I think it is safe to say John Carpenter is a directorial god. Especially of the horror and sci-fi genres. Every year since I can remember I have watched his masterfully filmed and scored 1978 Halloween on Halloween night. It is my tradition on my favorite holiday – and this year is no exception. What is entirely unique about Carpenter is how diverse his talents are and yet how well he manages to blend them into true masterpieces like no one else.
As a director and writer, Carpenter has created some of my favorite films: Halloween, The Thing (1982 remake) and 1988’s They Live.
Not to mention other gems, such as Big Trouble In Little China and Escape From New York- two more films starring the feathery brown-haired beauty Kurt Russell, no less! (Carpenter’s film making talents AND Russell to stare at on screen?! YES PLEASE.)
John Carpenter’s talents do not stop there however. He has made a name for himself as an adroit horror movie score composer.
His sound is distinctive; one that can send chills down your spine instantly, can send you to an eerily tangible place in the mind and quite frankly, is one of the best reasons to watch any of his films.
Already owning a few Carpenter albums (Lost Themes, Lost Themes II and Halloween soundtrack,) I have fallen in love with the bone-tingling, synthesizer drenched and at times krautrock-y music Carpenter can craft. Needless to say I was thrilled to finally have a complete Anthology record in my collection!
Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 track listing:
- In The Mouth of Madness
- Assault on Precinct 13
- The Fog
- Prince of Darkness
- Santiago (Vampires)
- Escape From New York
- They Live
- The Thing
- Dark Star
If you are already a fan of Carpenter, I shouldn’t have to tell you – you NEED Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 in your collection.
Play it as you are cruising down suburban streets at night. Have this blasting as the soundtrack to your themed haunted house. Force your children to listen to these instrumental jams while you take them to school. Whatever the scenario may be, it is essential to have. It is John freakin’ Carpenter, c’mon.
“In the Mouth of Madness” is a terrific opener. It is an ’80s metal track that turns into an ambient daydream halfway through. Totally killer.
“The Fog” is reminiscent to Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells,” (made famous from The Exorcist) with airy yet chilling piano keys.
Once you hit “Escape From New York” it is Carpenter at his finest until track 11- “Starman.” His best songs are placed together in the middle of the record like a meaty, horror-themed sandwich.
The last three tracks are some of my least favorite Carpenter scores, but that is like saying I don’t like the Laffy Taffy in my trick-or-treat bag but it’s still candy and candy is life.
Rating: 8/10 – Happy Halloween folks, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to all of John Carpenter’s tricks.
P.S. If you are a Carpenter freak to the extreme like I am, visit Kenny Caperton’s completely replicated Michael Myers House located in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Super cool guy and very neat place to travel if you have the time! (My friend Lydia and I stopped there on a horror movie themed road trip).