Fright Exclusive Interview With Master of Horror JOHN CARPENTER!!
The name John Carpenter is synonymous with the horror genre just about as much as breathing is with life. The filmmaker helmed such classics as HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, THE THING, PRINCE OF DARKNESS and many more great films, held close to horror fans’ hearts. The distinct style of his films, his usage of what’s called “the Carpenter font”, and his instantly recognizable musical scores have put him up front as one of the great “Masters of Horror”, a label that isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
I was recently lucky enough to be a part of a 30-minute conference call (along with other journalists from fellow horror sites, such as Fangoria and Arrow in the Head) with Carpenter, regarding his upcoming appearance on the Robert Rodriguez-created (and hosted) interview show, DIRECTOR’S CHAIR. Each journalist was able to ask Carpenter a few questions, and John spent the time talking about everything from his career, to well..basketball and video games. Read on!
*Note: the below questions are the ones that were asked by myself, for additional questions, feel free to visit Fangoria, Arrow in the Head and others, for their additional questions .
Carpenter: How ya doin?
Jerry: I’m doing great. John, One of the many things that has always stood out to me about you, is how you’ve never been afraid of ending your films in sometimes the bleakest of ways. Were you ever challenged by the studios to instead put happier endings in them?
Sure! With THE THING, they kept begging me to..(sighs)..they wanted a happy ending, ya know? Sid Sheinberg was the president, one of the big suits then, and he said “Think of how the audience will react, if we see The Thing die, with a giant orchestra playing! I said “It’s the end of the world, there’s no way out!”. So what I did, is tell them “If it’ll make you feel better, preview the movie, and cut the last scene out, the part where The Thing blows up. Don’t have the scene with the two men.”, and it didn’t test any different. So I said “No, we’re going to keep the ending we have.” My mistake, huh!
No, it’s great! So your USC film, CAPTAIN VOYEUR was recently discovered. How do you feel about that, and will fans of yours ever get to see that?
I hope that no one gets to see it. That was made when I was a child, I don’t want people to watch that stuff (laughs). Ya know, I don’t know why they’re doing that, I wish that they wouldn’t. I wish it would all just go away. It’s nice of you to bring it up though, I don’t mean to sound mean.
No, it’s cool, that’s not mean. A lot of your films have had somewhat of a social or political commentary to them, with definite underlying themes. Do you think that today’s films have kind of lost their balls to do that kind of filmmaking?
There are some movies today that definitely have a lot of thematic material. Some are social commentaries,..some, but it’s now very rare.
Most entertainment has become very corporate, so that’s not something that’s allowed. Occasionally, something’s in there though. There’s no messages in today’s movies, it’s all about “themes”, but yeah, I occasionally see something come up, sure.
With everyone and their mom trying to remake YOUR films in the last decade, are there any films by filmmakers that you grew up loving that YOU would want to tackle, if a studio offered it to you?
Oh boy, that’s a great question. I’ve never been asked that question (laughs)! Would I like to remake anything else?,..not really. I don’t think so, I think I’ll leave that alone now.
I recently picked up a print from your tribute gallery at Hyaena Gallery…
Oh yeah! Which one did you get?
I got the collage print, it’s great.
I was wondering how you felt about that, the art show tribute.
That’s a neat thing, isn’t it?
Yeah, it’s awesome.
It was just delightful. I went out there on the opening night, hung out, chatted with the fans, and met the artists. It was really neat, just so nice. There was a cosplayer there, dressed as a THEY LIVE stripper (laughs)…that’s unbelievable.
You can catch the El Rey Network‘s “CARPEN-TERROR” mini-film marathon and John’s episode of DIRECTOR’S CHAIR on May 10th at the following times:
SPECIAL MARATHON Theme: Carpen-TERROR – Saturday, May 10 at 1pm ET
- 1:00 PM ET: The Director’s Chair: John Carpenter
- 2:00 PM ET: The Fog (1980)
- 4:00 PM ET: Assault on Precinct 13 (1975)
- 6:00 PM ET: Escape from New York
- 8:00 PM ET: The Director’s Chair: John Carpenter
- 9:00 PM ET: The Fog (1980)
- 11:00 PM ET: Assault on Precinct 13 (1975)
- 1:00 AM ET: Escape from New York
- 3:00 AM ET: The Director’s Chair: John Carpenter