Tuesday, July 05, 2011
What happened to John Carpenter?
Ed here: As a John Carpenter fan I was eager to read this. I don't agree with all of it but I think he does try to post a reasonable understanding of Carpenter's virtues and shortcomings.
Horror-meister John Carpenter's mediocre comeback
The director of "Halloween" and "The Thing" is back -- with another middling spookfest. Where did things go wrong?
BY ANDREW O'HEHIR
Much of the coverage of John Carpenter's new film, "The Ward" -- or rather "John Carpenter's The Ward," as some of the P.R. material distressingly insists -- revolves around the idea that the legendary horror-meister gets to take a mulligan on this one. Hell, the guy made "Halloween" and "The Thing" (or so the argument seems to go), and we're grateful to have him back making features after a decade-long hiatus, even if the result is a mediocre mental-hospital shocker starring Amber Heard that feels an awful lot like a low-budget knockoff of Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch."
I'd be happy to go along with that argument, if it made any sense. Unfortunately, "The Ward" fits entirely too well in Carpenter's oeuvre, which is consistently inconsistent. There's no disputing Carpenter's place in the history of horror movies, or his status as a genuine pioneer of American independent filmmaking. When somebody challenged me, a year or so ago, to one of those Facebook exercises where you name the 10 directors most important to you, right off the top of your head without cogitating or Googling, Carpenter made the list. (Along with Wes Craven and Paul Verhoeven and Michael Haneke and David Cronenberg and Tarkovsky and ... let's not get sidetracked, but it's a cool little self-administered personality test.) And it's not like "The Ward" is unbelievably terrible or anything. Hell, go see it, or better yet watch it on pay-per-view: It's a competent horror flick with creepy wide-screen atmospherics, a decent cast and a thoroughly worn-out premise, better than 75 percent of the genre.
for the rest go here: