Tripping Through Gateways

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Carpenter’s final film to this point is the Ward.  It was his first feature length film since 2001’s Ghosts of Mars.  Carpenter said he had fallen out of love with film-making.  And so, the Ward was to be his return to his love.  And I wish I could say it is a triumphant return. The Ward is the story of a young woman, Kristen, in the 60’s locked in a mental ward. … Read More

Carpenter’s second contribution to Masters of Horror is a bit more mixed.  For one thing, it makes They Live look subtle and nuanced in it’s politics.  Pro-Life is, unsurprisingly, a horror movie centered around abortion. Angelique is a young pregnant woman seeking an abortion.  She comes from a religious family that protests abortion clinics and uses violent methods.  She arrives at a clinic, but soon her father and brothers show up to… Read More

In 2005 Mick Garris created the Masters of Horror for Showtime.  The idea was that well known horror directors would make short horror film (an hour long).  There were two seasons and Carpenter contribute a film to each season. Norman Reedus (better known as Daryl on the Walking Dead) is Kirby Sweetman, a rare films dealer.  He is hired to locate La Fin Absolue du Monde (French: The Absolute End of the… Read More

In the future, the terraforming of Mars has begun  There are colonies all over Mars.  The world is now a Matriarchy.  A police force is sent to Mars to transfer prisoner Desolation Williams.  They arrive to find the town empty except for some folks in lock up, including Desolation.  He and the others have no real answer for what is happening. They soon discover that there may be more to it than… Read More

Carpenter followed up Escape From L.A. with a foray into traditional monsters with Vampires.  James Woods plays the Vatican’s lead Slayer Jack Crow.  Crow leads an elite team of vampire hunters.  They are a rough bunch who believe God exists…but they think He is a bastard.  Crow believes in his work, but is tired of the Church.  After a productive day of vampire hunting, the group celebrates with hard drinking and prostitutes. … Read More

John Carpenter’s first sequel.  Escape From L.A. brings back Snake Plissken.  The setup here is that in the late 20th century, a Presidential predicts a major earthquake will hit California and Las Vegas because of their sinful ways.  Unlike Pat Robertson, his prediction comes true.  American makes the now island of Los Angeles a one way prison.  The president was elected to a lifetime appointment.  They instituted a theocracy.  If you were… Read More

Carpenter returned to the big screen for his next endeavor.  A mind-bending Lovecraft inspired horror film.  Starring Sam Neill, In the Mouth of Madness is about insurance investigator John Trent who is looking into the disappearance of famed horror writer Sutter Cane. Cane is like Stephen King in popularity, as well as his books being centered around a certain geographical location. Sent on his quest by Charlton Heston’s Jackson Harglow (the publisher),… Read More

Village of the Damned is Carpenter’s second remake.  This one is not quite as inventive as the Thing.  Here, Carpenter sticks much closer to the source material.  The film begins in an idyllic small California town where there is a community barbecue.  In the midst of the festivities, the entire town falls unconscious.   The government enters the scene very quickly to assess the situation.  They find there is a line that… Read More

An attempt by Showtime to create a Horror Anthology to compete with HBO’s Tales From the Crypt, Body Bags both starred and featured direction from John Carpenter.  Showtime killed the series but released the three shorts set against bookend segments hosted by Carpenter as a creepy coroner.  His assistant was Tobe Hooper, director of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Both directed a segment as well. Just like the Crypt Keeper, the Coroner makes… Read More

I think if there is a forgotten John Carpenter film…this is it.  Did you know that John Carpenter directed a movie with Chevy Chase and Daryl Hannah?  Did you?? He almost didn’t, the film was being developed by Chase and he wanted Ivan Reitman…but he and Reitman were unable to agree on how things should go and Reitman left.  One of those rare “cannot get along with Chevy Chase” stories.  In fairness,… Read More

I have only one thing to say.  Fifteen minute fight between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David.   ‘Nuff said.       Oh, you expect me so say a bit more?  Fine. Beloved Wrestler Roddy Piper is Nada, a wandering Construction worker looking for work.  When he discovers a group of resistance fighters hiding among the city’s homeless, he finds himself stuck in a battle against humanity and aliens bent on human… Read More

John was pretty prolific in the 80’s and most of them are quite memorable.  Prince of Darkness is a religious themed horror film that is played straight.  Carpenter brings back Victor Wong and Dennis Dun from Big Trouble in Little China.  He also brings Donald Pleasence back. Prince of Darkness begins with a dying priest passing a secret on to Pleasence’s character (simply called “Priest”).  The secret could rock the church.  With… Read More