Always something of a cult figure, film director John Carpenter's impact is frequently underestimated. One of the pivotal figures in transforming the horror genre from its Gothic high camp of the early 1970's to the visceral roller-coaster of today, he engineered a major turning point in 1978 with Halloween, in which the maniac serial killer Michael Myers set about his teenage prey with psychotic abandon, the premise a neat bridge between the voyeuristic debauchery of video nasties such as I Spit On Your Grave and the Little Green Men creature features of his youth.
Operating on low budgets off the Hollywood grid necessitated resourceful approaches to the director's modus operandi, with one of the most notable cost-cutting adaptations being self-composed and produced scores and incidental pieces. Born into a musical family - his father was a violinist and lecturer - the Halloween soundtrack was composed on a Moog modular synthesiser, a collage of jarring and dissonant sounds which perfectly complemented it's anti-hero's silent menace.
His occasionally schlocky celluloid output has received a mixed public and critical reception since, but Carpenter's idiosyncratic approach to sound as a weapon - think Giorgio Moroder as an axe murderer - has continued to be a highly influential feature of his work. After Boards of Canada cited the minimalist analogue textures of the VHS creepies this inspired to have broadly informed much of 2013's Tomorrow Harvest, the following year the New Yorker released his début collection Lost Themes - a work completed in collaboration with his son Cody - to the sort of acclaim some of his cinematic flops were never afforded.
Continue reading: John Carpenter - Lost Themes II Album Review
Five TV series and a helluva lot of movies are heading for the trash pile in the new year, as Netflix decides against renewing a number of contracts
No longer will you be able to see such instant classics as Foxy Brown, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Stop! Or My Mum Will Shoot or Troll II on Netflix by 4 January at the latest, as the popular streaming service looks to let some of it's rooster dry up as a number of licensing contracts run out.
Hey Netflix! Maybe if you changed your interface then we wouldn't have to wait until now to watch Troll II
On a serious note, there are actually some notable casualties in the content shake up, with some genuinely great films heading for the scrap heap. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich and Desperado are three cult classics that must still generate a great deal of interest in the site. Meanwhile Oscar-winners like As Good As It Gets, Born on the Fourth of July and the original True Grit will probably see a renewed interest on torrent sites and unlicensed streaming sites. As for television, a number of seasons of Saturday Night Live and all of Mr Bean will also be heading for the scrap heap.
Continue reading: Netflix To Erase A Huge Chunk Of It's Library In The New Year
Kristen is a young and beautiful girl who's just been institutionalised in a hospital for the mentally unstable. It's 1960 and she has no idea of why she's become a patient, her memory of life before whatever drove her to be seen as unbalanced totally escapes her and the doctors don't appear to be shedding much light on her situation either.
Continue: The Ward Trailer
A 19-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis makes her film debut as Laurie Strode, a bookish, anti-social highschooler unaware that while she babysits on Halloween night, a psychotic maniac lurks in the neighborhood. The strong, silent type, this hulking being quietly walks the town in which he killed his sister 15 years earlier, back for more after a hospital escape. Meanwhile, his horrified doctor (the ominous Donald Pleasance) waits, as single-mindedly obsessed as the killer he's chasing.
Continue reading: Halloween (1978) Review
This Starz-produced documentary (which oddly has no director credited) gives a dutiful breakdown of the slasher flick's birth, death, rebirth, redeath, and so on until we reach the present day. As you might expect, progenitors Halloween and Friday the 13th get the bulk of screen time, with a goodly amount of footage devoted to interviews with the cast and crew (no Jamie Lee, alas). Every angle is covered, from special effects to script, but the film mostly focuses on the cultural impact of the slasher movie: Kids loved 'em, critics vilified them, and parents weren't happy at all when Santa Claus started killing people.
Continue reading: Going To Pieces: The Rise And Fall Of The Slasher Film Review
That's exciting enough, but Carpenter also calculates in a ticking time bomb narrative device. Air Force One is hijacked by some socialist radicals who crash-land the plane into the heart of "this inhuman dungeon of [an] imperialist prison." The President (Donald Pleasence) manages to escape in a safety pod, only to be captured by none other than the leader of a ferocious band of gypsies who control the island, the self-proclaimed Duke of New York (Isaac Hayes).
Continue reading: Escape From New York Review
From sharks to ants to piranha, what animal hasn't been put on the "man-eater" list? In Silent Predators, it's the humble snake -- which you'll know right off because there's a big picture of a snake on the cover of the video! Yikes! As the box says, "The hunt is on. You're the prey." Probably won't get any sleep after this one!
Continue reading: Silent Predators Review
Date of birth
16th January, 1948
Thank you Chicago! https://t.co/i5ahNjaB0D
Soundcheck in the Detroit Masonic Temple photo by Ross Sauriol https://t.co/ufYURchBIc
Hey Pittsburgh! You rock! And thanks to a couple of friends who came to visit me on the road...Nicotero and... https://t.co/biAamrVZ17
Two friends in Pittsburgh making the road feel like home today. Thanks @slash and gnicotero for… https://t.co/rC9wmqGYIW
Hey you in Pittsburgh! There are still some seats for tonight's performance. Tickets available… https://t.co/RRL04ZY4IX
Philly! WOW! Thanks for a great time! #johncarpenterretrospective #johncarpenter #keswick https://t.co/w0t5r5i6bn
New York you were awesome! #playstationtheatre #johncarpenter #johncarpenterretrospective https://t.co/GUKAgN5uqP
Tomorrow night: Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Music Hall. Tickets still available. Come on down and see us!... https://t.co/mMdrm16caq
Philly! What a night! photo by Keith Hammer https://t.co/heek57T8td
Thank you NYC! You were awesome!
Thank you Philly! https://t.co/SggA9mf30K
Look what's up on Barnes and Noble for pre-orders! https://t.co/zUB4gsFdQO
Tonight in NYC! https://t.co/cXbeJitUM2
The new releases of "Halloween" and "Assault" are on the British singles charts! Fantastic!... https://t.co/fAiplr7Q0s
Well, look at this! Halloween and Assault on the British singles charts! https://t.co/uHY2VRvwQk
John Carpenter LIVE: Retrospective -- East Coast Tour Dates! https://t.co/cGahSx7Yat