The Movies of John Carpenter

From guest blogger Brandon Engel 

John Carpenter is often referred to as the Master of Horror, with many of his most popular films, such as Halloween, The Thing, and The Fog, remaining present in the mainstream eye today. His contribution to the film world has been legendary, a point proven when he was recently interviewed for Robert Rodriguez’s The Director’s Chair on the El Rey Network to discuss his impact on the slasher and sci-fi genres, as well as his influence on fellow filmmakers. Though many filmgoers have enjoyed Carpenter’s biggest hits, some readers may not realize that Carpenter has contributed much more to the film industry than a few horror films, including many bizarre horror and sci-fi genre films. A few of these films have reached cult status, but there are still plenty which deserve increased recognition and remain underrated today:

Dark Star: An interesting and somewhat humorous film following a team of astronauts who are sent to space to help in colonizing other planets. Along the way, the astronauts are faced with alien life forms that resemble beach balls, "god like" machinery with a conscious, and space junk. The astronauts face such a large number challenges on their journey that even their own minds become an obstacle to overcome.
Assault on Precinct 13: One of Carpenter's earlier releases, this film centers on a group of police officers who find themselves trapped in their own precinct building, surrounded by gang members who are willing to do anything to extract revenge.
Escape From New York: This film centers around a convicted bank robber who is sent to rescue the president from New York, which has become a maximum security for citizens and criminals alike. Will he save the president in time before the world is overtaken and run as a totalitarian society?
Starman: An original film created by John Carpenter focusing on an alien who has taken the shape of a woman's deceased husband. As the woman, Jenny, begins a romantic affair with the alien in disguise, her world is turned upside down. This movie is not considered a horror film, but instead falls within the romance, sci-fi and mystery genres.
Prince of Darkness: This 1987 classic from Carpenter indulges viewers in a mix of both horror and sci-fi as one priest begins to search for another priest who has subsequently gone missing. When he discovers a vat of unidentifiable green goo within the church, a team of graduate physics students are called in to help in solving the mystery. Little do they know that something even more sinister and evil lurks within the church walls.
They Live: A 1988 film from Carpenter that brings viewers into a totalitarian state of government. Nada is out in the city one afternoon when he stumbles upon a deserted pair of sunglasses. Curious, he begins wearing them, only to discover there is an entirely unseen world beyond his – and it's horrific. When wearing the glasses, Nada discovers that the human race is being overtaken by an alien race, subduing humans and causing them to "obey" with the use of subliminal messages.
In The Mouth of Madness: This film centers on a couple who find themselves in a deserted town after a boat of theirs crashes. The man, John Trent, an investigative journalist, also discovers a well-known horror author has also gone missing from the location. In attempt to find the missing author, John also stumbles upon more evil than he could have ever imagined.

John Carpenter is still considered one of Hollywood’s most talented directors, despite only making one film in the last 13 years (The Ward), it has hardly diminished his continued impact and influence across the film world. A resurgence of his work might in fact be just what the horror and sci-fi world is in need of. Luckily for horror and sci-fi lovers, Carpenter no doubt greatly affected the many filmmakers who viewed his films in their youth, and so will continue being a much homaged director for years to come.

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