Although the horror auteur is retired from filmmaking, he still enjoys watching great horror films.
John Carpenter is one of the few masters of horror that still enjoys the strange films that play with the tropes of the genre. The horror director doesn’t take himself or the world of cinema too seriously, often opting to talk and celebrate anything other than his one work.
The director-turned-full-time-composer is currently producing and composing the score for the upcoming Halloween Ends, which serves as the “cathartic” conclusion to the Halloween franchise.
In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Carpenter didn’t want to talk too much about his work, often talking about what video games he enjoyed playing, his love for the Warriors, and what new horror movies he enjoyed. When asked if there was any horror movie he thought was great, Carpenter picked the Swedish romantic horror film, Let the Right One In.
Let The Right One In is an odd horror movie that follows a 12-year-old boy who develops a friendship with a strange child in the suburb of Stockholm in the early 1980s. Directed by Tomas Alfredson and based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s coming-of-age vampire novel, the film focused on the budding romance of two individuals trying to find their place in the world.
“I thought there was a great one that came along, called Let the Right One In,” Carpenter said. “I thought that was a movie that reinvents the vampire genre—it really does—and I admire it for that.”
The film got an American remake in 2010 by Matt Reeves titled Let Me In, which received critical acclaim and praise from the author.
“Let Me In is a dark and violent love story, a beautiful piece of cinema and a respectful rendering of my novel for which I am grateful. Again,” Lindqvist said during an interview with MTV.
It is no surprise that Carpenter has great taste in vampire stories. Let the Right One In landed on IndieWire’s Eric Kohn 2017 rundown of the best foreign-language films of the 21st century, citing Alfredson’s ability to merge a “Spielbergian sense of childhood awe with the dread of a darker world just outside the frame.”
But don’t tell Carpenter that the vampire film has a hint of Spielberg’s storytelling trademarks scattered throughout its story. Carpenter drew a clear line between himself and the directors who are mythologized as the New Hollywood—which includes Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola.
“No, no I don’t know those bums—er, guys,” Carpenter said. “I did know the horror directors. I was friends with all of them. Tobe Hooper and George Romero, those guys.”
But with all jokes aside, Carpenter spent much of his interview highlighting some of the greatest filmmakers he has worked with, naming Dean Cundey as “the best cinematographer I ever worked with.”
The horror auteur understands that directors are trying their best to create their vision, but everything is stressful during production. The stress of filmmaking is what caused Carpenter to retire from directing and shift his focus on composing.
“I remember seeing a behind-the-scenes [featurette of Ghost in Mars], and it showed me on set working, sitting in the scoring session. God, I’d aged. Tired and ancient,” Carpenter said. “And I thought, I can’t do this anymore. It was too rough. For me, it became not worth it. And I didn’t want to say that about movies. Movies are my first love, my life.”
What vampire movie do you think reinvented the vampire genre? Let us know in the comments below!