Friends, when it comes to my favorite movie Directors of all time – if I narrowed it down to the top three – no matter what John Carpenter would be one of those elite three. Carpenter was one of the first Directors along with Steven Spielberg that I took notice of – if I saw their name attached to a new film playing at the Razorback theater or 62 Drive-In of my youth, I would do everything in my power to see said movie. And it all started after I had watched Halloween – not in ’78 I am sad to say but in ’79 as it was originally released on October 27th of 1978, that outdoor theater of my youth was seasonal which meant it wasn’t played until the following Spring. I absolutely loved the film and not only did I develop a crush on Jamie Lee Curtis but I was captivated by Donald Pleasence’s performance as Dr. Loomis – a modern day Ahab after his white whale in the form of Michael Myers. Believe it or not though it was Carpenter’s The Fog – that simple but incredibly effective tale of righteous ghostly vengeance that really made me a fan of his work. The following year where I caught those previous two films I had the pleasure of watching Escape from New York – in fact I recall it being the opening film for the Drive-In that Spring.
My Father really loved Escape from New York – he did like The Fog as well but to this day he dislikes Halloween. To be fair he doesn’t care for any slasher films including the likes of Friday the 13th or even the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. But as I pretty much love all horror – you have to give him credit for taking me to see these films even though they were not his cup of tea. Just one year later John Carpenter and Kurt Russell teamed up together to make a new film – to make one of the most amazing science fiction horror films of all time – The Thing. And while we know that sadly most of the World wasn’t quite ready to accept the first of John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy – we can at least enjoy this vintage June 9, 1982 interview with David Letterman about the then upcoming film.
While it was nice to end that entire clip with a humorous appearance by the late and great Bud Melman – you can’t help but wince at Letterman’s comment about feeling that The Thing was going to do quite well. Which I guess over the years it certainly has done well – finally finding it’s audience and becoming a well loved film – which in truth is how a few of Carpenter’s films have turned out. In particular I am thinking about another team up featuring Kurt Russell with 1986’s Big Trouble in Little China or even ’88s They Live, and In the Mouth of Madness back in ’94.
For 46 years John Carpenter has been delivering fantastic films on both the big and small screen – in addition to being a Director, he is a capable Writer and of course a musician, scoring 15 of his 18 films. He has also been known to score other films… say like 2018’s Halloween – the film that continued the story he started 40 years previously.
So today to mark the 72nd birthday of John Carpenter why not join in the celebration by watching one of his many fantastic films? As well as join us in wishing Carpenter the happiest of birthdays and perhaps a selfish wish that perhaps in the near future he will once again take his rightful seat in the Director’s chair?