May 25, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
John Carpenter, the legendary director of films including “Halloween,” “Escape From New York,” “The Thing,” “Starman,” “Big Trouble in Little China” and many more, isn’t one to hold back in conversation. Ask him about “They Live,” his subversive sci-fi flick that starred professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as the film’s blue-collar hero Nada, who discovers an alien conspiracy to mind-control the people of Earth using invisible messages, and he’ll admit that it’s his most political movie — his response to consumerism and class disparity in the 1980s. “By the end of the ’70s there was a backlash against everything in the ’60s, and that’s what the ’80s were, and Ronald Reagan became president, and Reaganomics came in,” Carpenter said at the fourth annual Hero Complex Film Festival, where he appeared for an onstage Q&A between sold-out screenings of “They Live” […]
May 11, 2013 | 1:14 p.m.
The Hero Complex Film Festival kicked off Friday evening with a 25th anniversary screening of “They Live,” a 35th anniversary screening of “Halloween” and an onstage conversation with the filmmaker behind both movies, John Carpenter. Carpenter discussed his motivation in making “They Live,” a campy but subversive sci-fi flick that starred professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as the film’s blue-collar hero Nada, who discovers an alien conspiracy to mind-control the people of Earth using invisible messages. Carpenter called “They Live” his most political film and said it was his response to consumerism and class disparity in the 1980s. “By the end of the ’70s there was a backlash against everything in the ’60s, and that’s what the ’80s were, and Ronald Reagan became president, and Reagonomics came in,” Carpenter told the sold-out theater at the Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. […]
May 08, 2013 | 4:06 p.m.
Much has changed socially and politically since the release of “They Live,” John Carpenter’s 1988 sci-fi action film about a blue-collar Joe, played by Roddy Piper, who inadvertently stumbles onto a vast global alien conspiracy. But watching the movie today, it’s nearly impossible not to be struck by its prescience — Carpenter tackles homelessness, income disparity, even global warming in an entertaining adventure movie. “They Live” also calls to mind the work of Shepard Fairey and his “Obey” propaganda posters (not to mention, of course, the images crafted by groundbreaking conceptual artist Barbara Kruger). Surely, the Los Angeles-based street artist has a relationship with Carpenter’s film? As it happens, he does. In this video from 2011, the artist recalls the first time he saw the movie, in 1993, while living in Providence, R.I., Fairey said he picked up a $1 […]
April 08, 2013 | 9:00 a.m.
Visionary genre talents Guillermo del Toro, Frank Darabont, Roland Emmerich, John Carpenter and Chris Carter will be among the special guests at the fourth annual Hero Complex Film Festival, set to take place May 10-12 at the Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. The festival will open May 10 with a double feature from writer-director Carpenter — a 25th anniversary screening of “They Live” and a 35th anniversary screening of his landmark horror film “Halloween.” The always candid and entertaining Carpenter will appear in person between the films to discuss his career, which has produced genre favorites such as “Assault on Precinct 13,” “Escape From New York,” “The Thing,” “Big Trouble in Little China,” “Starman” and many more. On May 11, writer-director Darabont will be on hand for an afternoon screening of his 2007 Stephen King adaptation “The Mist,” the riveting […]
Nov. 07, 2012 | 1:03 p.m.
The 1980s saw John Carpenter direct films at a prolific clip, a streak that included 1988′s politically subversive slice of sci-fi action, “They Live.” The film starred professional wrestler Roddy Piper as an out-of-work blue-collar fella who inadvertently learns of a vast alien conspiracy to subjugate the people of Earth by using invisible mind-control messages. Naturally, Piper’s character, a man with the not too subtle moniker John Nada, isn’t about to let the human race go down without a fight. As “They Live” arrives on a new collector’s edition Blu-ray and DVD from Shout! Factory, there’s one particular fight that looms large — the one that breaks out when Nada tries to convince his reluctant ally Frank (Keith David) to put on special glasses that make the coded messages visible. The confrontation turns physical, and the all-out brawl that ensues […]
Oct. 24, 2012 | 6:00 a.m.
