Blog Archives

The Thing (2011)

About a year ago, two things (no pun intended) happened that connect me to this month’s The Thing. First, I was at a panel at New York Comic Con where the cast and director of The Thing talked about the movie. They explained how and why the movie wasn’t a remake and how much they respected what John Carpenter had done with his version of the story. Secondly, I reviewed John Carpenter’s The Thing ( for our John Carpenter Director’s Spotlight. I’m a big fan of Carpenter’s movie and the story it was originally based on. Carpenter’s The Thing is a remake of 1951’s The Thing From Another World, which itself is based on a classic science fiction novella called Who Goes There?. They all basically tell the same story, an alien creature crash lands in the Antarctic and is discovered by scientists. Each version of the story adds it’s own unique vision and The Thing stands in good company.

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The Ward

The Ward is the latest from director John Carpenter, who hasn’t had a movie in theaters since 2001’s Ghosts Of Mars. That movie was awful. It had Ice Cube in it. Ice Cube the rapper. And, still The Ward is worse. Much, much worse. Which I thought was impossible. If 2011 has shown me anything, it’s that when it comes to movies being bad anything is possible.

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Director Spotlight: Big Trouble in Little China (Bonus Review)

John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (1985) is the 4th film that he used Kurt Russell as a lead and the last in the 3 films that two made together in the 1980’s as director and lead.  The film also stars Kim Cattral, Denis Dun, James Hong, and Victor Wong.  This is Carpenter’s take on the martial arts genre. Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: Escape From New York (Bonus Review)

John Carpenter’s Escape from New York (1981), starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Ernest Borgnine and Harry Dean Stanton, is a film that takes place in the future, 1997(well… the future if you were around in 1981), where Manhattan island is the maximum security prison for the United States.  The movie starts with a narration that explains the world we are dealing with.  Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the film:

Narrator: A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline across the Harlem river, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline.  It completely surrounds Manhattan Island . All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison, only prisoners and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple.  Once you go in, you don’t come out. Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: Vampires

The best thing about October for a DA, is reviewing Halloween-type movies. October is my favorite month because I can watch all the halloween movies I love. And for those who don’t know me, I love vampires. I’ve seen hundreds of vampire movies, even the bad ones. To many vampire enthusiasts, vampires represent eternal life, and in some movies, an often lonely eternal life. More recently, we have seen Vampires become more sexual with franchises such as Twilight and True Blood. So, for the final week of October, I thought John Carpenter’s Vampires would be appropriate.  Vampires shows the more savage life of vampires and vampire hunters. In Vampires, we notice that vampires have black blood, which is different than other vampire movies.  Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: In The Mouth of Madness

“God’s not supposed to be a hack horror writer!”

When I think of horror films, I usually think of something of slasher killers or at least a figure you can focus on as the big bad of the feature. 1995’s In the Mouth of Madness succeeds without being that typical type of horror film. Directed by John Carpenter, Carpenter himself describes this film as a different horror picture because it doesn’t follow the usual horror plot.  As my colleague Rene, Mr. Horror, pointed out to me, this is one of  Carpenter’s more underrated films.

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Director Spotlight: John Carpenter’s The Thing

”I don’t know what the hell’s in there. It’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.”

John Carpenter’s The Thing is a classic horror movie from 1982 and one of my all time favorite horror movies. It’s definitely on my top ten best movies of all time list and I am pretty sure it’s on quite a lot of people’s “best of” lists. It’s one of the movies that helped a generation of movie fans discover horror films and John Carpenter. The movie was ahead of it’s time in terms of special effects and storytelling. It’s Carpenter doing what he does best, horror. This time, it’s horror with a bit of science fiction in the mix. I think it’s his best movie. It’s better than Halloween and Escape From New York.

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Director Spotlight: Halloween

“It’s Halloween. Everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”

It might seem obvious and strange to start our October Spotlight of John Carpenter with his seminal, horror film Halloween.  Obvious because its Cartpenter’s most notorious and successful project to date and strange since Halloween is weeks away.  And truly it may never make sense, but when scheduling what will be reviewed and when, it made sense to me at the time. Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: John Carpenter

It’s October which means the leaves change colors, kids beg for candy, and we celebrate Christopher Columbus successfully enslaving the indigenous people of this country.

If you think that’s scary, check out our John Carpenter spotlight for his classics: Halloween, The Thing, Into The Mouth of Madness, and Vampires.

Follow along and leave us feedback with your thoughts on the films as we give our thoughts weekly.  That is unless you’re too scared.