18 Shots From 18 John Carpenter Films


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today, Through the Shattered Lens wishes a happy 72nd birthday to one of the patron saints of the movies, John Carpenter!  Though often criminally underrated, John Carpenter is one of the most important filmmakers in modern film.

Every sci-fi spoof that you’ve seen owes a debt to Dark Star.  For that matter, so do quite a few serious sci-fi films, like Alien.

Every horror film owes a debt to Carpenter’s direction of Halloween.

How many apocalyptic, dystopian films have been influenced by Escape From New York?  While today it’s somewhat of a cliché for people to say that they have to escape from New York, John Carpenter imagined it long before Bill De Blasio made it into a reality.

Prince of Darkness and In The Mouth of Madness are two of the only films to capture the feelings of existential dread and the ominous atmosphere of H.P. Lovecraft’s most effective stories.

They Live may have been critically dismissed when it was released but today, many see it as being a work of prophecy.

“I wanted a vanilla twist.”  With Assault on Precinct 13, John Carpenter taught viewers that sometimes, it’s better to just take whatever ice cream you can get.

Meanwhile, films like The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, The Fog, and others continue to find new fans every day.

Christopher Nolan may have Hans Zimmer but John Carpenter needs only himself to create a memorable musical score!

Even a film like Carpenter’s remake of Village of the Damned has a few undeniably effective moments!

Our point is that John Carpenter is one of the best around and, today, on his birthday, we’re going to honor him.  It’s not just 4 shots from 4 films for John Carpenter!  Instead, it’s time for….

18 Shots From 18 John Carpenter Films

Dark Star (1974, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Douglas Knapp)

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976, dir by John Carpenter. DP: Douglas Knapp)

Halloween (1978, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Dean Cundey)

The Fog (1980, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Dean Cundey)

Escape From New York (1981, directed by John Carpenter, DP: Dean Cundey)

The Thing (1982, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Dean Cundey)

Christine (1983, dir. John Carpenter, DP: Donald M. Morgan)

Starman (1984, dir by John Carpenter. DP: Donald M. Morgan)

Big Trouble in Little China (1986, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Dean Cundey)

Prince of Darkness (1987, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Gary B. Kibbe)

They Live (1988, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Gary B. Kibbe)

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992, dir by John Carpenter, DP: William A. Fraker)

In The Mouth of Madness (1994, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Gary B. Kibbe)

Village of the Damned (1995, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Gary B. Kibbe)

Escape From L.A. (1996, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Gary B. Kibbe)

Vampires (1998, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Gary B. Kibbe)

Ghosts of Mars (2001, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Gary B. Kibbe)

The Ward (2010, dir by John Carpetner, DP: Yaron Orbach)

4 Shots For 4 John Carpenter Films: Halloween, The Fog, Christine, They Live


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

This October, we’ve been using 4 Shots from 4 Films to pay tribute to some of our favorite horror filmmakers!  Today, we honor the one and only John Carpenter!

4 Shots From 4 John Carpenter Films

Halloween (1977, dir by John Carpenter)

The Fog (1980, dir by John Carpenter)

Christine (1983, dir by John Carpenter)

They Live (1988, dir by John Carpenter)

 

4 Shots From 4 John Carpenter Films: The Fog, The Thing, In The Mouth of Madness, The Ward


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today, we pay homage to one of the most important horror directors of all time with….

4 Shots From 4 John Carpenter Films

The Fog (1980, dir by John Carpenter)

The Thing (1982, dir by John Carpenter)

In The Mouth of Madness (1994, dir by John Carpenter)

The Ward (2010, dir by John Carpenter)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special John Carpenter Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director is the man who put Halloween on the map and a personal favorite of TSL editor-in-cheif Arleigh Sandoc’s, John Carpenter!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Halloween (1977, dir by John Carpenter)

The Fog (1980, dir by John Carpenter)

The Thing (1982, dir by John Carpenter)

Christine (1983, dir by John Carpenter)

Horror Song of the Day: Theme from The Fog (by John Carpenter)


the-fog1

It’s that time of year again for the gang here at Through the Shattered Lens. October has become a sort of official month for the site with much of the posts and articles being related in some manner to all things horror (or close enough to it).

To start off 2014’s Horror Month here at Through the Shattered Lens I’ve chosen a wonderful and creepy piece of horror film music courtesy of the Master himself, John Carpenter.

It’s a great piece of atmospheric music that more than adds to the encroaching horror that is the film’s title. John Carpenter has done most of the soundtracks to his films and his use of electronic keyboards and synthesizers have become such a unique signature in all his films. The last couple years have seen a sort of revival for Carpenter’s type of electronic/synthesizer compositions. One recent film which made great use of this particular style was Jim Mickle’s Cold In July.

The theme to The Fog remains a favorite of horror fans and its influence on filmmakers today is a nice testament to well-earned classic status.

Quick Horror Review: John Carpenter’s The Fog


I have something of a tradition with John Carpenter’s The Fog. Every year, I try to watch the film on the date and time where the story starts – April 20th, at around 11:55pm. It’s not the scariest of stories, but it does have a spooky atmosphere that lends itself well to Halloween – or any late quiet night. I love this movie.

The Fog marked the first film that John Carpenter worked on after Halloween, collaborating with the late Debra Hill, who also produced the movie. She’d go on to also produce both Escape From New York and Escape from L.A for Carpenter. While it didn’t really have the impact of Halloween, it held up until Escape from New York came out the following year.

Here’s the story:

In the town of Antonio Bay, an old captain (John Houseman) explains to some children about the ill-fated Elizabeth Dane (what a beautiful name, I might add), a ship that belonged a rich of crew of lepers led by someone named Blake. The heads of the town conspired to steal the gold by setting up the ship to crash against the docks. It works out for the Conspirators, as they are “aided by a unearthy fog” that blinds the Leper ship’s navigators. and the gold they collect helps to form the great town the kids play in to this day.

