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John Carpenter Is Back, Thankfully

by  in Movie News Comment
John Carpenter Is Back, Thankfully

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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