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John Carpenter Movies

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Shop the collection of John Carpenter's works available at Arrow Films. Renowned for his mastery of horror and science fiction, his breakthrough films include the iconic "Halloween" (1978) and the groundbreaking sci-fi horror "The Thing" (1982). Carpenter's distinctive style marked by minimalist scores and atmospheric visuals, sets him apart from other filmmakers of the time. Exploring themes of fear and the unknown, films like "The Fog" (1980) and "Prince of Darkness" (1987) showcase his thematic depth. His versatility shines through in genres ranging from action, such as "Escape from New York" (1981) to dark comedy "Big Trouble in Little China" (1986). Discover your latest favourite today.
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John Carpenter’s legacy as one of America’s greatest cult film-makers is set in stone. Not only a masterful director, Carpenter often wrote and scored his films too, especially in his early work. Beginning his film career in the late 1960s studying at USC, his first major film came in 1974 with Dark Star. A lo-fi science-fiction comedy co-written with Dan O’Bannon, who famously would go on to write Alien, Dark Star effectively helped Carpenter attract attention from the likes of John Landis and George Lucas and proving himself to be a director to watch at the tender age of 26.

Another low-budget film followed, this time a thriller called Assault on Precinct 13, made for just $100,000. The film received mixed reviews in the US but in Europe was critically acclaimed and has since firmly achieved cult status. 1978 arguably saw the release of one of the biggest films of Carpenter’s career, the seminal horror classic Halloween. Spawning a multi-film franchise, Carpenter and co-writer Debra Hill created one of the most influential horrors of all time where Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode finds herself being followed by escaped mental patient Michael Myers.

The early 80s saw more success for Carpenter with The Fog and another cult favourite Escape From New York with Kurt Russell as gnarly solider turned convict Snake Plissken. The partnership between Russell and Carpenter would continue into 1982’s The Thing, another landmark horror that has received a huge cult following.

The mid 80s saw Carpenter spread into other genres such as sci-fi romance Starman (1984) and action comedy Big Trouble in Little China (1987). The latter reuniting Carpenter with Russell in a film that struggled at the box office and caused Carpenter to return to independent films but has since undergone a critical reappraisal and remains one of his best loved titles by fans.

Carpenter saw out the 1980s with They Live (1988), another cult smash starring Roddy Piper and a pair of sunglasses that help him discover how the human race have been colonised. The 1990s saw a sequel to Escape From New York with Escape From L.A. (1996) and two years later returned to the horror genre with Vampires (1998).

Winding down in the 21st century from directing films, Carpenter continues to work as an executive producer on a number of projects and has also released three studio albums of his music. It’s hard to think of a director who has created so many cult classics that have both transcended genres and the test of time.