All posts tagged: John Carpenter

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Blu-Ray Review: “Escape From New York, Collector’s Edition”

From the mid-70s to the late 80s, John Carpenter was an industry unto himself, variously writing, directing, producing, scoring and/or appearing in a string of well-executed genre entertainments that relied on atmosphere and colorful performances to make up for what they lacked in budget. Released in 1981, at roughly the height of its director’s most fertile period, Escape from New York is probably Carpenter’s most enduring work after Halloween. But whereas the singular effectiveness of that film has been repeatedly diminished by countless imitators and its own dreary sequels, Escape (despite its own inferior sequel) remains as simple and engrossing as it was 34 years ago. Its premise is pure Carpenter, all high stakes and no bullshit: New York City has been converted into a prison. The President of the United States is trapped inside. He has a cassette tape that’s vitally important for world peace, for some damn reason or other. And only one man can rescue him, recover the tape, and save the world. Enter our hero, Snake Plissken. Snake is a rare …

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10 Movies…That Are Remakes of Classic Horror Films

Horror movies derive most of their power and enjoyment (you sicko) from a combination of novelty and surprise.The novelty: how the filmmakers will have this particular bad guy stalk and kill the good guys. The surprise: OHMYGODLOOKOUTBEHINDYOUDREWBARRYMORE! Nevertheless, because horror movies are eternally popular, Hollywood remakes the biggest ones, as they would any genre of film. However, horror movies also boast extremely devoted and defensive cult bases, so time will tell if this weekend’s Evil Dead reboot is as good as Sam Raimi’s original 1981 classic, despite Sam Raimi’s seal of approval and active involvement. Here then are 10 more notable horror remakes. Friday the 13th (2009) There was once a rumor that they were going to eventually make 13 Friday the 13th movies. But after sending camp drowning victim/supernatural hockey mask-wearing murderer Jason Vorhees to space, hell, and Freddy Krueger, the franchise ran out of steam at 11 movies. So in 2009 they rebooted the franchise by remaking the original 1980 film, set at the proven horror setting of a summer camp full of …

Robert Carradine

The Popdose Interview: Robert Carradine

You might think that Robert Carradine, an actor whose filmography is far more formidable than the average moviegoer would ever imagine (keep reading and find yourself astonished by at least one or two of his past co-stars), would view a motion picture like Revenge of the Nerds as an albatross, one of those projects that you can’t make people forget no matter how hard you try. Carradine, however, views the role of Lewis Skolnick in the 1984 comedy – and its sequels, lest we forget – as more of a godsend, something that became far bigger than anyone ever could have anticipated. Plus, c’mon, who would’ve thought 29 years ago that nerds would end up being so hip as to warrant a prime-time television series? Or, as is the case now, a reality-competition series on TBS? That’s right: get ready for King of the Nerds. Popdose spoke with Carradine about this project, along with some of the other projects he’s worked on over the years, including – true story – Django Unchained. Popdose: The most …

Three Lovable Flops: The Philadelphia Experiment, Krull and Buckaroo Banzai

I have a soft spot for some of the near-misses from the 1980’s, typically big-concept genre movies that were either too earnest, too cheap, too goofy or too Too for their own good. Sometimes they win you over on merit and other times, it’s just a matter of crying “uncle” and letting the insanity win. I will leave it to you to decide if these three films have what it takes to be flop-classics, or just plain flops. The Philadelphia Experiment (1984) Briefly, two WWII Navy guys are swept into the future (circa 1984) when the experiment to radar-cloak warships goes awry. David Herdeg (Michael Pare) and Jimmy Parker (Bobby DiCicco, who was a primary actor in another lovable bomb, Steven Spielberg’s 1941) are being sucked back into a time vortex, on a molecular level, where their ship and a chunk of a town are trapped. Yes, it is just as daft as it sounds. Along for the ride is Nancy Allen as Allison, cute and red-haired, with a mousy-behavior and an inclination toward eye-humping …

DVD Review: Kurt Russell Is the King in John Carpenter’s “Elvis”

The 1979 biopic, Elvis, has finally found a home on DVD thanks to Shout! Factory. This made-for-TV movie was a huge success when it originally aired. There’s no question why: The movie came our just a year and a half after his unexpected death. Although this movie could have been a glorified puff piece about Elvis and all of his achievements, it turned out to be a solid production with a lot of creative talent involved, and of course some great music. Looking at Elvis some 30 years after its release, besides the film stock looking a little grainy, the story and plot structure don’t feel dated. In fact, in Elvis you see many of the same story devices and themes that have become cliché in practically every musical biography since Elvis, from Coal Miner’s Daughter to La Bamba to What’s Love Got to Do With It to Ray. These same clichés were sent up hilariously in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. I’m talking about the tragic or poverty stricken childhood, the drive and …

The Friday Mixtape: All Souls Edition, 10/30/09

Welcome back. Are you feeling comfortable? Good. Right about now, you’re sitting casually in your seat, perhaps in a chair staring at the monitor, perhaps bundled up on the couch, wrapped in your Snuggie, your laptop buzzing on your lap with the warmth of its underside providing a pleasant sensation there. Occasionally the hard drive skitters and skates, trying to access some connection inside of this digital field of play. And it is a field of play, don’t let it fool you otherwise. Take a good long look at the screen, for instance. Sure, your conscious, active mind sees black letters spelling out the very words you’re reading, but let your eyes haze a moment. Don’t think about meaning so much — just see the black squiggles on the expanse of white, amassed like battalions, one paragraph against another, staring each other down, preparing for the moment to bolt in attack, random “s” characters raising their swords against the myriad numbers of “m,” not to mention the machinations of those vowels, so kind to link …

Revival House: “I’ll Be Back”

If you’re like me, when you see a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger in shades, a certain five-note rhythm comes to mind. There’s no denying composer Brad Fiedel kicks things off in James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984) with a great main title, letting us know we’re building to something awesome here. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, there was a wave of low-budget films hitting theaters, but they didn’t feel low-budget — they all had the aura of expensive blockbusters. I’m talking about flicks like The Howling, Scanners, and Escape From New York (all 1981), and directors like Joe Dante, David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, and of course Cameron — directors who knew enough about the craft of filmmaking to stretch their shoestring budgets and create cool-looking movies. Carpenter’s Escape From New York is a good example. The dilemma: how to make New York City look like a maximum-security prison in the near future with very little money? The early establishing shot of the Manhattan skyline is a matte painting. But more important is the way …