The reaction to 2001’s Ghosts of Mars almost made director John Carpenter (The Thing, Halloween, Big Trouble In Little China) quit filmmaking. Luckily, he changed his mind, and a new interview with him will make you glad he did.
Carpenter spoke to Bloody Disgusting about his state of mind after the critically-panned Ghosts:
After [‘Ghosts of Mars’] I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this. It’s too hard, it’s too fucked up’, but I had done a couple of [episodes of television series] ‘Masters of Horror’ a few years ago and I enjoyed them. They were short, they were contained, and I thought, ‘well, let’s try this’… The whole project was a movie that was contained, and it promised to have a real interesting cast…kinda get away from an effects-driven movie. So this was up my alley. It also wasn’t too long a shoot.
Despite staying away from directing in recent years, Carpenter’s influence has been felt through remakes of his early movies, something that he has a suitably realistic attitude about:
I have no real control over [remakes]. That’s what I learned early on. When the producers wanted to remake ‘Halloween’, to do sequels… I thought, ‘this is a big mistake.’ But in California I cannot stand in the way of them making the sequel. All I can do is share in it. So I crossed that bridge way back in the early ‘80s and I thought, ‘well, what am I gonna do? Am I gonna sit and cry or am I just gonna sit and go along with it?’ …As long as they pay me. That’s a very important component.
There’s something about Carpenter’s bluntness and doesn’t-give-a-shitness that’s really refreshing to read; in the interview, he talks about the scariness of his new film The Ward and says, “There are a lot of jump scares in this, which some people may not like. But tough shit.” I’m enough of a fan of Carpenter’s early work that I love this kind of attitude, and his last line in the interview suggests that, if Ghosts broke him temporarily, he’s back now:
I worked very, very hard with everybody [on ‘The Ward’] to make as many people happy as possible. I’ve decided later in my life now that that’s all I care about, is making others happy… I’m being facetious.
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