Halloween without John Carpenter is like an America with Trump as president - impossible and unthinkable. So once again, like every year on All Hallows' Eve, I will sit in my comfy chair and watch John Carpenter's "Halloween"... even though I already watched it two times this year! :-D One time on the big screen as part of a terrific John Carpenter retrospective in Vienna ('t was my first time seeing it on the big screen - it was amazing!)
and one time just for fun :-)
The fact that this was the first horror film I have ever seen (at the age of 9, thanks mom!)... the fact that I've seen it more than 50 times since then... well, yes, you are allowed to call me a die-hard fan of this 1978 masterpiece.
But Carpenter has also many other movies, most of them great, some of them simply uber-amazing, and since I'm not just a die-hard Halloween fan, but a die-hard JC fan as well, and because it's Halloween, I tried my best to create my definitive ranking of John Carpenter's films.
Enjoy reading and happy Halloween!
(by the way: I'll see him live on Wednesday at the Viennale and on Thursday live in concert!!!!!!!)
(USA / Canada, 2006)
JC directed two episodes for the fabulous "Masters of Horror" series. The other one (#12) is great, this one is just lame, boring and IMO the worst thing JC has ever done.
A weird remake of the 1960 classic of the same name. Not good, not bad, just ok. It doesn't really work as a remake, nor as a stand-alone flick. Watchable, but non-essential.
A neat little horror flick, but so unoriginal, so predictable and ultimately so underwhelming, it's obvious that JC totally didn't care for it and just made it because he had nothing else to do at that time. Sad.
Silly but fun action/Sci-fi/horror mishmash. Far from being a good film, but it actually gets better after a couple of viewings. The first time I saw it, I hated it. Now after the fifth viewing, I kinda like it.
Weird, but enjoyable made-for-TV horror anthology (two episodes directed by JC, one by Tobe Hooper) with hilarious performances by Stacey Keach, Peter Jason and JC himself!
JC's first feature film, a super-odd lowest-budget sci-fi comedy. Obviously far from being perfect, but very funny, very diverting and a total must-see for fans of Douglas Adams.
(USA / France, 1992)
Chevy Chase as invisible guy in a rather dark 90s comedy that looks and feels as if it was NOT directed by JC - could have been better, but for some reason I always liked it, and still think it's a fun little flick.
Even though it can't hold a candle to the original (#6), it's still a tremendously entertaining action flick with an absolutely marvellous Kurt Russell and one of JC's grimmest endings.
An overlong, yet pretty fabulous made-for-TV movie about the life of The King, with Kurt Russell delivering one of his strongest, most gobsmacking performances of his entire career. That guy IS Elvis!
The most heartwarming film JC has ever made. Kinda like E.T. but for adults and obviously much better. Plus: first Oscar nomination for the great Jeff Bridges as lovely alien.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA
Completely bonkers 80s action/comedy tour-de-force with stunning special effects, lots of wonderfully quirky characters and, once again, a Kurt Russell in top form!
(USA / Canada, 2005)
Who needs "Pro-Life" when you can have "Cigarette Burns", JC's very last true masterpiece? Atmospheric, fascinating, gory and tense as fuck. Plus: Udo Kier in one of his most memorable performances ever!
JC's unbelievably underrated made-for-TV Hitchcock-homage, incredibly suspenseful and atmospheric. IMO more intense than all of De Palma's Hitch rip-offs (even though they're all great too).
A highly political and incredibly unique action/sci-fi/thriller, now more relevant than ever, with wrestling star Rowdy "Roddy" Piper as Kurt Russell ;) and the absolute greatest fight scene in history.
Probably one of the greatest low-budget siege flicks of all time. At times hilarious, at times just shocking, with a wonderful cast, excellent dialogue and lots of dark, thick 70s atmosphere.
Nost just one of my favorite vampire films, but also one of my favorite Western films. A near-perfect and badass combination of the two genres with some ultra-awesome practical effects and James Woods in one of his coolest roles.
IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS
Not even Stuart Gordon has ever managed to create a movie that is as Lovecraftian as this one. An insanely amazing movie, original, imaginative, bizarre, and with an absolutely awesome
performance by the great Sam Neill.
One of the coolest movies of the 80s, action-packed, super-atmospheric and excellently entertaining. Kurt Russell has never been cooler, and Donald Pleasenece has never been more ridiculous :)
Undoubtedly one of my all-time favorite Stephen King adaptions. Far better than the good-but-not-that-good book, quite humorous, but also extremely tense, full of stunning special-effects and terrific rock'n'roll tunes.
Nost just one of JC's most underrated movies, but also one of the most underrated horror movies of all time. Clever, intellectual, atmospheric, scary, gory, slimy and grim as fuck, all at the very same time. They don't make 'em like that anymore
The creepiest and most atmospheric ghost-themed movie of all fucking time. The creepy mist, the even creepier lepers, the haunting music and all the poltergeist action in the beginning never fails to scare the bejesus out of me.
The greatest and most suspenseful sci-fi/horror movie of all fucking time. So tense, so gripping, so unbelievably intense with the most timeless special effects of all time and the coolest all-male casts of all time.
The greatest and most rewatchable horror movie of all fucking time. The outstanding music, the uber-gorgeous cinematography, the mighty Michael Myers, the breathtaking suspense. Hell, this movie is perfect. Pitch-fucking-perfect.