John Carpenter

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 ...

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The Thing (1982)

IntenseDarkScaryThrilling

Members of an American scientific research outpost in Antarctica find themselves battling a parasitic alien organism capable of perfectly imitating its victims. They soon discover that this task will be harder than they thought, as they don't know which members of ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Wilford Brimley  •  T. K. Carter  •  David Clennon

Members of an American scientific research outpost in Antarctica find themselves battling a parasitic alien organism capable of perfectly imitating its victims. They soon discover that this task will be harder than they thought, as they don't know which members of ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Wilford Brimley  •  T. K. Carter  •  David Clennon

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

FunnyCuteFantasticalGoofy

When trucker Jack Burton agreed to take his friend, Wang Chi, to pick up his fiancee at the airport, he never expected to get involved in a supernatural battle between good and evil. Wang's fiancee has emerald green eyes, which make her a perfect target for ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Kim Cattrall  •  James Hong  •  Dennis Dun

When trucker Jack Burton agreed to take his friend, Wang Chi, to pick up his fiancee at the airport, he never expected to get involved in a supernatural battle between good and evil. Wang's fiancee has emerald green eyes, which make her a perfect target for ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Kim Cattrall  •  James Hong  •  Dennis Dun

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

The lone inhabitants of an abandoned police station are under attack by the overwhelming numbers of a seemingly unstoppable street gang.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Austin Stoker  •  John Carpenter  •  Darwin Joston  •  Laurie Zimmer

The lone inhabitants of an abandoned police station are under attack by the overwhelming numbers of a seemingly unstoppable street gang.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Austin Stoker  •  John Carpenter  •  Darwin Joston  •  Laurie Zimmer

Body Bags (1993)

Three tales, each more terrifying than the last. . . . A woman who is stalked by an axe-weilding maniac . . . a man who pays the ultimate price for a beautiful head of hair . . . and a vision of life—seen through the eyes of a killer.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Tobe Hooper  •  John Carpenter
CAST:  John Carpenter  •  Robert Carradine  •  Alex Datcher  •  David Naughton

Three tales, each more terrifying than the last. . . . A woman who is stalked by an axe-weilding maniac . . . a man who pays the ultimate price for a beautiful head of hair . . . and a vision of life—seen through the eyes of a killer.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Tobe Hooper  •  John Carpenter
CAST:  John Carpenter  •  Robert Carradine  •  Alex Datcher  •  David Naughton

Christine (1983)

GrippingCleverMysteriousDisturbing

Geeky student Arnie Cunningham falls for Christine, a rusty 1958 Plymouth Fury, and becomes obsessed with restoring the classic automobile to her former glory. As the car changes, so does Arnie, whose newfound confidence turns to arrogance behind the wheel of his ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Keith Gordon  •  John Stockwell  •  Alexandra Paul  •  Robert Prosky

Geeky student Arnie Cunningham falls for Christine, a rusty 1958 Plymouth Fury, and becomes obsessed with restoring the classic automobile to her former glory. As the car changes, so does Arnie, whose newfound confidence turns to arrogance behind the wheel of his ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Keith Gordon  •  John Stockwell  •  Alexandra Paul  •  Robert Prosky

Dark Star (1974)

A low-budget, sci-fi satire that focuses on a group of scientists whose mission is to destroy unstable planets. 20 years into their mission, they have battle their alien mascot, that resembles a beach ball, as well as a "sensitive" and intelligent bombing device ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Brian Narelle  •  Cal Kuniholm  •  Dre Pahich  •  Adam Beckenbaugh

A low-budget, sci-fi satire that focuses on a group of scientists whose mission is to destroy unstable planets. 20 years into their mission, they have battle their alien mascot, that resembles a beach ball, as well as a "sensitive" and intelligent bombing device ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Brian Narelle  •  Cal Kuniholm  •  Dre Pahich  •  Adam Beckenbaugh

Elvis (1979)

This biopic traces Elvis Presley’s life from his impoverished childhood to his meteoric rise to stardom to his triumphant conquering of Las Vegas.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Shelley Winters  •  Bing Russell  •  Season Hubley

This biopic traces Elvis Presley’s life from his impoverished childhood to his meteoric rise to stardom to his triumphant conquering of Las Vegas.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Shelley Winters  •  Bing Russell  •  Season Hubley

Escape from L.A. (1996)

This time, a cataclysmic temblor hits Los Angeles, turning it into an island. The president views the quake as a sign from above, expels Los Angeles from the country and makes it a penal colony for those found guilty of moral crimes. When his daughter, part of a ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Stacy Keach  •  Steve Buscemi  •  Peter Fonda

This time, a cataclysmic temblor hits Los Angeles, turning it into an island. The president views the quake as a sign from above, expels Los Angeles from the country and makes it a penal colony for those found guilty of moral crimes. When his daughter, part of a ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Stacy Keach  •  Steve Buscemi  •  Peter Fonda

Escape from New York (1981)

Action-packedDarkDramaticAdventurous

In 1997, the island of Manhattan has been walled off and turned into a giant maximum security prison within which the country's worst criminals are left to form their own anarchic society. However, when the President of the United States crash lands on the island, ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Lee Van Cleef  •  Ernest Borgnine  •  Donald Pleasence

In 1997, the island of Manhattan has been walled off and turned into a giant maximum security prison within which the country's worst criminals are left to form their own anarchic society. However, when the President of the United States crash lands on the island, ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Kurt Russell  •  Lee Van Cleef  •  Ernest Borgnine  •  Donald Pleasence

Ghosts of Mars (2001)