What they don’t realize is that vengeance is coming in the form of that very same fog, as the ghost of the Lepers have come to claim the lives of the six conspirators…or their direct descendants.

As a kid, I had a problem with that. You mean because my great great grandparents messed up somewhere ages ago, I have to get killed for it? I remember thinking that it really wasn’t fair, but I’m kind of diverging from the topic here. The story gives you four points of view. You have Nick (Tom Atkins, sans his signature mustache) and a hitchhiker he picks up played by then scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. You have Curtis mother, Janet Leigh, who’s character is working on the anniversary party for the town and her assistant, Sandy, played by Nancy Loomis (who appeared in the first three Halloween films). The third comes from Adrienne Barbeau’s character, Stevie Wayne, who works for the local radio station. Her character acts as the warning voice for the town and she starts to notice that something’s going on when her son gives her a piece of Driftwood that later echoes Blake’s warning. The final viewpoint comes from Father Malone (Hal Holbrook), who discovers Blake’s diary and learns the truth about what happened 100 years ago. His character helps to piece the mystery together, somewhat.

Carpenter and Hill gathered many of their friends, who went on to work on other films for this. Tommy Lee Wallace went on to direct Halloween III: Season of the Witch (and coincidentally did the voice of the Silver Shamrock ad-man in the commercial) and Vampires: Los Muertos. Wallace’s name was given to Carpenter fan favorite Buck Flower. Nick Castle’s name was given to Tom Atkins character. Makeup Wizard Rob Bottin (who also played Blake in the film) went on to do some of the effects in The Thing.

The makeup effects in this film were okay. The lighting and fog did more to obscure than to actually help one see what was doing the attacking, but it really worked for some of the shadowing in the film. If the movie has any drawbacks, it’s that there’s a really low body count to the film. In essence, there are only 6 people the ghosts are after, so these are only the ones they actually get. It would have been interesting if there were a few random deaths, or more individuals in danger, but I supposed it worked out well for the time period.

The Fog is a nice film to catch late at night. You won’t find it at the upper rankings of top horror films, but it’s one to try, at least. Don’t even bother with the Remake for this one. It’s not even work talking about.

Lisa Marie Is Confused By The Demons of Ludlow (dir. by Bill Rebane)


Last night, after I finished with The Alpha Incident, I decided to watch yet another Bill Rebane film from the Mill Creek 50 Chilling Classics box set, 1983’s The Demons of Ludlow.

The Demons of Ludlow

Ludlow is a tiny New England town that is celebrating its 200th birthday.  Now, when I say tiny, I mean that there appears to be about 17 people living in the town.  Anyway, a mysterious piano is sent to the town as a birthday present and, uh-oh — guess what’s possessed with the angry spirit of a warlock who happened to be murdered by the citizens of Ludlow 200 years ago?  Anyway, this warlock has a whole lot of other angry ghosts with him and soon, they’re exacting revenge on the citizens of Ludlow. 

Okay, I think I can hear Arleigh going, “Uhmmm…Lisa Marie, remember a little film called The Fog!?” and yes, I guess the plot is a bit similar to John Carpenter’s film.  It’s also reminiscent of another 1983 horror film called The Devonsville Terror.  While The Devonsville Terror was directed by the infamous Ulli Lommel, Bill Rebane is listed as being one of the “associate producers.”  I’m sure there’s probably a story there.

But anyway, back to The Demons of Ludlow.  This is very much a horror film of the 80s, which means that it has a real nasty streak.  As opposed to The Alpha Incident, where Rebane actually did appear to have a higher purpose in mind, the Demons of Ludlow is pretty much all about killing people.  Yet, this lack of higher purpose actually makes Demons of Ludlow a far more entertaining film to watch.  It helps that none of the 17 citizens of Ludlow are actually likable enough for you to get too upset once they die. 

A shocking scene of demonic vengeance...or something.

The demons of Ludlow themselves are far more interesting, if just because they challenge logic by their very existence.  As the reviewer known as Scarina pointed out in her own excellent review, the film’s own internal logic states that the ghosts that are helping out the warlock in the piano are the exact same ghosts who ran him out of Ludlow in the first place.  So, therefore, why are they helping him? Now, if pressed, I can accept that perhaps he used his warlock powers to take control of their ghosts.  I mean, he’s had to kill 200 years doing something, right?

But what’s odd is that we’re told that Ludlow is 200 years old.  Seeing as the film came out in 1983, let’s give the movie the benefit of the doubt and say that Ludlow was founded in 1782.  Okay, that would mean that Ludlow was established during the final year of the American Revolution.  Therefore, why are half the ghosts of Ludlow dressed like pilgrims from a community theater Thanksgiving pageant?   I say half because the other half are dressed like decadent nobles from pre-Revolutionary France.  Seriously, they’ve got the powdered wigs and the fake moles and everything!  And then, to top it off, five pirate ghosts show up at the end of the movie.  I mean, my God, I would have loved to have been back in Ludlow in 1782.  Apparently, it was like the New Orleans of colonial New England.

Pilgrims of LudlowPirates of Ludlow

Marquis De Sade of Ludlow

 Still, I have to admit I enjoyed the Demons of Ludlow.  It doesn’t drag as much as The Alpha Incident and this is a film that definitely has more than enough “What the Fuck” appeal to be watchable.  There’s even one sequence — in which one unfortunate citizen ends up getting shot by a musket-holding Pilgrim who suddenly shows up in a mirror — that is actually rather effective.  This is one of those films that people like me tend to defend by citing its “dream-like” qualities.  That may be going a bit too far in this film’s case but it’s still a definite success d’estime.