Inspired by the Tarantino Poll.
John Carpenter was insanly prolific during the 80s and early 90s. Having grown up in the 80s, his films hold a special place in my heart. His later films had a sudden drop in quality and vision, yet still have that signature JC style. The fact that he also scored many of his films places him in the pantheon of great directors for me and I have always been disaponted that he never got his mojo back.
I'm not asking about his best film which is clearly The Thing. I'm curious as to your favorite. For some that might also be The Thing. For me it is Escape From New York. Something about the bleak post-apoc vibe, Snake, The Duke, Brain, Cabbie, Maggie, Hauk, all just hit me in the right spot.
I'm leaving out his made for TV movies and just sticking to theatrical releases.
So what's yours?
I'm a big Carpenter fan, like LOVE John Carpenter, I even see worth in both Ghosts of Mars and Escape from LA, but this is a hard question. The Thing is his best movie from one angle, buuuuut Big Trouble, The Fog, They Live... Escape from New York...fuck!
The Thing, NY... No, Big Trouble.
Fuck you question, I'm going with The Ward.
@wrecks: Did you ever see the two episodes of that Horror TV show he did, the one about Satan's Baby with Ron Perlman was rubbish, but Cigarette Burns was great, Carpenter at his goriest. It even had Daryl from The Walking Dead in it.
It's a real shame about The Ward though, just boring.
The Thing. However I am an unapologetic fan of Ghosts of Mars. Perfect movie to kick back, drink some beers, and watch.
That's what Vampires is for me. Love the soundtrack. It's not a particularly well made movie but I have a soft spot for it.
I love Escape from New York, I really love They Live and I really, REALLY love Big Trouble in Little China. But I FUCKING LOVE The Thing. The practical effects and make up are some of the most hideous, heinous shit I've ever seen and that cast. THAT CAST. I mean yeah, Kurt Russell, but also Keith Motherfucking David, Wilfred Brimley, TK Carter, POTUS from Clear and Present Danger (Whenever I see that dude's face I just hear Harrison Ford saying "No, how dare YOU sir!") and the fucking dude from The Warriors that gets thrown in front of a subway car like 20 minutes in as Windows.
Vampires was kind of shit but James Woods made it kind of okay. Ghosts of Mars SUUUUUUUUUUCKED!
Too many to pick from here between Big Trouble in Little China, They Live, Halloween, In the Mouth of Madness, the Thing & Prince of Darkness. These all win to me as he's been a great filmmaker & even funnier while on some of the commentaries I've listened to like the one on Christine, movie itself wasn't great but the dvd commentary with him made it 100% better.
@Subjugation: You are most welcome :)
Kinda going how I thought it would and The Thing does deserve the love. Really, JC is the quintessential 80s director. All the films perfectly fit the time. You could make arguements for Spielberg and John Hughes, but you would be wrong.
I've been trying to arange my favs. Hard to do, so many great flicks. Here's my Top 5:
1. Escape From New York
2. The Thing
3. Big Trouble in Little China
4. Prince of Darkness
5. They Live
The Thing stands as his best, and my favorite, followed closely by They Live. Last year, around Halloween I think, I embarked on a quest to see all of his movies that I hadn't seen before. I was kind of surprised by some of my reactions. I really expected to like Ghosts of Mars and Starman but walked away feeling a bit meh. I was downright shocked that I enjoyed Memoirs of an Invisible Man so much and did a 180 on my opinion of In the Mouth of Madness. Looking at the list I now realize that there are a shitload of his movies that I love.
I can't claim to have seen all (or even half) of these movies. I picked Escape from NY because it is probably the one I am most likely to be like "oh I have to watch that" if it's on tv, and I have fond memoriesof watching it with my dad when I was younger.
Most of these films I've watched with my girlfriend, which gives me a certain amount of perspective on some of these, I think, because she really isn't a fan. I love the Thing for its FX and it's tension but I have to admit from long conversations with her that it's pacing is kind of off and there's too many characters who aren't really developed. Still love it though.
I think if I was being really honest with myself I would say that his most successful (in a non-commercial sense) film is Halloween. All that John Carpenter stuff just really comes together in that movie.
As an aside, I absolutely love John Carpenter's soundtracks. People talk a lot about the influence Vangelis had on electronic music with his Blade Runner soundtrack, but when I listen to Kuedo or something I hear just as much john carpenter in there as vangelis. I have to admit though, if you took away his kickass soundtracks, the Escape movies at the very least wouldn't hold up half as well.