Michael Myers, the masked silent Shape that emerged from the shadows of Haddonfield, Ill., to stalk generations of moviegoers, will return to theaters Thursday for a re-release of John Carpenter’s landmark 1978 horror film “Halloween,” just in time for the Oct. 31 holiday. Trancas International Films, in partnership with Compass International Pictures and Screenvision, will open “Halloween” in roughly 560 theaters in the U.S. and more in the United Kingdom this week, marking the widest release the film has had since its original run. With the 35th anniversary of “Halloween” arriving next year, it seemed the right time to resurrect Carpenter’s classic in a proper theatrical setting, according to Justin Beahm, Trancas’ vice president of licensing and new media. PHOTOS: ‘Halloween’ teens: Where are they now? “A majority of the people who are [fans of the franchise], most of them […]
Oct. 22, 2012 | 6:07 p.m.
“Gangnam Style” parody videos are ubiquitous these days. Chances are, you’ve seen your local Action News team doing Psy’s distinctive horse trot on camera. If you haven’t, you will soon. But sometimes it’s possible for a parody to break through the cultural noise and actually make an impact on its intended audience. For the skeptical, we submit this video as evidence: “Lo Pan Style,” mashing up the plot and ghostly villain of John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic “Big Trouble in Little China.” For those unfamiliar with the film (it was a box office bomb upon its release), Carpenter melded the action of countless kung fu films with American Reagan-era swagger, personified in Kurt Russell’s John Wayne-esque truck driver character, Jack Burton. The fact that Burton talks like he’s the hero, but barely carries his weight as a sidekick isn’t an […]
Oct. 18, 2012 | 7:15 p.m.
Often, when John Carpenter’s name is mentioned, it’s in the context of landmark genre fare like “Halloween,” “Escape From New York,” even “Big Trouble in Little China.” But it’s the supernatural thriller “Prince of Darkness” — a film that Carpenter himself describes as one of the “less heralded” entries in his decades-long filmography — that will screen Saturday when the 12th annual Screamfest Horror Film Festival presents the writer-director with its career achievement award. The 25th anniversary screening of the film will begin at 7 p.m. at Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live, and will be followed with a Q&A with Carpenter moderated by Sean Decker of Dread Central. Reached by phone earlier this week, Carpenter said he was flattered by the recognition, even if it signals that he has perhaps reached a certain age. “It’s something that happens when you […]
Oct. 11, 2011 | 3:00 p.m.
The most frightening element of the 1982 John Carpenter horror classic “The Thing” is the title creature, a shape-shifting alien parasite brought to gruesome life with detailed practical effects. For actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the scariest part about starring in a new prequel to the film, also called “The Thing” and opening Friday, was the risk of not living up to a cult favorite. “I think there was some pressure going into it knowing that we were going to be watched very closely and that if we didn’t do it justice, there was going to be a lot of anger,” Winstead said in Los Angeles. But the 26-year-old actress, known for her roles as a Hollywood starlet in Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” and as the object of Michael Cera’s affection in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” saw in “The Thing” […]
Sept. 20, 2011 | 11:47 a.m.
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. In time for the latest big-screen incarnation of “The Thing,” which hits theaters Oct. 14, Dark Horse Comics is releasing a digital comic set in the same universe — “The Thing: The Northman Nightmare.” The first installment of the 29-page book, written by Steve Niles with artwork by Patrick Reynolds, goes live Wednesday on Dark Horse’s website, but Hero Complex readers get a sneak peek at the first eight pages, above. Niles, best known for his comics “30 Days of Night” and “Criminal Macabre” (and more recently for his vampire expertise on the vamps vs. zombies “Deadliest Warrior” finale), has his hands full these days. His latest comic, “Criminal Macabre: No Peace for Dead Men,” just hit shelves. He’s writing “30 Days” again after a nine-year hiatus. […]