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My Ranking of the Works of Filmmaker John Carpenter

John Carpenter is one of my favorite filmmakers.

He is a great director, producer, writer, musician, and an awesome person.

His body of work speaks for itself, I think.

I am here to rank his work, on how I feel about it.

This is tough because I love most of it, and I don’t hate any of it.

But I’m going to give it a try.

So here it goes:

  1. Escape From New York-This is tough, but I’ll say this is my favorite movie he has made.  Great action movie set in the future.  Kurt Russell is great as a Clint Eastwood type anti-hero named Snake Plissken.  Kurt said for many years that this was his favorite character.  Great supporting cast with Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Ernest Borgnine, Adrienne Barbeau, Harry Dean Stanton, and more.  Phenomenal music by Carpenter.  Classic movie I think.
  2. Escape From LA-The sequel to Escape From New York.  Many people hate this movie and love to trash it.  But I’ve always loved it.  My Dad took me to the theater to see it.  I loved it then and now.  It’s very similar to Escape From New York, but it’s also different too. But like the first movie, it’s just a great, fun action movie with a great cast and music.  Kurt plays Snake Plissken again perfectly.  I love this movie.  No apologies.
  3. Halloween-A horror/thriller masterpiece.  This really put Carpenter on the map.  Masterfully shot.  Great cast.  Phenomenal music by Carpenter.  Even if you’re not a fan of horror movies, check this one out if you haven’t.  There’s really not even much blood in it.  It’s really well done.
  4. The Thing-A remake of The Thing From Another World, although quite different from the original.  This version is based on the short story called Who Goes There.  Kurt Russell stars again, along with another great cast.  Great special effects that still hold up today.  This movie was released three weeks after E.T. was released, and was hurt, box office wise by that.  But I dare to say that it holds up arguably better than E.T. does (and I like E.T.).  Some of it I still find quite chilling.  Great movie.
  5. The Fog-A phenomenal ghost story/horror/ thriller.  Really more of a ghost story, but a great one.  Again, great cast, well shot (although according to Carpenter, it was a hard movie to make), great effects.  I love this movie.
  6. Big Trouble In Little China-A masterpiece  action/comedy.  Kurt Russell again stars.  Earlier movie for future Sex And The City co-star Kim Cattrall, who is great in this.  Lots of action, but also extremely funny.  You have to watch it.
  7. Christine-Based on a Stephen King novel about a car that is alive and can manipulate and even kill people.  I love this movie.  Check it out.  
  8. Assault On Precinct 13-Carpenter’s first true theatrical movie (Dark Star did play in theaters, but it was really more of a student film.).  Kind of a modern day version of  a classic western called Rio Bravo.  Carpenter even used the lead character name of that movie, John T. Chance, as his surname editor credit.  Assault was remade many years later, but I’m talking about the original.  Very well done movie.  
  9. In The Mouth Of Madness-Great movie starring Sam Neill, in which he plays an insurance investigator trying to solve the disappearance of a horror novelist, but yet also ultimately loses his mind when crazy things start happening.  Charlton Heston also stars.
  10. They Live-Wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is the star of this awesome action/science fiction film.  A lot of fun.
  11. Prince Of Darkness-A science fiction/horror/zombie movie starring Donald Pleasence.  Alice Cooper even has a brief part in it. Very good movie.
  12. Starman-Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen star in this story about an alien who ends up taking the shape of the husband of a widower, how their relationship develops, and about the alien trying to get back home.  Very heartfelt science fiction movie.
  13. Ghosts of Mars-Maybe an under the radar movie, but I really like it.  Natasha Henstridge and Ice Cube star in this action/science fiction movie set on Mars.  Earlier movie for Jason Statham too.
  14. Someone’s Watching Me-A TV movie starring Lauren Hutton.  She plays a TV newscast director who is being stalked by a man.  Very good movie, and sadly, a still true to life movie about stalking.
  15. Body Bags-A three story feature that was made for Showtime.  I see it as Showtime’s attempt at wanting their version of HBO’s Tales From The Crypt.  Carpenter plays this dead coroner doing the intros/outros of the stories.  Star studded cast in all three stories.  Some include Robert Carradine, Stacy Keach, and Mark Hamill.  A lot of fun.  Carpenter directed two of the stories.  Tobe Hooper directed the third one.
  16. Vampires-A pretty good vampire movie.  James Woods and Daniel Baldwin play vampire hunters, paid by the Vatican, who are after a vampire master.  Kind of a modern day western, but set within a vampire story.
  17. Memoirs Of An Invisible Man-Chevy Chase, Darryl Hannah, and Sam Neill star in this story about a man who ultimately becomes invisible and the government is after him.  Carpenter has said that he hated working with Chase and Hannah, but ultimately, I think he/they came out with a good movie.
  18. The Ward-Very good movie, starring Amber Heard, about schizophrenia.
  19. Masters of Horror-This was a series of shows made by famous horror directors.  Carpenter made two of them (Cigarette Burns and Pro-Life).
  20. Village Of The Damned-Another remake starring Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, and Mark Hamill, about a group of kids/aliens that take over a small town.
  21. Dark Star-More of a student film, but ultimately did turn into a theatrical movie.  Very bizarre space comedy.  The villain is literally a beach ball.
  22. Halloween 2-Carpenter was more the producer/writer/film composer/musician, but did direct a few of the scenes.  A good follow up to a movie classic.
  23. Halloween 3-Carpenter was a co-producer/film composer/musician, and wrote a draft of the script.  This movie has nothing to do with the Halloween franchise, except for the name.  But as a stand alone horror movie, it is excellent.  
  24. Black Moon Rising-A pretty good action movie/thriller starring Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton, and Robert Vaughn.  Carpenter wrote this.
  25. Vampires:  Los Muertos-Carpenter was an executive producer of this.  Not a direct sequel to Vampires, but a similar story where Jon Bon Jovi (yes the singer/songwriter) plays a vampire hunter who assembles a team to go after a vampire master.  Not bad.
  26. Suburban Screams-Carpenter’s latest project in which he was a producer and does the intro to each show.  An anthology series chronicling six true stories.  Various topics are paranormal, an escaped killer, a “Bunny Man” killer, and more.  Actually quite scary at times.  Available to watch on Peacock.

Well that’s it for now.

He’s actually made a lot of music for his movies, other people’s movies, and actual original albums too.

Maybe I’ll post about them in a separate review.

Either way, I love John Carpenter.

Amazing talent.  Even better person.

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