Tag Archives: john carpenter

Franklin On Carpenter


“I like to think that if all the filmmakers of that American New Wave were a giant school class, and Coppola was the captain of the football team, and Spielberg was the good lookin' rebel in the leather jacket hanging out with the bikers, and the drama majors are Altman and Cassavetes… and then you had Carpenter who is like the Ally Sheedy of this Breakfast Club, he's the outsider who's tucked away, probably getting a blow job behind the shed, but ends up coming up with some of the craziest, weirdest things.”

The other day, we were visited by a man who wanted to tell us the good news about a dude named JC. This JC had long hair, a legion of devoted followers, and he managed to change the world. And he was just a humble Carpenter, too!

Dark Horizons editor Garth Franklin was our guest this month, and he quickly decided on the great John Carpenter as his filmmaker of the month, a choice that definitely delighted us here at Hi4H Central.

Watching all of a filmmaker's works in one hit can be revelatory. You can look at Halloween or Big Trouble In Little China or Starman and know they're all John Carpenter films, but until you see them all in one go, it's difficult to fathom just how adept he was at every genre he turned his hand to. It's also fascinating to see exactly what interests Carpenter, and how these themes echo across all of his works.

That's what we dig into in this month's episode. First, as always, we also look at some key new release films, including Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, Lenny Abrahamson's Room, and Ryan Coogler's Creed.

We also take a look at something that's been on our minds in the month where we lost both David Bowie and Alan Rickman: how we define the legacies of beloved actors when we primarily know them through their imitation, rather than themselves?

Outro music: score from Halloween (1978), composed by John Carpenter

It's a jam-packed episode, and a hell of a way to kick of 2016. Stream or download from our website, listen via Stitcher Smart Radio, or subscribe on iTunes!

Hell Is For Hyphenates – January 2016

Dark Horizons creator and editor Garth Franklin joins the show, as we look at some of the key films of this month, including THE HATEFUL EIGHT, ROOM and CREED. In the wake of the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, they then examine how we mourn beloved film icons, and how their legacies interact with their defining performances. Then, Garth takes us through the career and filmography of one of the horror cinema’s most important directors, John Carpenter.

The John Carpenter Cheat Sheet

John Carpenter Directs

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double that will not only make for a great evening's viewing, but bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

JC Films


It has to be Halloween. It just has to. Not only is it a work of terrifying brilliance, but it's also one of the most important films ever made: after 1960's Psycho and 1974's Black Christmas, Carpenter's Halloween firmly established the concept of the slasher film and changed the entire genre of horror forever. When you've finished that, follow it up with Big Trouble In Little China, the fantasy comedy that's really unlike any other film you've seen. Watching this back-to-back with Halloween is not only a hell of a fun evening's viewing, but also the best way to demonstrate Carpenter's impressive range.

Substitutions: If you can't get or have already seen Halloween, seek out his seminal horror-thriller The Thing (1982). If you can't get or have already seen Big Trouble In Little China, seek out his first feature film, the science fiction comedy Dark Star (1974).

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something a bit off the beaten path? A Carpenter film people don't talk about as much as the others? Then you need 1978's Someone's Watching Me!. This TV movie was filmed between Assault On Precinct 13 and Halloween, but aired after Halloween's release. It's an incredible thriller, a throwback to classic Hitchcock films (particularly Rear Window), and features one of the best characters ever in a Carpenter film: Lauren Hutton's amazing Leigh Michaels. If you can find it, watch it.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring Garth Franklin talking John Carpenter, will be released on the morning of January 31 (AEST).

Our Next Hyphenate Garth Franklin

Garth Franklin
Dark Horizons founder and our next Hyphenate, Garth Franklin (left)

If you've ever wanted to look up some news about a film, be it a piece of casting info or movement on a long-awaited sequel, the odds are better than not that you made your way to Dark Horizons. And that means you've certainly read the work of Garth Franklin, the site's Sydney-based founder and editor-in-chief, and our first guest of 2016.

Created in January 1997, the now-19-year-old Dark Horizons is now legally able to drink, drive and vote in Australia. But more importantly, it was one of the first real places on the internet to get film news from, and it remains one of the few must-read movie sites anywhere on the web. That's a helluva run, and it's a testament to Garth that the site continues from strength to strength.

Given Garth is someone who writes about every franchise, every release, every film from Hollywood and around the world, we were very curious to find out which filmmaker he would he want to discuss on our show.

The answer? None other than one of cinema's true masters of horror, John Carpenter!

Directed by John Carpenter

Although John Carpenter's work is too diverse to refer to him as simply a horror filmmaker, you can't actually talk about modern horror without talking about Carpenter. After his first film, the seminal science fiction comedy Dark Star (1974) and his second, the legendary action thriller Assault On Precinct 13 (1976), Carpenter cemented his place in pop culture with the terrifying Halloween (1978), the film widely credited with bringing the slasher sub-genre into the mainstream.

