John Carpenter

Flavorwire Interview: Kim Gottlieb-Walker on Capturing John Carpenter’s Landmark Horror Classics

Her work has taken her from the Free Speech Movement in California and the underground press to the golden age of reggae (capturing Bob Marley) and a Jimi Hendrix interview in 1967 (her candid portraits of the singer are featured in the Hendrix “bible,” Classic Hendrix). But photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker’s encounters with celebrity weren’t limited to music. She became the set photographer for filmmaker John Carpenter, capturing stills of his iconic genre films — including Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, Halloween II, and Christine. Her behind-the-scenes images offer insight into one of cinema’s masters of horror — a maverick artist who has thrilled and chilled us since 1974. The Carpenter photographs are the subject of a newly released book from Titan Books, On Set with John Carpenter. We recently spoke with Gottlieb-Walker about the making of Halloween, being a woman in a male-dominated industry, and the greatest Carpenter film faces. … Read More

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Why ‘Halloween’ Is the Greatest Horror Franchise Ever (Even Though It Isn’t)

It’s hard to imagine the kind of rights clearances and materials logistics that must’ve gone into Shout Factory and Anchor Bay’s new box set Halloween: The Complete Collection; it assembles ten films (and their copious special features) that were made over 31 years by several different studios and independents. Yet all those legal hurdles were cleared so that Halloween fans could have every single iteration of the series in one compact box — although it’s almost a pyrrhic victory, since the most striking impression from viewing these films alongside each other is how wildly inconsistent the series is. Halloween is my favorite horror franchise, but there’s more than one movie in the series that’s awful enough to make me question that very devotion. But then again, aren’t all horror franchises like that? … Read More

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10 Great Movies That Appear In 10 Other Great Movies

There are all sorts of reasons to see Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (debuting this week on Blu-ray, via The Criterion Collection), but here’s the one that finally clinched it for me: when they go see it in Middle of Nowhere. By inserting the earlier film into a later one, Nowhere’s director, Ava DuVernay, isn’t just telling us something about the kind of people who inhabit her story; she’s also savvily commenting on the kind of story she’s telling. And she’s not the only filmmaker to employ this very clever trick. … Read More

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Why the Slasher Movie Was the Quintessential ’80s Horror Subgenre

Horror films channel the fears and fervor of modernity, acting as reflectors turned against their viewers. They’re the most epochal form of escapism of the last century. Take, for example, James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein, which uses monsters and madmen to depict the internal torment of repressed sexual orientation at a time when homophobia was the norm, or Psycho and Peeping Tom, which explore the identity suppression and psycho-sexual struggle of the McCarthy era (to which The Wicker Man would provide a gleefully perverse epilogue in 1973). John Carpenter’s Halloween presents suburban banality and parental tyranny — no pot, no premarital sex, be home by nine — personified as a living urban legend in Michael Meyers. David Cronenberg’s skin-tighteningly creepy Shivers, and later his remake of The Fly, capture the fear of disease and bodily disintegration. The fear of communism permeates Invasion of the Body Snatchers (both of them), while Carpenter, always happy to usurp the conservative norm, portrays the fear and paranoia of communism, rather than communism itself, sinisterly in The Thing. … Read More

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50 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Halloween’

Thirty-five years ago today, a low-budget horror thriller opened quietly in Kansas City, Missouri. It would end up changing the genre forever. The simple tale of an unstoppable killer stalking and killing young people on All Hollow’s Eve, Halloween earned a staggering return on its small investment and prompted a slew of sequels and “slasher movie” imitators. But the original film was one of skilled craftsmanship, genuine wit, and low-budget ingenuity; here are a few fun facts about its… Read More

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The 25 Most Suspenseful Movies Ever Made

It’s mid-October, and with Halloween around the corner, ‘tis the season for scary movies. (We’ve got a few suggestions, as you may have noticed.) But wait, you might be saying. (It’s possible.) I like to be scared at movies, but I don’t like all the blood and guts that seem unavoidable in modern horror. What about me? Well, it would seem that you don’t like gore of horror, but you like the tension and suspense. Never fear; we’ve collected the 25 most suspenseful movies of all time, guaranteed to creep you out without grossing you… Read More

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30 Criminally Underrated Movie Sequels

Next week brings the Blu-ray debut of Psycho IIand Psycho III, two 1980s horror films that had the gall, the downright temerity, to follow up Hitchcock’s groundbreaking horror classic. But here’s the thing about these movies: they’re not half bad. There’s no denying that the vast majority of sequels are both unnecessary and terrible, less continuations of stories or honest entertainments than filmed deals. But it’s also unfair to paint all follow-ups with that broad brush; there are a fair number of sequels that are far better than their reputations would have you… Read More

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