambiguity, which was probably for the best in a two hour movie.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Same here. Expectations were so high for it and Ghost of Mars..

  • Stalkeye

    Yep, The clueless American Filmgoers felt that the Movie was too Nihilistic but my Friends and I loved every second of it.
    On the other hand, I loathed ET and all it’s syrup coated blandness. and still do,

  • Tarmac492.1

    Time for a reread. Will get that bad boy on the kindle.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    When I saw The Thing in theaters, I loved It! Left knowing I had just seen something none of these others assholes could understand. I did enjoy ET, but The Thing was it!

  • Tarmac492.1

    I want to review a Return to Salems Lot because I hated it so much. WIll start with a much better Larry Cohen flick this week.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Q: The Winged Serpent?

  • Stalkeye

    Carps gotta Eat, (Fried chicken) smoke his Cigs and play Call of Duty on his Xbox yanno.

  • Tarmac492.1

    LOL. Yup.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Heh. A lucky guess.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Killer movie. Just fucking Killer.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I never understood the popular theory that ET’s success was responsible for The Thing’s poor reception in 1982 just because it presented a friendly alien. It seems a bit contrived, as other violent movies were popular that summer, including Road Warrior and Conan.

    Surely they weren’t targeting the same audience to begin with, and the adult male audience and the genre fans The Thing was aimed at shouldn’t have cared either way?

  • Stalkeye

    “But what about Avatar? That’s a straw man. I’ve been critical of aspects of Avatar in the past, too, and that movie doesn’t have the dogma surrounding it that The Thing and Blade Runner do, where no criticism can be brooked and is immediately shouted down.”

    Well, from my experience it received praise almost as much as The Thing and I myself have mentioned the film’s flaws, but overall The Thing is an instant classic because of it’s psychological nature-Paranoia and suspicion. And I love how McCready started with “I don’t trust anybody” (“Trust in the Lord”) to sharing a Drink with Childs despite each suspecting the other of being the Parasitic alien.
    One of my favorite ambiguous endings ever.

    Blade Runner could have been better but for what it was, it’s still a fantastic piece of Noir. Influential and very ambitious.

  • Stalkeye

    I thought that The Thing got a serious undeserved bad rap because those fools compared one Alien film to another. The overwhelming positive response from ET made others feel disdain for the dark and unhappy ending that was JC’s The Thing.

    It was all about the comparison and not necessarily other violent films during 1982. Therein lies the general consensus. People are Ficky fuckers.

  • KilliK

    quick a few? LOL. fuck no, mate. the movie is flawless. a perfect horror masterpiece.

  • Stalkeye

    I never saw this coming and afterwards, Shit got real!

    Carpenter wasn’t fucking around!

  • I quite liked it. Saw it in the theaters back in the day and was pleasantly surprised by the intellectual aspect of the story. And it’s a damn good horror movie, especially concerning those creepy video messages from the future.

  • Unfortunatly i didn’t watched this movie in the theater back then (i would be only 11 then) but a friend of mine has seen it’s trailer when he watched another movie and never forgot it. So, during the VHS crazy in the mid-late 80s, he who was the only one of us who owned a VHS played, rented the movie and showed it to us all. Suffice to say, that was a very memorable day. Minds were blown and pants were shitted.

  • Two great movies do not a bad or flawed one make.

  • The Thing would had not existed if not for the success of Alien. Which is not a put down on The Thing but another reason to love Alien.

  • It’s literally impossible for Blade Runner to be better. Any change made to the movie would create a domino effect that would severely diminished the movie. The thing some people claim are flaws in the movie is what makes it unique, smart, influential and, i must repeat this, unique.

  • Stalkeye

    BR is a close second IMO.

  • Recently i re-watched THE FOG and my appreciation for that movie grew considerably. I used to think of it as one of Carpenter’s lesser efforts, but nowadays i have a highly opinion of it. The frame composition of that movie alone is fantastic to behold.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Agreed. In the Mouth of Madness, for me, was the last Carpenter film to actually “feel” like a Carpenter film. After that, he took a nose dive. The Ward has that “Carpenter” feel, but the film is uninspired and seems like a paycheck.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I agree with all of that. Really well put.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I actually convinced my dad into taking me. He also too me to Heavy Metal. Needless to say, he picked most of the movies we went to together after those two, but his choice was usually Bond, Dirty Harry, etc (not too bad).

  • Tarmac492.1

    It’s all in the reflexes.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    That was a good Summer of movies: The Thing, Road Warrior, and Conan, three of my fav films!

