John Howard Carpenter is a popular film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor most known for his creation of horror and sci-films during the 1970s and the 1980s. His critically acclaimed films were Halloween (1978), Escape from New York (1981), and Starman (1984). Carpenter was also the mind behind a number of cult classics like Dark Star, Assault on Precinct, The Fog, The Thing, Christine, Prince of Darkness, and They Live.
John Howard Carpenter originally came from Carthage, New York. In 1953, he and his parents, Milton Jean and Howard Ralph Carpenter, started living in Bowling Green, Kentucky. At a very young age, he already had interest in different kinds of movies and before he started studying in high school, Carpenter had already done some horror shorts. He went to Western Kentucky University and University of Southern California before quitting school and pursuing his career in the film industry.
CARPENTER’S FILM CAREER
One of Carpenter’s earliest work was Captain Voyeur, a short film which was released in 1969. The film showed certain elements that were observed in the film Halloween.
In 1970, Carpenter worked with John Longenecker in creating The Resurrection of Broncho Billy. The movie received an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
Carpenter’s first directing gig was in the film Dark Star which was released in 1974. Though he and his partner, Dan O’Bannon, had difficulties in making the film, they managed to finish it on a tight budget. Dark Star was followed by the release of Assault on Precinct in 1976 in which Carpenter served not only as the writer, director, and scorer but as the film’s editor as well.
Someone’s Watching Me! was a movie made for TV written and directed by Carpenter.
In 1978, the very popular Halloween was shown in theaters and was considered as one of the films that started the genre of slasher films. In addition to hitting the box-office, Halloween also became popular for its theme that was composed by Carpenter himself.
Halloween was succeeded by the release of The Fog in 1980, another successful horror film even though Carpenter was dissatisfied with the final film output. Then in 1981, the science fiction film Escape from New York came out.
Under Universal Pictures, The Thing was released in 1982. The film was said to be the first of Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy” which would be followed by Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness.
In 1983, the film Christine which was based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, was released. It was followed in 1984 by the release of Starman, a film produced by Michael Douglas under Columbia Pictures. Starman was received positively by the viewers and would earn several Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.
His succeeding films which included, Big Trouble in China and Prince of Darkness failed to hit the box-office unlike some their predecessors. On the other hand, the film They Live which came out in 1989 would attract a certain following over the years.
During the 1990s, Carpenter continued making more films such as Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Village of the Damned, Escape from L.A., In the Mouth of Darkness, and Vampires but these movies either failed in the box office or were received well by critics.
In 2001, Ghosts of Mars came out followed after nine years by the release of The Ward, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Aside from being a film writer, director, and composer, Carpenter’s voice was featured in the video game F.E.A.R. 3 and his album, Lost Themes, came out in 2015.
Carpenter was also a recipient of the Lifetime Award from the Freak Show Horror Film Festival.