John Carpenter probably did more to frighten me as an adolescent than any other film director. Halloween in 1978 scared me so badly that I had to see it again and again. It introduced us to a modern monster names Michael Myers. Who knew then that it would spawn a franchise, not mention a new genre (Slasher Films)? Its budget was $350,000.I remember Donald Pleasence’s fine performance…and of course the now world famous Jamie Lee Curtis who garnered the nickname Scream Queen for her follow-up films The Fog (another Carpenter classic), Prom Night, and Terror Train.
Many of Carpenter’s films were not big hits, but are now seen as influential Cult Classics. I can watch Big Trouble in Little China any day of the week and it still makes me laugh. My favorite Carpenter film though (like picking your favorite Girl Scout cookie) has to be his remake of The Thing (1982). It’s on the list for this month because it’s part of Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy (along with The Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness). The only other one this month I’ve already seen is the Stephen King adaptation of Christine (1983).
Though Carpenter’s star hasn’t shined so brightly recently, I still hold him in high esteem for adding so much creativity to the genre I love. Thanks, Mr. Carpenter.