  • Tarmac492.1

    lol. Me too. Once I hit like 11 or 12 my dad took me to most of them. pale rider, aliens, the fly, rambo

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I was wondering your take on that one. I feel the same way. Thought he just didn’t find a way to wrap the film up. Lots of great ideas, just did not completely come together. Still, love it

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Carpenter is a much better film maker than people give him credit for. His editing and music scores are great. The Fog is so much better than I even remembered

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Oh Yeah. Once my parents divorced, I convinced my mom to take me to two films, Halloween II and Friday The 13th Pt.2. Needless to say again, she sent me to the movies on my own, and would buy my ticket for me if it was R. LOL

  • Tarmac492.1

    I know some big name critics back in the day always wanted him to direct a western.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Should have accepted what she got! Her Vanilla Twist turned into a Bloody Chest!

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Damn, that is sooooooooooo stupid!

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    That would have been awesome

  • I think I need to revisit that one

  • Stalkeye

    Strawberry Twist? Ah, Kim Richards.

    Now for a “Where are they now” segment..

    http://www.tmz.com/person/kim-richards/

  • CreepyThinMan

    For a low budget student film expended into a feature, Dark Star shows more brains, wit and ingenuity that 99.99% of the shit that comes out today. It also helped that Dan O’Bannon (Screenwriter and Director of my favorite movie, Return of the Living Dead) was Carpenter’s primary collaborator on it and was also FUCKING GREAT as Pinback. If you look at Carpenters filmography, NOTHING he ever did, even his masterpiece The Thing, came close to the sort of eccentric genius seen in Dark Star. That’s due to O’Bannon’s off-beat sensibilities and what movie can you think of that features a climax involving a discussion over phenomenology?!?FACT!!!
    https://youtu.be/6HBvS6ucGso

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    I don’t necessarily believe it needs to be on the list, but I agree with your take. O’Bannon and Carp created a strange little film. You had me at Phenomenology…..FACT-O-MUNDO!

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Strawberry Fields Foreva

  • S_D_M_F

    After reading William Goldman’s two books on screenwriting, it’s very hard for me to criticize movie adaptations of books. Not impossible for me to criticize, because many are pure crap! But a lot harder than it was before reading them.

  • S_D_M_F

    Just loaded it on Netflix. I’m blaming you and creeps if it sucks, Stalks.

  • S_D_M_F

    Ha ha! listed on Harry’s IMDB: Ghosts of Mars Head on a Stake (uncredited)

  • franks_television

    Did Carpenter direct Christine? I should see that.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Yes Sir.

  • KilliK

    wait the fuck a minute. you didnt watch TT at the theater when it came out, because you were 11, but in the same year you watched BR? and despite being so young, you were blown away by it and regarded it an all time classic scifi masterpiece , while it was trashed by the film critics and ignored by an indifferent audience?

    are you pulling a Harry Knowles with us, amigo?

    Also, the VHS circuit in the 80s, helped you to discover one of the many genre classics from that period, which were overlooked when they came out in theaters. Just like what happened with Blade Runner, Terminator,etc during that time. But you keep insisting that BR gained its cult status popularity in the 90s, while disparaging the rest of us who claim that we find out about this movie in the 80s, thanks to the videocassette. you need to get your facts straight, amigo.

  • KilliK

    but you put down Predator, because Aliens was the reason for making it. nice double standard there, amigo.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Kudos to you sir.

    Just popped back in and that popped up.

    Ha, go tell your bud gravy, he is dead fucking wrong about the Thing.

    Love Him though.

  • Phantomcreeps

    You are wrong, but you make a good argument.

  • Phantomcreeps

    It’s a beautiful film.

    Adrienne as the protagonist.

    They had to film new scenes to make it more gory, for tv no less.

    Halloween 2 all over again. Running time.

    Great ghost story.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Carpenter 4 Life!

  • ErnestRister

    Emma Thompson’s advice for adaptations….write the entire thing, then start taking things out. If you can still tell the story without those scenes, remove them. But write the entire thing first. And then start removing what isn’t essential, and if you need to, fill in the gaps yourself.

    Sounds like good advice, unless you’re adapting The Dark Tower series.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Spoiled brat deserved to get splat!!

  • Tarmac492.1

    Love the mirror scene at the end. jameson Parker??? Whaaaat???? Thom Bray of Riptide???? LOL!!!

  • Tarmac492.1

    Poltergeist too.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I would think Poltergeist took more away from the The Thing. It was a safe horror film and gave the audiences a happy ending. I dont remember if The Thing came out summer ’82, I know Poltergeist and ET did.Although, people do like their happy aliens so the ET thing might be a valid, if somewhat easy point to make which I used.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    My thoughts exactly…

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Oh yeah, forgot that one. What a summer

  • Stalkeye

    Poltergeist had some effed up scenes one in particular was the guy who peeled his Face off.

    But yeah, it had that Happy ending enclosed with that “La,La,la” theme.

  • Stalkeye

    Ya gots good tastes Boyo.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I never read LA Confidential, but I think Helgeland probably did a good job with that. I think I heard they only used one portion of the book? I am biased, but I think they wisely excised many not needed plot lines of JAWS to turn into one lean, mean mofo movie. And as much as Benchley hated the shark blowing up ending of the movie as opposed to his Moby Dick like ending, Spielberg was right. JAWS the film is better than the book. Although every time the shark is in the book it is powerful magic.

