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John Carpenter

Born: 1948

Biography

An American film director, screenwriter, producer, editor, composer, and occasional actor. Although Carpenter has worked in numerous film genres in his four-decade career, his name is most commonly associated with horror and science fiction. Most films in Carpenter's career were initially commercial and critical failures, with the notable exceptions of Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981), and Starman (1984). However, many of Carpenter's films from the 1970s and the 1980s have come to be viewed as cult classics, and he has been acknowledged as an influential filmmaker. Cult classics that Carpenter directed include: Dark Star (1974), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), The Thing (1982), Christine (1983), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988) and In the Mouth of Madness (1995). His films are characterized by minimalist lighting and photography, static cameras, use of steadicam, and distinctive synthesized scores. Carpenter is also notable for having composed or co-composed most of the music of his films; some of them are now considered cult as well, with the main theme of Halloween being considered a part of popular culture. His music is generally synthesized with accompaniment from piano and atmospherics. He released his first studio album Lost Themes in 2015, and also won a Saturn Award for Best Music for Vampires (1998). Carpenter is an outspoken proponent of widescreen filming, and all of his theatrical movies (with the exception of Dark Star and The Ward) were filmed anamorphic with a 2.35:1 or greater aspect ratio. The Ward was shot in Super 35, the first time Carpenter has ever used that system. Carpenter has stated he feels that the 35mm Panavision anamorphic format is "the best movie system there is", preferring it over both digital and 3D film. Many of Carpenter's films have been re-released on DVD as special editions with numerous bonus features. Carpenter has been the subject of the documentary film John Carpenter: The Man and His Movies, and American Cinematheque's 2002 retrospective of his films. Moreover, in 2006, the United States Library of Congress deemed Halloween to be "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 2010, writer and actor Mark Gatiss interviewed Carpenter about his career and films for his BBC documentary series A History of Horror. Carpenter appears in all three episodes of the series. He was also interviewed by Robert Rodriguez for his The Director's Chair series on El Rey Network. Many filmmakers have been influenced by Carpenter, including James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight was heavily influenced by The Thing), Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodriguez, Edgar Wright, Danny Boyle, Nicolas Winding Refn, Bong Joon-ho, among others. The video game Dead Space 3 is said to be influenced by Carpenter's The Thing, The Fog and Halloween, and Carpenter has stated that he would be enthusiastic to adapt that series into a feature film.
Known For Directing
Gender Male
Place of Birth Carthage, New York, USA

Resources

Actor Movies

Body Bags

Coroner in Body Bags

Tales from the Script

Self in Tales from the Script

The Thing: Terror Takes Shape

Self in The Thing: Terror Takes Shape

Big John

Self in Big John

Horror Cafe

Self in Horror Cafe

John Carpenter: Live Retrospective

Self in John Carpenter: Live Retrospective

Hollywood's Greatest Villains

Self in Hollywood's Greatest Villains

John Carpenter: Live At Primavera Sound 2016

Self - Keyboards in John Carpenter: Live At Primavera Sound 2016

Fear on Film: Inside 'The Fog'

Self in Fear on Film: Inside 'The Fog'

1982: Hollywood Summer

Self in 1982: Hollywood Summer

The Rise of the Synths

Narrator (voice) in The Rise of the Synths

AGFA Mystery Mixtape #4: Follow Your Own Star

Self in AGFA Mystery Mixtape #4: Follow Your Own Star

Snake Plissken: Man of Honor

Self in Snake Plissken: Man of Honor

Carpenter on Quatermass

Self in Carpenter on Quatermass

Charlie Brown: Blockhead's Revenge

Self/Host in Charlie Brown: Blockhead's Revenge

It Takes a Village: The Making of Village of the Damned

Self in It Takes a Village: The Making of Village of the Damned

Red Desert Nights: Making Ghosts of Mars

Self in Red Desert Nights: Making Ghosts of Mars

The Making of 'They Live'

Self in The Making of 'They Live'

Christine: Fast and Furious

Self in Christine: Fast and Furious

The Sound of Fear

Self in The Sound of Fear

The BIrds: Hitchcock's Monster Movie

Self in The BIrds: Hitchcock's Monster Movie

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown

Self in Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown

John Carpenter: The Man and His Movies

Self in John Carpenter: The Man and His Movies

Let There Be Light: The Odyssey of Dark Star

Himself (voice) in Let There Be Light: The Odyssey of Dark Star

Do You Remember Laurie Zimmer?

Self (voice) in Do You Remember Laurie Zimmer?

