Director Spotlight: John Carpenter

I’ve been enjoying this new series focusing on directors specifically in the genre of horror so I thought I’d do another one!

First, we did Wes Craven and honestly, I do miss him and his presence within the horror community. And if you missed that post, I’ll link it here so you can check that one out. For today, I wanted to look at another legendary person in horror that has also shaped it. I also enjoy following him on Instagram and I like that he is still involved and busy.

I will be looking at John Carpenter for the Director Spotlight series.


(1978) – I feel as though if I didn’t acknowledge this film, my horror card was going to get revoked. I am exhausted of all the Halloween content but also proud that people are still invested and interested in this film. I do love this first one, it sets a tone of “we truly don’t know who or what Michael Myers is but he isn’t human”. I also like Carpenter (and Debra Hill’s) about evil throughout the film. It loses that darkness in later sequels. Possibly one of the first films set around a holiday season and does it very, very well.  christine_8

Christine (1983) – Based off of the Stephen King novel of a possessed vehicle, I like the interpretation of this on screen. The relationship between Christine and Artie is really eerie and another way shown of how something or someone can really change the other person. And not for good in this case! Good directing, storytelling, and special effects are GREAT, especially when we watch Christine just “reborn” herself.

Body Bags (1993) – I saw this last year I believe and it is an anthology horror film. Carpenter isn’t alone in the directing chair, Tobe Hooper is also credited and I really like this. It’s fun to see Carpenter in an acting role as the coroner and it seems like he is having a great time! I believe there are 3 stories, a lot of familiar faces and cameos like Wes Craven, David Naughton, Twiggy, Mark Hamill, Hooper himself, Stacy Keach, Deborah Harry, and so many more. I didn’t know it was an anthology until I started watching closely like oh, we’ve got segments! thething_2

The Thing (1982) – I can see people calling this film more sci-fi than horror and I can’t disagree with that. I think what Carpenter does well is mixing both heavily close genres and basically redefining it. The plot is very simple but the build up, climax and overall journey is great. And then you add in the “we don’t know who is the thing” with crazy special effects that are memorable and gory and it’s beautiful. If you haven’t seen the original “The Thing From Another World”, please do so. 

The Fog (1980) – I love The Fog. No seriously, I think it’s my ultimate favorite Carpenter film. I can watch this over and over and over and not get bored of this film. I would love to own it on dvd but I’m happy with my vhs tape of it and to me it’s so cool. I know Carpenter has his own feelings about the film, things he doesn’t like about it but I love the concept and idea of a town celebrating its anniversary but it came at the hands of death, betrayal and now through the fog, those who perished, came back. It isn’t your typical ghost story and I like that. I enjoy the cast, Jamie Lee Curtis is still fairly young, this is after Halloween fame but I just heart eyes at her in this.

They Live (1988) – Haven’t seen this film as often as I have the others, maybe minus Body Bags, but the concept of They Livetheylive_4 is really unique. Every day we are bombarded with messages and the media and to see a film taking that same idea but twisting it into beings that we can’t see unless we wear special sunglasses is just… seriously, I love this movie.  

Little soft spot for Ghosts of Mars and Vampires has warm spaces in my heart. Ghost of Mars I saw many times on reruns on HBO or Cinemax but I can see why this movie isn’t that great. It’s more nostalgic. I have also sadly not seen Prince of Darkness, I know many have seen it and I have at one point seen it on vhs in Goodwill but did not pick it up. SHAME ON ME. Otherwise, I think Carpenter has a great eye for new ideas and concepts and now that he’s transitioned further into composing music, he uses that same creativity and pushes it out in a new outlet.

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