  • Tarmac492.1

    That LaLaLa shit creeps me out.

  • Tarmac492.1

    ET def fucked Starman.

  • Stalkeye

    Starman was ET for Adults. When I first saw the Movie as a kid, I often asked myself- ” why were complete strangers helping Jeff bridges and Karen Allen throughout the Movie?”

    Yeah, even back then I was a cynical Snot. /:

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Yep, Blade Runner experienced growing popularity in the mid-to-late eighties thanks to VHS – which is what led to demand for the so-called “Director’s Cut” in the first place.

    Of course, Asimov has to construct a contrived theory to avoid giving the eighties credit for anything. Remember, he doesn’t even regard the film itself to have been made in the eighties, because its development began in ’79/80, and of course he (factually incorrectly) thinks that 0 years are not part of their corresponding decades. It’s hilarious.

  • Stalkeye

    Don’t get me wrong, I have mad respect for Dan O’ Ban (Alien, Heavy Metal and especially ROTLD!) but DS just didn’t gel with me. I give it props for being ambitious with an “out there” ending.
    I can’t can you contrarian because to each his/her own. You found something great about Dark Star and that’s good enough.

    That being said, I love JC’s other films (especially from my list.)

  • S_D_M_F

    Both are very good examples of great screenwriting adaptations. You nailed the Jaws observations. LA Confidential, like all of Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet and Underworld USA Trilogy novels, spans many years and covers many characters. Helgeland and Hanson did the smart thing by focusing on just three characters and using the L.A. vibe as practically another character. How well that movie was made is the main reason that the Black Dahlia movie pisses me off so much. One of my favorite books of all time, with a much tighter and smaller plot and less characters to deal with already, and the whole thing is completely fucked up; from the script, to the casting, and by completely losing the feel of the book.

  • S_D_M_F

    Woo hoo! I need to break out my It’s Alive trilogy DVDs.

  • Mr Nick Nightly

    Love it. I saw it twice in theaters and countless times on home video.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Review should be up later today. Cohen had some minor classics, And some trash. Sometimes in the same movie.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I feel I should pick up an Ellroy book. Dahlia you say? Ok. That movie was flat. What a waste.

  • todd

    Wow! A Top Ten list I can honestly say I have no qualms or problems with concerning the order or the typical glaring omission(s). One note: While THEY LIVE may still be relegated to Cult Classic status, it seems to me that it’s sub-textual relevance has only increased over the years, and I would hope it still strikes a subconscious, dystopian chord with the younger audiences of today.
    ????

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    “That being said, I love JC’s other films (especially from my list.)”
    So, what does that mean? My list sucks, yours is better. Fucktard!
    LOL, 😉

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Thanks, and I think you are correct on They Live and the relevance it still hold today.

  • Stalkeye

    Well actually, yes! 😛

    But seriously, my list is based on my preferences as each has their own seminal faves.

    I respect all picks from the thread even those I did not like. Remember-“To each his/her own”,

    Now you know.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Believe It! Now I Know, and Knowing is Half The Battle! BI Again

  • Stalkeye

    What’s “BI Again”?

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    “Believe It Again”

  • Stalkeye

    *Whacks self in the head*
    I should’ve known. (;’

  • S_D_M_F

    I’m biased since it’s the first Ellroy novel that I read, but I recommend starting with The Black Dahlia. It’s his seventh novel, but it’s really where his writing style really first came together. Dahlia is the first book of his LA Quartet (The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential, and White Jazz), which cover the late ’40s to the late ’50s. His later novels (The Underworld USA Trilogy, covering the late ’50s to the late ’60s) continue in the same vein, with a tighter, staccato writing style.

    His early novels set up his later style, with rogue cops, amoral PIs, and the like. But his sixth novel stands out and is a very interesting read. It’s called Killer on the Road (sometimes published as Silent Terror), and is written from the first-person point of view of a serial killer. It’s a fun read.

    Another great read is his autobiography/memoir titled My Dark Places. It really gives insight to the subject matter of his novels and his writing style. His mother was the victim of an still unsolved murder in 1958, when Ellroy was 10 years old.

    Per Wikipedia:
    “The murder, along with reading The Badge by Jack Webb (a book composed of sensational cases from the files of the Los Angeles Police Department, a birthday gift from his father), was an important event of Ellroy’s youth.
    Ellroy’s inability to come to terms with the emotions surrounding his mother’s murder led him to transfer them onto another murder victim, Elizabeth Short, the ‘Black Dahlia.’ Throughout his youth, Ellroy used Short as a surrogate for his conflicting emotions and desires. His confusion and trauma led to a period of intense clinical depression, from which he recovered only gradually.”

    He led an interesting life before becoming a published writer. Aspects of his background are used as his characters’ backgrounds in his early novels: caddying for a living, breaking into houses, and living in parks.