Melanie Ballard is a hard nosed police chief in the year 2025. She and a police snatch squad are sent to Mars to apprehend dangerous criminal James Williams. Mars has been occupied by humans for some time and they have set up mining facilities. The mining ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Natasha Henstridge  •  Ice Cube  •  Jason Statham  •  Clea DuVall

Melanie Ballard is a hard nosed police chief in the year 2025. She and a police snatch squad are sent to Mars to apprehend dangerous criminal James Williams. Mars has been occupied by humans for some time and they have set up mining facilities. The mining ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Natasha Henstridge  •  Ice Cube  •  Jason Statham  •  Clea DuVall

Halloween (1978)

ScaryViolentSuspensefulBrilliant

On a black and unholy Halloween night years ago, little Michael Myers brutally slaughtered his sister in cold bold. But for the last fifteen years, town residents have rested easy, knowing that he was safely locked away in a mental hospital – until tonight. Tonight ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Donald Pleasence  •  Jamie Lee Curtis  •  Nancy Kyes  •  P.J. Soles

On a black and unholy Halloween night years ago, little Michael Myers brutally slaughtered his sister in cold bold. But for the last fifteen years, town residents have rested easy, knowing that he was safely locked away in a mental hospital – until tonight. Tonight ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Donald Pleasence  •  Jamie Lee Curtis  •  Nancy Kyes  •  P.J. Soles

In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Sam Neill  •  Julie Carmen  •  Jürgen Prochnow  •  David Warner

An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer's books have on his fans is more than inspirational.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Sam Neill  •  Julie Carmen  •  Jürgen Prochnow  •  David Warner

Prince of Darkness (1987)

A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Donald Pleasence  •  Lisa Blount  •  Victor Wong  •  Jameson Parker

A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Donald Pleasence  •  Lisa Blount  •  Victor Wong  •  Jameson Parker

Starman (1984)

Thought provokingBeautifulCharmingEmotional

When an alien takes the form of a young widow's husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona, the government tries to stop them.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Jeff Bridges  •  Karen Allen  •  Charles Martin Smith  •  Richard Jaeckel

When an alien takes the form of a young widow's husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona, the government tries to stop them.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Jeff Bridges  •  Karen Allen  •  Charles Martin Smith  •  Richard Jaeckel

The Fog (1980)

Strange things begin to occurs as a tiny California coastal town prepares to commemorate its centenary. Inanimate objects spring eerily to life; Rev. Malone stumbles upon a dark secret about the town's founding; radio announcer Stevie witnesses a mystical fire; and ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Adrienne Barbeau  •  Jamie Lee Curtis  •  Janet Leigh  •  John Houseman

Strange things begin to occurs as a tiny California coastal town prepares to commemorate its centenary. Inanimate objects spring eerily to life; Rev. Malone stumbles upon a dark secret about the town's founding; radio announcer Stevie witnesses a mystical fire; and ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Adrienne Barbeau  •  Jamie Lee Curtis  •  Janet Leigh  •  John Houseman

The Thing: Terror Takes Shape (1998)

An in-depth look at the making of this cult classic  (more)

DIRECTION:  Michael Matessino
CAST:  John Carpenter  •  Kurt Russell  •  Rob Bottin  •  Bill Lancaster

An in-depth look at the making of this cult classic  (more)

DIRECTION:  Michael Matessino
CAST:  John Carpenter  •  Kurt Russell  •  Rob Bottin  •  Bill Lancaster

They Live (1988)

SmartInsightfulThought provokingOriginal

Nada, a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world the way it truly is. As he walks the streets of Los Angeles, Nada notices that both the media and the government are comprised of subliminal messages meant to ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Roddy Piper  •  Meg Foster  •  Keith David  •  George Buck Flower

Nada, a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world the way it truly is. As he walks the streets of Los Angeles, Nada notices that both the media and the government are comprised of subliminal messages meant to ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Roddy Piper  •  Meg Foster  •  Keith David  •  George Buck Flower

Vampires (1998)

The church enlists a team of vampire-hunters to hunt down and destroy a group of vampires searching for an ancient relic that will allow them to exist in sunlight.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  James Woods  •  Daniel Baldwin  •  Sheryl Lee  •  Thomas Ian Griffith

The church enlists a team of vampire-hunters to hunt down and destroy a group of vampires searching for an ancient relic that will allow them to exist in sunlight.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  James Woods  •  Daniel Baldwin  •  Sheryl Lee  •  Thomas Ian Griffith

Village of the Damned (1995)

An American village is visited by some unknown life form which leaves the women of the village pregnant. Nine months later, the babies are born, and they all look normal, but it doesn't take the "parents" long to realize that the kids are not human or humane.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Christopher Reeve  •  Kirstie Alley  •  Linda Kozlowski  •  Michael Paré

An American village is visited by some unknown life form which leaves the women of the village pregnant. Nine months later, the babies are born, and they all look normal, but it doesn't take the "parents" long to realize that the kids are not human or humane.  (more)

DIRECTION:  John Carpenter
CAST:  Christopher Reeve  •  Kirstie Alley  •  Linda Kozlowski  •  Michael Paré

The Silence of the Hams (1994)

The federal agent Joe Dee Foster is currently investigating a serial killer, helped by doctor Animal who is isolated in a maximum security jail.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ezio Greggio
CAST:  Ezio Greggio  •  Dom DeLuise  •  Billy Zane  •  Joanna Pacula

The federal agent Joe Dee Foster is currently investigating a serial killer, helped by doctor Animal who is isolated in a maximum security jail.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Ezio Greggio
CAST:  Ezio Greggio  •  Dom DeLuise  •  Billy Zane  •  Joanna Pacula
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