As if his first three films hadn't done it already (and they had), Carpenter - who, we note, celebrates his 68th birthday tomorrow! - proved himself adept at any genre he turned his hand to, from the action sci-fi of Escape From New York (1981), to the science fiction romance of Starman (1984), to the high-comedy fantasy of Big Trouble In Little China (1986). If his filmography included only half the classics they do, he'd still be lauded as one of modern cinema's most influential visionaries.

But which of these Carpenters is the one that won over Garth? Was it the horror Carpenter, the science fiction Carpenter, or the comedy Carpenter? Or perhaps all of them combined?

We look forward to finding out on January 31, when the first Hell Is For Hyphenates of 2016 is released!

John Carpenter
Our next filmmaker of the month, John Carpenter

Hi4H’s 2014 Year In Review

Hi4H 2014 Montage

2014 was a pretty great year for Hell Is For Hyphenates. We reached our 50th episode, we had our first ever live show at the Sydney Film Festival, we landed guests such as Lynn Shelton and Joe Swanberg, and, most importantly, we started this blog.

We thought this would be a good opportunity to take stock, and make some lists that isn't the traditional “Best Of” (those will come later). Please feel free to chime in with your own answers in the comments.

Top five Hi4H film discoveries (that you hadn't seen before)?

Paul: The Long Goodbye (1973, Altman - I'm restricting myself to one film per filmmaker, so just know I could've easily filled this list with Altmans: California Split and HealtH chief among them), M. Hulot's Holiday (1953, Tati), An Unmarried Woman (1978, Mazursky), Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974, Hough), Subway (1985, Besson).

Lee: I'm also gonna limit it to one per filmmaker to keep things slightly easier. Images (1972, Altman), Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969, Mazursky), Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974, Hough), Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary (2002, Maddin), Beau Travail (1999, Denis).

Which new filmmakers to emerge in 2014 are you most excited about?

Paul: Can't I just say “Xavier Dolan” five times? No? Okay. But Xavier Dolan is my clear #1 here. While he's been making films since 2009, I saw four of his five features - two of which were premieres - in 2014. A preternatural wunderkind who brings a unique blend of social realism, melodrama and bold cinematic style to bear, with uncommon power and moxie. Ana Lily Amirpour (just for being supercool and singular of vision), Jennifer Kent (for bringing a dramatic, thematic approach back to horror), Damien Chazelle (while Whiplash blew others away more than me, there was an uncommon command of craft - and an interesting voice - I'm keen to see more of), Joe & Anthony Russo: with one film, these frequent sitcom directors managed to single-handedly restore my faith in the Marvel Studios model.

Lee: So, so many. Gillian Rospierre (Obvious Child), Desiree Akhavan (Appropriate Behavior), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Charlie McDowell (The One I Love), Lake Bell (In a World…), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night), Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays). I'm excited about what everyone in this group will make next.

Five filmmakers you'd like to see us cover on the show?

Paul: Because they're Masters: Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Howard Hawks, Mario Bava. Because I want to examine their career in context: John Carpenter.

Lee: I'm gonna eschew the obvious names (Hitchcock, Scorsese, Kubrick), because they are givens, and go with Kenji Mizoguchi, Agnès Varda, Michelangelo Antonioni, Alexandr Sokurov, Douglas Sirk. Is that a bit of a pretentious list? If so, replace one of those names with, I don't know, Brett Ratner. Or, better yet, don't.

Given we're an Australian show, what were your favourite Australian films of the year?

Paul: 1) Cut Snake; 2) Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films; 3) The Rover; 4) The Babadook; 5) The Infinite Man.

Lee: 1) The Babadook; 2) Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films; 3) The Rover; 4) Charlie’s Country; 5) Canopy. The fact that this list was so difficult to curate speaks to what a great year it was for Australian cinema.

Most Anticipated Films of 2015?

Paul: 1) The Hateful Eight (was there ever any doubt??); 2) Inherent Vice; 3) Tomorrowland; 4) Foxcatcher; 5) Serial Season 2… oh, it has to be films? Okay… Mad Max: Fury Road.

Lee: 1) Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice; 2) Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron; 3) Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight; 4) Todd Haynes' Carol; 5) Martin Scorsese's Silence.

Thank you all for listening this year. We hope you enjoyed it, and we hope you enjoy everything to come in 2015. We have some big plans we can't wait to tell you about.

Big thanks to everyone who helped us out over the year, from our guests to the good people at the Sydney Film Festival, and everyone who loaned us the DVDs and autobiographies we needed for research. Huge thanks to our loyal artist Caroline McCurdy, who did all of our amazing artwork and design.

In the meantime, 2014 isn't done yet! We have our final show for 2014 coming out on the morning of December 31, featuring Richard Watts talking about the films of Gregg Araki, so make sure you kick off your New Year's Eve plans with our latest show!