|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a fine documentary on this "Master of Horror", but with one key
It's way too short (about an hour).
Half of his movies were barely given more than a mention, and some (i.e. Big Trouble in Little China) weren't talked about at all! The "doque" starts off great with some rarely seen interviewees like Alice Cooper or Stacy Keach or late Debra Hill. It keeps it's strong pace until Escape from N.Y. From there-on it just brushes through the rest of J.C.'s carrier and digs up some trivia (i.e. How he made Vampires) with minor stops at The Thing and Prince of Darkness.
This is a decent view into director's origin and work in the seventies, but there should have been part 2 about the 80ies and part 3 about the 90ies for a complete unpressurized documentary on his works...
Ironically, the word "begining" from the title, should have meant part one.
Maybe another time...
John Carpenter: Fear is Just the Beginning (2004)
*** (out of 4)
Interesting but short documentary on the life and career of horror master John Carpenter. The documentary skips over films like Elvis but many of his horror classics are discussed. If you've ever read an interview about Carpenter or listened to one of his commentaries then you aren't going to learn too much here but if you're new to his work then this would be a great place to start when going into his work. We get interviews with Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, George Romero, Alice Cooper, Adrienne Barbeau, Debra Hill and Peter Fonda among others. We get some nice stories from John about his obsession with Hawks, Wayne and various westerns as well as getting to see a few brief clips from some of his USC student films. Again, those who know the man's work isn't going to learn anything new here but if you've got time to kill then this isn't too bad.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A basic documentary on John Carpenter's work up until "Ghosts of Mars". While it is a retrospective in the typical fashion of a popular and influential filmmaker, I think Carpenter's fans will still probably enjoy the interviews with some of the actors who have appeared in his movies. There is a feminine narrative voice who navigates us through his filmmaking history; interestingly, the doc doesn't necessarily go through them in chronological order, but according to the emphasis on his style and approach and reaction to the work after the movies are released. You could watch the Masters of Horror doc and get a lot of what you see here, but I personally enjoyed further insight by those like Jamie Lee Curtis (who says she wouldn't introduce John to her kids because he'd probably scare the hell out of her!), the late Debra Hill (I was finally happy to see her and Curtis address the elephant in the room, in that John and Andrienne Barbeau were married just after him and Hill were romantically involved, admitting that there was pain on the set of "The Fog"), Peter Fonda (who felt a particular thrill in sharing a moment in the friendship between Carpenter and Kurt Russell), Greg Nicoterro (insight on the reaction to "The Thing" from those reacting negatively to the gore), Stacey Keach (was asked if he'd like to take the "Lee Van Cleef" role in "Escape from LA" which he was quite honored to accept), Nick Castle (commenting on how amusing it was that him, being one of the nicest guys in the world, asked to play such a menace as Michael Myers), Kurt Russell (mentioning that "The Thing" was just as much about how paranoia breaks down a team of people than the memorable special effects), and Alice Cooper (who appeared in "Prince of Darkness", saying "horror guys" are some of the coolest guys he knows, less grim than comedians he knows!). Peter Jason mentions how Donald Pleasance would attempt to crack them up on "Prince of Darkness" and how the plot for that complicated movie was presented to them. There's familiar material to John's fans about his Kentucky past, his USC film school, commercializing the college project, "Dark Star", and the process and response to films he made. This is more elaborate on the Carpenter staples, while not exactly dwelling too much with his less recognized efforts. Carpenter relates how James Woods wanted to be the "main guy" who walks through the door with shades on and guns blazing instead of the memorable supporting guy following behind someone else. There's the admittance that John basically stole from Hawks when making many of his movies, and further opinion and explanation from others who know him best regarding the themes and directorial style behind the work so many of us admire and respect today. As you could expect, plenty of time is spent on "Halloween", but I was glad "Assault on Precinct 13" got some love. "Starman" is mentioned as the film that would return John to a more "likable" filmmaker after "The Thing" left him nicknamed the "pornographer of violence". Comments on how he allowed a "maverick of special effects" to go crazy on "The Thing", from Nicoterro, and in doing so later garner much cult love, spoke on Carpenter's work having a lasting durability due to taking chances. There is an undeniable familiarity to a bit of the doc content, but I don't think his fans will mind too much.
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