As you may already know, I am a fan of horror and sci-fi films, and John Carpenter is one of my favorite directors, who I also think is one of the most under appreciated directors… ever.
An artist by the name of Matt Ferguson has recently created four, highly detailed, epic posters as tribute to four of John Carpenter’s films… and I want them all! PS, you can BUY THEM HERE.:
Let’s talk about these wonderful creations and the films they represent. Then we’ll get to the Changelings update.
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
Escape from New York is a great sci-fi film. Snake Pliskin is one of my favorite characters. His swagger, his no-bullshit attitude and that… tattoo. Kirt Russell was the perfect choice for the roll. It’s also one of maybe three films that Carpenter has scored himself that contains a catchy riff. Escape, Halloween and Christine are the three that come to mind. Did I mention that Carpenter scores nearly all his films?
I had the pleasure of seeing him perform his music in concert at the Orpheum in Downtown Los Angeles a couple of years ago. It was amzing.
The Fog was one of my favorite films growing up. It has such a creepy vibe and the music is great. I still enjoy the practical effects and camera trickery that were involved in bringing this film to life. Let’s not forget the 80’s horror icon Adrienne Barbeau and her magnificent… radio voice.
Zombies in fog… what could be more frightening? Cancer maybe?
This film is conceptually brilliant. The execution is a bit off for me, but I still enjoy – really enjoy – the foreboding atmosphere of They Live. It’s commentary on consumerism and control stand out as one of the best examples of sci-fi and horror being excellent vehicles for the critical examination of society and humanity as a whole.
THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS
JC has the impressive ability to make the simplest of setups effective, because he tries to make his films about the ideas. At least sometimes. 😉
The Prince of Darkness deals with parallel dimensions, time travel, Satan, portals and metamorphosis in ways that would be considered a little simplistic by today’s standard, but he makes them all work without beating the audience over the head.
Also, metamorphosis, i.e. body horror tends to make me queasy and tickles my terror bone every… damn… time and he really knows how to communicate alien transformations with striking efficiency. He doesn’t over use effects and tends to hide a lot of his nightmarish creatures in shadow, something I’m going to be doing with Changelings.
Why? Because fear lives in the dark unknown places of the world and in our minds.
HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO CHANGELINGS?
Well, one aspect of of Carpenter’s filmmaking is his usually attachment to reality. I’m going to be writing a much larger post about this soon, but in general, Carpenter’s filmmaking is not highly stylized like Winding Refn, who goes to extreme lengths to put “his stamp” on things.
As much as I would love to do that for Changelings, I want it to be set in “the real world”. I want it to feel a bit more like a gritty noir, rather than something that looks too composed. The best examples of horror / horrific films that I can think of that adhere fairly closely to reality – and that will serve as some of my primary inspirations – are John Carpenter’s The Thing, You Were Never Really Here, No Country for Old Men and Nightcrawler.
The use of light, setting and characters feel so organic and everything feels like it belongs. I want Changelings to feel that way. I want a horror film that exists in the moment where natural and diegetic lighting are the norm, not highly composed and contrived moments and images.
John Carpenter will always be one of my top five filmmaking inspirations, and I will be watching all of these films again as I put together the look book that will serve as the visual template for both the short and feature versions of Changelings.
WHO DIS IS
If you want to know who I am and what Distant Signal is, check this out. It’s sort of a manifesto. The TL;DR is that I’ve won an award for producing, make a lot of reality TV, live in LA and think that artist and media incentives are misaligned and serve large corporations and not independent artists.
The fist horror / thriller film made on and with the Steem blockchain. Use this hashtag to find out all about it!
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In 2019 the goal is to produce the short horror film, Changelings, the world of that story and to build a community of filmmakers that are enthusiastic about filmmaking and crypto currency.