is a American film director, known for his work in the horror and science fiction movie genres. His career is speckled with films considered genre classics, as well as a number of movies that initially performed poorly at the box office, but went on to be Vindicated by Cable
His films are characterized by minimalist lighting and photography, static cameras, use of steadicam, and distinctive synthesized scores (usually self-composed). Many of today's best directors, including Tim Burton
and Christopher Nolan
, state that they were heavily influenced by Carpenter's style and filmography.
Tends to indulge in In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It
Since the release of Ghosts of Mars
in 2001 he has gone into a state of semi-retirement, although he returned to the director's chair for several episodes of Masters of Horror
and the movie The Ward
The YMMV page for his collective works can be found here
Films (and other media) directed by John Carpenter include:
Tropes used in John Carpenter's works as a whole:
- Cosmic Horror Story: The "apocalypse trilogy" (The Thing (1982), Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness) is an escalation of the trope over the 3 movies: first, a protean, invasive lifeform threatening to subsume in itself every living thing on the planet in a desolate antarctic setting reminiscent of H. P. Lovecraft's At The Mountains Of Madness; then a liquid corruption that turns out to be Satan, and whose goal is to bring to our world its true father, the Anti-God, in an old church being investigated by academics from an establishment similar to Miskatonic University; and finally, ineffable, unreal horrors attempting to find purchase in our reality through the writings of a Mad Artist and his previously-fictitious Town with a Dark Secret in the middle of Lovecraft Country, all the while screwing over the protagonist in such a way that it was formerly the Trope Namer for Through the Eyes of Madness.
- Gorn: The Thing (1982) and Cigarette Burns.
- Rated M for Manly: A lot of his films with Kurt Russell, Escape From New York, Escape From LA, Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing (1982)... They Live, and Vampires also counts.
- Thematic Series: John Carpenter has what he considers his "Apocalypse Trilogy" starting with The Thing (1982), going into Prince of Darkness and ending with In the Mouth of Madness. As the name implies, the connection has to do with each of the films presenting a Cosmic Horror scenario that could potentially result in the end of the world, by way of alien invasion, the awakening of an Eldritch Abomination that was the basis for Satan, and a crazy writer whose work has possibly been influenced by ancient Lovecraftian monstrosities. All three have the protagonists coming face to face with the end of the world, and they all end on a bleak note but open to interpretation:
- The Thing: The two survivors are left to freeze to death, but there is the small possibility that one of them is the Thing.
- Prince of Darkness: Satan is apparently expelled and trapped in another realm, at the cost of the Love Interest's life, but she starts appearing in the main character's dreams, and then he reaches for that mirror- we don't see what happens next.
- In The Mouth of Madness: The protagonist learns he is a fictional character in a writer's story, he tries to stop the publication of the novel every way he knows how, but Sutter Kane is always one step ahead of him, and before long we can't tell if he's truly mad when other people seem to forget things. The book gets published, people go insane, and before long society is in ruins- and to add further Mind Screw, it turns out the film we've been watching is actually the adaptation of the novel.