Top 10 of John Carpenter…

I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter and his films.   Although he hasn’t really done anything recently, the late 70’s and all of the 80’s kicked a lot of ass because of the director’s storytelling.   Carpenter not only directed, but composed the music for a majority of his films.  I have decided to compile a list of the top 10 scenes that make him such a great director.  God how I wish he would start making these kinds of movies again.

10.  Prince of Darkness (1987) – Not really my favorite of John Carpenter’s movies, I have to admit that the end scene, which is referenced throughout the movie, is well shot and is just flat out creepy.

9.  The Fog (1980) –  At first we think that the blanket of fog that is surrounding the fishing town of Antonio Bay is some sort of plague or sickness that will consume the people.  Then we see this scene from the movie and it truly shows what the fog really is.  This is an example of why I will never walk around alone outside when there’s fog.

8.  Starman (1984) – Taking a different approach to movie making, Carpenter directed a ‘happier’ movie about an alien that comes to Earth in response to an invitation broadcasted through one of the Voyager space probes.  This scene shows the alien taking on the form of Jenny Hayden’s dead husband.

7.  Christine (1983) – After Arnie Cunningham’s precious 1958 Plymouth Fury, dubbed Christine, is attacked and practically destroyed by the bullies at Arnie’s high school, he realizes that his car is actually alive.  Arnie then sees that part of Christine’s engine has magically repaired itself, he tells the car, “okay, show me”, where the car begins to restore the rest of itself back to mint condition.  Carpenter filmed this scene so well that it truly shows how sinister the car really is.

6.  Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) – Almost earning an “X” rating by he MPAA for the “ice cream” scene alone, this scene is an over the top siege on the police station and shows what the Street Thunder Gang will do in order to avenge the death of their brothers.  This scene is great because a police officer, a secretary, and two prisoners take on an entire gang by themselves.

5.  They Live (1988) – What’s better than aliens disguising themselves as humans and trying to take over the world?  ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper becoming a defender of the human race and joining a resistance group to make sure that the aliens aren’t successful.  This scene was originally intended to last 20 seconds long, but Roddy Piper and Keith David wanted to actually fight for real (only faking the shots to the face and the groin).  Carpenter was so impressed with the realism to the scene, that he decided to keep it for the final cut of the movie.

4.  Escape From New York (1981) – The intro alone, which explains what New York is like in 1997, sets up a great scenario for a prison and what Snake Plissken will have to go through in order to safely evacuate the President.  A prison island with no guards and no rules, where the prisoners create their own worlds = GREAT F-ING MOVIE.

3.  Halloween (1978) – The climatic scene of Halloween comes down to babysitter Laurie Strode vs. stalker killer Michael Myers.  I remember seeing this for the first time, I was literally scared out of my wits.  Every time you think that the killer is finally down for the count, he keeps getting back up trying to kill the babysitter.  Truly one of the most intense scenes.

Fun fact: the mask that Michael Myers wears in the Halloween series is actually a William Shatner.  Before the final version of the mask was decided upon, it had to be trimmed of the eyebrows and sideburns, the hair needed to be poofed up, and the face and neck spray painted white.

2.  Big Trouble in Little China (1986) – Not generally well perceived by critics and audiences and a failure at the box office, Big Trouble in Little China has gone to become a cult film due to its success on home video.  I don’t know what the hell people were thinking when it first came out, but this has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it when I was like 4 years old (wait what?!?).  I remember always coming home from school, every day, and popping this movie into the VCR and just having the greatest time watching it.  Carpenter does a great job focusing on Kurt Russell’s character, Jack Burton, that people don’t realize that he’s actually the sidekick and not the main hero in the film.  This scene is one of the best in the movie because Carpenter shows us that “it’s all in the reflexes”.

1.  The Thing (1982) – The Thing is a great movie that shows what it’s like to be stranded in the middle of nowhere and between you and a small group of others, makes yourself wonder “who’s the thing?”.  This movie is by far my favorite of the John Carpenter movies and also one of my favorites of all time.  Carpenter was able to capture that feeling of claustrophobia and create a situation that is inescapable, which ultimately forces all of the men at the Antarctic scientific research station to confront one another.  The “blood test” scene still amazes me to this day on how extremely well done it portrays terror on screen


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