Horror Feast: John Carpenter-a-thon

Well since its been raining so much lately it seems that I'll be trapped inside my house by floodwater all weekend. Normally I'd be pissed off but I've got plenty of food and supplies and an assload of horror movies to watch.
On today's menu: John Carpenter.

THE FOG (1980)

Carpenter's original beats the hell out of the crappy remake of course. This is actually one of my favorite of JC's movies, even though it has practically no gore it still is a pretty creepy film. The start is a great opener too, a ghost story being told about a ship which sunk in a thick fog and how the dead sailors will come back 100 years to the very day. Of course this day happens to fall on the town of Antonio Bay's anniversary and while the townspeople are getting ready to celebrate, the fog rolls in and the bodies start to pile up. It seems that these ghouls are back for revenge for a past atrocity and a small handful of townsfolk have to figure out how to put and end to the curse. Both Jamie Lee Curtis and her mother Janet Leigh star alongside Tom Atkins and another JC favorite George 'Buck' Flower.
As I mentioned the movie doesn't rely on blood and gore but instead it relies on the creepy atmosphere created by the ominous fog and it does a great job.


With the death of a priest an ancient secret is revealed. A mysterious cylinder of green liquid is found in an abandoned church basement and after a team of physics students is called in to investigate, the cylinder is found to contain the essence of Satan himself. The liquid goes to work possessing the students and working toward its final goal, releasing the father of Satan; an all powerful anti-God. Can these physics graduates stop him in time? And will they survive the wrath of Alice Cooper? Cooper plays a murderous vagrant who leads some sort of homeless army. Yep. Donald Pleasance also stars as a priest. I love Donald Pleasance.
This is definitely one of Carpenter's darker films and is actually pretty original too. The special effects and makeup look good also and Jameson Parker's moustache is pretty cool too.
The only complaint I have is that when I watch a movie called PRINCE OF DARKNESS, I expect to see the FUCKING PRINCE OF DARKNESS! But alas he never appears.


George 'Buck' Flower appears once again here (why does he always play a drunk or a vagrant?) but this time his fellow cast members include Mark Hamill, Christopher Reeve and Kirstey Alley. I must confess that I've never seen the original film nor read the novel on which it's based but John Carpenter has done a pretty fine job here indeed. 
The entire town of Midwich fall asleep one day. As you can imagine a few people die while driving cars or standing over barbecues, but also upon waking 10 of the town's women find themselves mysteriously pregnant. They all give birth at the same time and they all give birth to creepy, white haired, mind reading children. The children aren't very nice either. They like to use their freaky telepathic powers to force people to hurt and kill themselves. Can the combined forces of Luke Skywalker and Superman defeat these evil children? Watch the movie and see for yourself.


I've decided that James Woods doesn't play a very convincing badass. If I wanted somebody to kill a vampire for me he's one of the last people I would think of. But here he is, leading a group of vampire slayers and working for the Catholic church. After finding a 'nest' and destroying the bloodsuckers within the team decided to have a party. Hooray! However they get ambushed by a powerful vampire named Valek who kills all but two of them. So James Woods teams up with one of the less important Baldwin brothers (Daniel I think) and a prostitute and they decide to track down this Valek before he finds an ancient artifact which will allow him to walk in the daylight and therefore be unstoppable.
Crap. I don't like this movie at all. The characters are stupid and the one-liners are lame ("How do you like your stake, bitch?")
At least the vampires aren't sparkly pussies, and there is a fair bit of gore also. One of Carpenter's less impressive films.

THEY LIVE (1988)

Roddy Piper and his majestic mullet star in this film about rich aliens corrupting and controlling the American lower class. Keith David is also here and so is George 'Buck' Flower (again) who plays a drifter (surprise!).
Nada (Piper) is down on his luck and wandering about aimlessly until one day he finds a pair of magical sunglasses which show him the world as it really is. Rich yuppie aliens are controlling humans through subliminal messages and a signal broadcast from television sets. There is probably some sort of social commentary here about the upper class feeding off the lower class, but what's more important is that we get to see Roddy Piper kicking some serious alien ass!
And watch out for the world's longest fight scene between Piper and Davis. Don't worry, you can't miss it.

1 comment:

  1. Love They Live - one of Carpenter's better ones. Great social commentary. Prince of Darkness is an interesting failure - a weird blend of the supernatural and science fiction. But yeah, title a bit misleading!