John Howard Carpenter was born on January the 16th in 1948 in New York but soon after moved to Kentucky. While attending the Kentucky University he started to create short films which got him his first award in 1970 for his short film “The Resurrection of Bronco Billy”. During the seventies, Carpenter founded a band named “The Coup De Villes” which included Tommy Lee Wallace and Nick Wallace, two others destined to become great movie directors in their own right.
During his career John Carpenter has been many things in Hollywood, ranging from actor to director and just about everything in-between, but he is most recognized for the movies that he wrote himself.
While his portfolio of movies is as diverse as it is large, John Carpenter excels primarily at horror movies, which resulted in Halloween, In the Mouth of Madness and The fog. He also does well in the Sci-fi genre, especially when the two genres of Horror and Science Fiction combine, leading to results like Ghosts of Mars and The Thing.
His repertoire in horror, gained him a reputation as “The Master of Horror”, and “Prince of Darkness”. Movies that came from his hand are easy to recognize, as they all carry his name, like: John Carpenter’s Escape from New York and John Carpenters In the Mouth of Madness, the soundtracks accompanying the movies are mostly composed by him also. One of the most famous soundtracks he wrote is without a doubt the theme for Halloween.
John Carpenter likes to use fast shock effects in his movies, with things flying in fast and disappearing just as fast leaving the audience wondering what just happened. This type of effect is referred to as “a cheap thrill”, but is highly effective for keeping the viewer at the edge of their seat.
Most of his movies carry an apocalyptic theme, like: In the Mouth of Madness and Escape from New York, where the first is set in a world falling apart and the second takes place in a futuristic setting where large parts of the US have been abandoned and are now used as a type of prison, where unwanted elements of society are sent.
The heroes in his movies are also anti heroes, without a doubt, like Desolation Williams in Ghosts of Mars, who is a criminal, but when the going gets tough turns out to be the type of guy you can count on and perhaps the best example is Snake Plisken from Escape from New York, who is a rebel that cares for nobody but himself and is forced to carry out a task for the government. Though rebelling is in his nature, he starts the job and sees it trough no matter the risk or the cost.
John Carpenter also seems to have a thing with (television) screens, which are a means often used in his movies, like the video in The Thing that leads to the discovery of the alien being, the message delivered from the future in Prince of Darkness, and the most obvious example of all: They live, where media is used for sublimal messages to influence the population.
Like the famous horror writer Stephen King, John Carpenter also has a habit to appear in many of his own movies. He has made appearances in Starman, The Thing and the Fog to name just a few.