Since today is the birthday of John Carpenter, can you guess what the theme of the latest edition of Lisa Mare’s Favorite Grindhouse Trailers is going to be?
- Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
Let’s get things started with the wonderfully grainy trailer for 1976’s Assault on Precinct 13! Though the film may have been intended as an homage to Howard Hawks’s Rio Bravo, everything about the trailer screams grindhouse.
2. Halloween (1978)
Assault on Precinct 13 may not have set the box office on fire but it did help build Carpenter’s critical reputation. One fan of the film was the actress Angela Pleasence, who suggested to her father, Donald, that he accept Carpenter’s offer to play the role of Dr. Loomis in Carpenter’s next film. And that film, of course, was Halloween!
3. Escape From New York (1981)
Donald Pleasence returned to play the President in Escape from New York and, of course, Kurt Russell appeared in his first Carpenter feature film. (Russell had previously played Elvis in a Carpenter-directed television film.) Though the film may not have been an immediate hit in the United States, it was embraced in Europe and it led to an entire series of Italian films about people trying to escape New York.
4. The Thing (1982)
Carpenter and Russell reunited for The Thing, another film that underappreciated when first released but which has since become a classic.
5. They Live (1988)
They Live is one of Carpenter’s best films and certainly his most subversive. What may have seemed paranoid in 1988 feels prophetic today.
6. In The Mouth of Madness (1995)
Finally, in 1995, Carpenter proved himself to be one of the few directors to be able to capture the feel of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu stories on film. In The Mouth of Madness, like other Carpenter films, has been rewatched and reappraised over the years and is now widely recognized as a classic.
Happy birthday to the great John Carpenter!