John Carpenter - Rotten Tomatoes

John Carpenter



A director whose quick-witted and full-blooded approach to genre filmmaking has won him both mainstream success and a cult following, John Carpenter was born in Carthage, NY, in 1948. When he was young, his family moved to Bowling Green, KY, where his father served on the music faculty of Western Kentucky University. As a child, Carpenter became fascinated with such '50s science fiction and horror films as Forbidden Planet and The Thing (From Another World), as well as the classic Westerns of John Ford and Howard Hawks; he began shooting his own 8 mm films -- mostly monster movie pastiches -- in his spare time. After graduating from high school, Carpenter attended Western Kentucky, and later transferred to the University of Southern California to study filmmaking. There, he co-wrote a student film called The Resurrection of Bronco Billy which, in 1971, won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short.



Inspired by this success, Carpenter, along with friend and fellow film student Dan O'Bannon, began work on a sci-fi parody called Dark Star. Over time, Carpenter expanded the student short to feature length at a cost of 60,000 dollars, and the film received positive reviews when it was released theatrically in 1974. While Carpenter hoped Dark Star would win him a major studio contract directing Westerns, he discovered that the film's limited success opened few doors, and his next project was the low-budget thriller Assault on Precinct 13, which was inspired by Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo. While the film wasn't a hit, it did fare better at the box office than Dark Star and caught the attention of critics in the U.K., where it was enthusiastically received at the London Film Festival. After selling a pair of scripts -- produced as Eyes of Laura Mars and Zuma Beach -- Carpenter made the acquaintance of producer Moustapha Akkad, who was looking for a director for a low-budget horror movie about an escaped lunatic murdering baby-sitters. Carpenter got the job, and the result was Halloween. Shot on a budget of 325,000 dollars, Halloween became a roaring commercial success, in time grossing more than 18 million dollars and, for many years, holding the record for the biggest box-office gross for an independently released film. In the interim between completing Halloween and its evolution into a blockbuster, Carpenter directed a pair of movies for television, including the critically acclaimed Elvis, which marked his first collaboration with actor Kurt Russell. The director's first genuine attempt to follow the success of Halloween came with 1979's The Fog, when Carpenter met actress Adrienne Barbeau. The two hit it off personally as well as professionally, and were married by the time the film hit theaters. In 1981, Carpenter reluctantly returned to his first major success with Halloween II, which he wrote and produced, but his next project as a director would be a great deal more ambitious: 1981's Escape From New York, a fusion of science fiction and action-adventure, which starred Russell as ne'er-do-well for hire Snake Plissken. The movie's witty and enthusiastic genre-bending would set a precedent for much of Carpenter's career to follow.



After making a handful of hits for independent distributors, Carpenter moved up to the major studios with his idiosyncratic 1982 remake of The Thing (again with Russell in the lead), and next scored another box-office blockbuster with his 1984 screen adaptation of the Stephen King novel Christine. Divorced from Barbeau that same year, Carpenter completed another feature by the end of 1984, a romantic comedy with a science fiction slant called Starman, which garnered enthusiastic reviews and solid business. His next major cross-genre project, 1986's Big Trouble in Little China (once again starring Russell), was a costly box-office disappointment, though the film went on to win a loyal cult following through cable and home video distribution. After its lackluster reception, however,

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Why Horror?
  • Actor
2014
No Score Yet Halloween 35th Anniversary
  • Director
2013
33% The Ward
  • Director
2011
No Score Yet Let There Be Light: The Odyssey Of Dark Star
  • Actor
2011
No Score Yet The Master's Touch: Hitchcock's Signature Style
  • Actor
2011
75% Tales From the Script
  • Actor
2010
100% Nightmares in Red, White and Blue
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Riot (John Carpenter's Riot) (Scared Straight)
  • Director
2009
No Score Yet Fantastic Flesh
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Bloodsucking Cinema
  • Actor
2007
25% Halloween
  • Screenwriter
2007
No Score Yet Starz Inside: Bloodsucking Cinema
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Masters of Horror
  • Director
2006
No Score Yet Tales from the Crypt: From Comic Books to Television
  • Actor
2005
4% The Fog
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
2005
No Score Yet Masters of Horror
  • Director
2005
No Score Yet John Carpenter: Fear Is Just the Beginning... The Man and His Movies
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Cinemaker
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Masters of Horror
  • Actor
2002
20% Vampires: Los Muertos
  • Executive Producer
2002
No Score Yet John Carpenter - The Man and His Movies
  • Actor
2002
21% John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
2001
67% The American Nightmare
  • Actor
2001
37% John Carpenter's Vampires
  • Director
1998
53% John Carpenter's Escape from L.A.
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1996
29% Village of the Damned
  • Director
1995
51% In the Mouth of Madness
  • Director
1995
0% The Silence of the Hams
  • Trench Coat Man
1994
70% Body Bags
  • Actor
  • Director
1993
21% Memoirs of an Invisible Man
  • Helicopter Pilot
  • Director
1992
No Score Yet Blood River
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1991
No Score Yet El Diablo
  • Screenwriter
1990
No Score Yet First Works
  • Actor
1989
83% They Live
  • Screenwriter
1988
58% Prince of Darkness
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1987
88% Something Wild
  • Actor
1986
71% The Boy Who Could Fly
  • The Coupe De Villes
1986
82% Big Trouble in Little China
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1986
30% Black Moon Rising
  • Screenwriter
1986
81% Starman
  • Man in Helicopter
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1984
50% The Philadelphia Experiment
  • Executive Producer
1984
68% Christine
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1983
89% Tootsie
  • First Actor
1982
37% Halloween III - Season of the Witch
  • Producer
1982
81% The Thing
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1982
31% Halloween II
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1981
85% Escape from New York
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1981
No Score Yet Better Late Than Never
  • Screenwriter
1979
71% The Fog
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Bennett (assistant at the church) (uncredited)
1979
No Score Yet Someone Is Watching Me
  • Director
1978
93% Halloween
  • Screenwriter
  • Director
1978
47% Eyes of Laura Mars
  • Screenwriter
1978
No Score Yet Zuma Beach
  • Screenwriter
1978
97% Assault on Precinct 13
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
1976
79% Dark Star
  • Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Executive Producer
  • Director
1974
No Score Yet Resurrection of Broncho Billy
  • Screenwriter
1970
No Score Yet I Killed Wild Bill Hickok
  • Screenwriter
1956
No Score Yet Son of the Renegade
  • Screenwriter
1953

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet The Director's Chair
2014-2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet Law & Order
1990-2010
  • Milton Gannett

Quotes from John Carpenter's Characters

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