Interesting piece on John Carpenter whose fall from grace continues to facsinate and confound me. He was so good and then so bad.
John Carpenter Lives in a BAM Retrospective
Spend Labor Day with The Thing
By Scott Foundas
Wednesday, August 27th 2008
I'm not sure if John Carpenter ever actually spoke the oft-reproduced quote: "In France, I'm an auteur; in Germany, I'm a filmmaker; in England, I'm a genre director; in the U.S., I'm a bum." But as an Old West newspaperman once advised a certain U.S. senator: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
Besides, those words sound like something Carpenter would say—or, if not him, one of his swaggering, mullet-haired, tough-guy alter egos. It's certainly true that Hollywood never quite knew what to make of this tall, lanky Kentuckian with his healthy distrust of corporate America and his colorful, trucker-bar repertory company, keeping him around only so long as his brand of subversive B-movie mastery continued to generate healthy returns on investment.
"The Thing (1982) was Hawks again, even if Carpenter's version owed more to John W. Campbell Jr.'s short story and to Carpenter's own abiding interest in the duality of man than to the 1951 movie. A flop upon its release (by Universal, two weeks after Spielberg's E.T.), this spatial masterpiece of desolate Arctic vistas at odds with close-quarters claustrophobia has since been hailed as a high totem of modern horror-making. There remains something deeply unnerving about Carpenter's ambiguity as to whether the movie's shape-shifting alien is distorting its hosts' personalities or merely revealing something of their primal selves.
"... there are two ways of seeing Carpenter: as a proficient genre director or as a kind of blue-collar shaman, waking us up to the all-too-real horrors of the modern world and its many threats to individuality and consciousness. He is what the late Manny Farber deemed a termite artist, nibbling away at the borders with his seemingly innocuous, low-budget quickies, unnoticed by most—which is, after all, the best way to stage a revolution."
Copyright © 2008 Village Voice LLC • 36 Cooper Square • New York NY 10003
He's still alive though less and less responsive. My mother was very happy that he woke up for about twenty minutes this morning and they talked. I had a good talk with my stepsister Linda this afternoon, too. She's always been a sweetie.
Has anybody noted that McCain choosing Sarah Palin is really the premise of a bad Hwood comedy? In the La La Land version she ends up as the completely inexperienced but tender-hearted Ms. Prez who proves to be the best president our country has ever had. But if you've been reading the blogs that are reprinting what the Alaskan newspapers have been saying about her all day--you'll realize just how terrifying this vp nomination really is. And what a psycho McCain is.