John Carpenter


John Howard Carpenter (born January 16, 1948) is an American filmmaker, screenwriter and composer. Although Carpenter has worked with various movie genres, he is associated most commonly with horror, action, and science fiction films of the 1970s and 1980s. He made his feature debut with the sci-fi comedy Dark Star (1974). Other films in the 1970s include the action thriller Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), with Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer, Tony Burton, Martin West, and Nancy Kyes; the slasher film Halloween (1978), with Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, and Nancy Loomis; TV movie Someone’s Watching Me! (1978), with Lauren Hutton, David Birney, and Adrienne Barbeau; and TV movie Elvis (1979), with Kurt Russell, Shelley Winters, Season Hubley, Bing Russell.

Films in the 1980s include The Fog (1980), with Barbeau, Curtis, Tom Atkins, Janet Leigh, and Hal Holbrook; Escape from New York (1981), with Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Pleasence, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Barbeau, and Harry Dean Stanton; The Thing (1982), with Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis, and Thomas G. Waites; Christine (1983), with Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky, and Stanton; Starman (1984), with Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen; Big Trouble in Little China (1986), with Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, & Victor Wong; Prince of Darkness (1987), with Pleasence, Wong, Jameson Parker, and Lisa Blount; They Live (1988), with Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster.

Films in the 1990s include Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), with Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, Michael McKean, and Stephen Tobolowsky; In the Mouth of Madness (1995), with Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, David Warner, and Charlton Heston; Village of the Damned (1995), with Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Michael Paré, Mark Hamill, and Meredith Salenger; Escape from L.A. (1996), with Russell, Stacy Keach, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Georges Corraface, Cliff Robertson, Pam Grier, and Bruce Campbell; and Vampires (1998), with James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Maximilian Schell, and Tim Guinee.

Films in the 2000s include Ghosts of Mars (2001), with Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Grier, Clea DuVall, and Joanna Cassidy; TV movie Cigarette Burns (2005), with Udo Kier, Christopher Redman, Norman Reedus, and Gwynyth Walsh; TV movie Pro-Life (2006), with Caitlin Wachs, Ron Perlman, Derek Mears, and Emmanuelle Vaugier; and The Ward (2011), with Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker, Laura-Leigh, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Jared Harris.

Carpenter has also been writer or co-writer on films he didn’t direct such as Irvin Kershner‘s Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), with Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, René Auberjonois, and Raúl Juliá; and Black Moon Rising (1986), with Jones, Linda Hamilton, Robert Vaughn, Keenan Wynn, Richard Jaeckel, and Bubba Smith. He returned to the Halloween franchise as both composer and executive producer for the horror sequel Halloween (2018). Carpenter composed or co-composed most of his films’ music. He won a Saturn Award for Best Music for the film Vampires (1998). Carpenter has released three studio albums, titled Lost Themes (2015), Lost Themes II (2016), and Anthology: Movie Themes 1974–1998 (2017).

Each new review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Captain Voyeur (1969) – short
  • Dark Star (1974)
  • Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
  • Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) – directed by Irvin Kershner – co-writer, story
  • Halloween (1978)**
  • Someone’s Watching Me! (1978) – TV film
  • Elvis (1979) – TV film
  • The Fog (1980)
  • Escape from New York (1981)
  • Halloween II (1981) – directed by Rick Rosenthal – co-writer, co-producer
  • The Thing (1982)**
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – directed by Tommy Lee Wallace – co-producer, uncredited co-writer
  • Christine (1983)
  • Starman (1984)
  • Black Moon Rising (1986) – directed by Harley Cokliss – co-writer, story, executive producer
  • Big Trouble in Little China (1986)**
  • Prince of Darkness (1987)
  • They Live (1988)
  • Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)
  • Body Bags (1993) – directed with Tobe Hooper & Larry Sulkis (uncredited) – TV anthology film
  • In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
  • Village of the Damned (1995)
  • Escape from L.A. (1996)
  • Vampires (1998)
  • Ghost of Mars (2001)
  • Vampires: Los Muertos (2002) – directed by Tommy Lee Wallace – executive producer
  • Cigarette Burns (2005) – TV movie
  • Pro-Life (2006) – TV movie
  • The Ward (2010)
  • Halloween (2018)* – directed by David Gordon Green – executive producer
  • Halloween Kills (2021) – directed by David Gordon Green – executive producer
  • Studio 666 (2022)* – directed by B.J. McDonel – cameo

Other notable New Hollywood filmmakers: