An evening with Legendary Director: John Carpenter

Updated: Feb 23

Fantasia International Film Festival hosted a Masterclass with John Carpenter who spilled tea about poor quality horror, life on set and that rumoured The Thing Reboot.

Carpenter is proud of his work on The Thing - and he still speaks to Kurt Russell

John Carpenter received a Lifetime Achievement award from Fantasia International Film Festival. As part of its virtual programme, Fantasia offered a Masterclass with John Carpenter to fans around the world.

Carpenter described The Thing as the film he is most proud of. Fans asked whether the Blumhouse reboot of The Thing was a prequel, sequel or a remake of Carpenters 1982 work. Carpenter cheerfully refused to answer the specifics but confirmed his involvement in the project. Like many fans, I am unsure as to how I feel about a remake of The Thing. Carpenters 1982 film is an absolute classic and still delivers the scares nearly 40 years - and countless viewings - later. Whilst the 2011 version was intended to be a prequel, it tanked. One of the criticisms was the overuse of poor CGI effects. I would hope that any remake retains the charms and realism of practical special effects that made countless generations fall in love with the 1982 film. I am confident that having John Carpenter involved in the film will guarantee the films success.

Lamenting that there was a lot of poor quality horror films being released, Carpenters advice to aspiring film-makers was to 'first work out whether you have talent and if you do, then stick with it'. Whilst the advice to stick with one aspect of film-making, be in cinematography, directing or writing and become a master is great advice, I dare say if some had the self-reflection necessary to recognise where their talents lie there may not be so many terrible films out there! Of course, one problem facing genre filmmakers is budget restraints. The films of the 70's and 80's had significantly larger budgets. Carpenters The Thing had a budget of $15 million, whilst the majority of genre filmmakers are lucky to receive investment of £100,000 and often fund films themselves.

Describing directing as 'a younger mans game' Carpenter says he now enjoys composing music and has been involved in scoring Halloween Kills. He enjoys gaming and has spent Lockdown playing Bethesda's Fallout 76.

Carpenter was pressed about projects had been rumoured to work on, as well as infamous falling out with various people on set. I will say that I never like hearing people speak ill of others professionally so it was disappointing to hear Carpenter spilling the tea on people he didn't like. However, it was nice to hear after working on numerous films together, Carpenter is still close friends with Kurt Russell. You can watch the Masterclass - gossip and all - below.

Many thanks again to Fantasia International Film Festival for organising this exceptional opportunity for Carpenter fans.

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