Many critics overlook the latter part of John Carpenter’s career forgetting that he had a string of fantastic films that would have been crowning achievements for any other director. With such classic films as Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, and The Thing in his filmography already, each film that followed would be unfairly compared to them. Yet in all honesty, there were more than just hidden gems among the end product. Many have been well received and enjoyed by audience and critics alike.
In 1983 two living legends came together. John Carpenter makes the film adaption of Stephen King’s Christine. At the time the film was considered one of the best adaptations of the author’s work. A year later he follows with the Academy Award nominated science fiction film Starman starring Jeff Bridges in an award nominated performance.
But the true Carpenter fan would be rewarded soon after as John Carpenter returned to the horror genre with four of the most chilling horror films of their time. In 1987 he directs, writes, and composes for the film Prince of Darkness, the first of his films that would pay homage to H.P. Lovecraft but also to the religious horror films of the 1970’s. In 1988 he thrills audiences with the alien invasion film They Live, possibly one of the most overlooked gems of Mr. Carpenter’s career. Then in 1995 he returns with the crowning achievement In the Mouth of Madness, a frightful piece of Lovecraftian terror where an insurance invesitagator is in search of a missing horror author only to land up in a nightmare filled with insanity and madness. His final film from this period is the science fiction horror film The Ghosts of Mars, a film highly regarded by Roger Ebert and considered a throwback to great drive-in cinema.
Dark Discussions goes through this latter part of Mr. Carpenter’s career. Philip and Gordon’s ponderings segue into the possibility of John Carpenter’s involvement with a film version of the graphic novel Darkchylde, his work in the television show Masters of Horror, a discussion of the British horror author John Wyndham and his books The Day of the Triffids and Midwich Cuckoos, a mention of another British horror author Simon Clark and his stories, and how John Carpenter’s Vampires gets a cameo in Clint Eastwood’s film Mystic River. Once again, listeners, enter if you dare.