‘Halloween’ Director John Carpenter: The Film That Lit My Fuse

The Film That Lit My Fuse is a Deadline video series that aims to provide an antidote to headlines about industry uncertainty by swinging the conversation back to the creative ambitions, formative influences and inspirations of some of today’s great screen artists.

Every installment asks the same five questions. Today’s subject is John Carpenter, the iconic genre filmmaker and musical composer whose 1978 film Halloween did for a generation of masked slasher films what George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead did for the flesh eating zombie. He will tell you here that his seminal film was initially scorned by critics, and its formula is surely a simple one. But if you watch it again, it is something to observe how much the scares are dependent upon his brilliant but hastily compiled musical cues and a score that takes you right back to when you first saw it, every time you hear it.

The 72-year old Carpenter had many other hits that followed with a film resume that includes Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog, They Live, Ghosts of Mars, Vampires, and his collaborations with Kurt Russell Escape From New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China. He also takes pride in his involvement in the latest reboot of Michael Myers, in the David Gordon Green-directed film that brought back Carpenter’s original screen queen Jamie Lee Curtis, and which continues with Halloween Kills. That film comes out next October, in time for Halloween 2021. Carpenter is executive producer.

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