Halloween: Unmasked

Self in Halloween: Unmasked

Monsterland

Self in Monsterland

Stephen King's World of Horror

Self in Stephen King's World of Horror

The American Nightmare

Self in The American Nightmare

Take One: Fear on Film

Self in Take One: Fear on Film

Henchman: The Al Leong Story

Self in Henchman: The Al Leong Story

Halloween: 25 Years of Terror

Self in Halloween: 25 Years of Terror

The Wages of Sin

Self - Filmmaker in The Wages of Sin

The Making of 'The Thing'

Self in The Making of 'The Thing'

Monstres, l'ennemi de l'intérieur

Self in Monstres, l'ennemi de l'intérieur

Scoring Resident Evil

Self (archive footage) in Scoring Resident Evil

Christine: Ignition

Self in Christine: Ignition

Christine: Finish Line

Self in Christine: Finish Line

Journey of the Mask

Self in Journey of the Mask

Hollywood Trailblazer: The Debra Hill Story

in Hollywood Trailblazer: The Debra Hill Story

The Reality Trip

self in The Reality Trip

Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film

Self in Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film

An Opera of Violence

Self - Filmmaker in An Opera of Violence

Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror

Self in Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror

The Puppet Man

The Taxi Driver in The Puppet Man

Mario Bava: Maestro of the Macabre

Self in Mario Bava: Maestro of the Macabre

Masters of Horror

Self in Masters of Horror

Tales from the Mist: Inside 'The Fog'

Self in Tales from the Mist: Inside 'The Fog'

Something to Do with Death

Self - Filmmaker in Something to Do with Death

Scream and Scream Again: A History of the Slasher Film

Self in Scream and Scream Again: A History of the Slasher Film

Commemoration: Howard Hawks' 'Rio Bravo'

Self in Commemoration: Howard Hawks' 'Rio Bravo'

Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest

Self in Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest

Back in Haddonfield: Making Halloween

Self in Back in Haddonfield: Making Halloween

The Original Scream Queen

Self in The Original Scream Queen

The Legacy of Halloween

Self in The Legacy of Halloween

The Perfect Scary Movie

Self in The Perfect Scary Movie

Nightmares in Red, White and Blue

Self in Nightmares in Red, White and Blue

Fantastic Flesh: The Art of Make-Up EFX

Self in Fantastic Flesh: The Art of Make-Up EFX

Nightmare Factory

Self in Nightmare Factory

Hidden Values: The Movies of the Fifties

Self in Hidden Values: The Movies of the Fifties

Guns for Hire: The Making of 'The Magnificent Seven'

Self in Guns for Hire: The Making of 'The Magnificent Seven'

Halloween in Hollywood

Self in Halloween in Hollywood

Fasten Your Seatbelt: The Thrilling Art of Alfred Hitchcock

Self in Fasten Your Seatbelt: The Thrilling Art of Alfred Hitchcock

Why Horror?

Self in Why Horror?

After Sunset: The Life & Times of the Drive-In Theater

Self in After Sunset: The Life & Times of the Drive-In Theater

Hollywood's Creepiest Creatures

Self in Hollywood's Creepiest Creatures

The Master's Touch: Hitchcock's Signature Style

Self in The Master's Touch: Hitchcock's Signature Style

In Search of Darkness

Self in In Search of Darkness

Born to Controversy: The Roddy Piper Story

Self in Born to Controversy: The Roddy Piper Story

In Search of Darkness: Part III

Self in In Search of Darkness: Part III

Bernard Herrmann: Hitchcock's Maestro

Self in Bernard Herrmann: Hitchcock's Maestro

In the Master's Shadow: Hitchcock's Legacy

Self in In the Master's Shadow: Hitchcock's Legacy

In Search of Tomorrow

Self - Interviewee in In Search of Tomorrow

Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet

Self in Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet

The History of Metal and Horror

Self in The History of Metal and Horror

Fear in the Dark

Self in Fear in the Dark

Dark Glamour: The Blood and Guts of Hammer Productions

Self - Filmmaker in Dark Glamour: The Blood and Guts of Hammer Productions

In Search of Darkness: Part II

Self in In Search of Darkness: Part II

Working with a Master: John Carpenter

Self (archive footage) in Working with a Master: John Carpenter

Stephen King's World of Horror

Self in Stephen King's World of Horror

The Original Monster Mash

Self in The Original Monster Mash

Born to Controversy: The Roddy Piper Story

Self in Born to Controversy: The Roddy Piper Story

Jean-Michel Jarre: The Rise of Electronic Music

Self in Jean-Michel Jarre: The Rise of Electronic Music

Dark Star

Talby Voice in Dark Star

Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon

Self in Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon

First Works

Self in First Works

Bloodsucking Cinema

Self in Bloodsucking Cinema

Pure Cinema: Through the Eyes of Hitchcock

Self in Pure Cinema: Through the Eyes of Hitchcock

Halloween: The Inside Story

Self in Halloween: The Inside Story

Studio 666

Engineer in Studio 666

The Fog

Bennett in The Fog

The Silence of the Hams

Trenchcoat Man / Gimp in The Silence of the Hams

Escape from New York

Secret Service #2 / Helicopter Pilot / Violin Player in Escape from New York

The Thing

Norwegian (video footage) (uncredited) in The Thing

Village of the Damned

Man at Gas Station Phone in Village of the Damned

Memoirs of an Invisible Man

Helicopter Pilot in Memoirs of an Invisible Man

Halloween

Paul (voice) / Michael Myers (uncredited) in Halloween

The Boy Who Could Fly

The Coupe de Villes in The Boy Who Could Fly

Assault on Precinct 13

Gang Member (uncredited) in Assault on Precinct 13

Starman

Man in Helicopter (uncredited) in Starman

Big Trouble in Little China

Worker in Chinatown (uncredited) in Big Trouble in Little China

They Live

Voice That Says 'Sleep' in They Live

Actor TV Shows