05 December 2004

Carpenter (1993-1994)

1993 - Body Bags - Horror vets like Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, Roger Corman and David Naughton, 60s model Twiggy, Luke Skywalker, and Sheena Easton are all mixed up in one of those all-too-rare Creepshow-style horror anthology movies. Nice job on the casting!

"The Morgue" - Carpenter hosts these wraparound segments himself. He's such a goofball in this part of the movie, you can't help but crack a grin. The character strikes me as strange, however. I don't think of Carpenter as a blood-and-guts moviemaker and his Coroner here plays against that impression.

"The Gas Station" - "Do I still have it in me?" is the question Carpenter must have asked himself -- 15 years after Halloween -- before filming this segment. He even rips himself off at one point using the "killer gets up in the blurred background as the heroine rests in the foreground" trick. Carpenter does play with some new (for him) camera tricks and I dig the cold, blue lighting of the gas station. A decent morsel of slasherness.

"Hair" - The weakest of the three stories. At the end, when Stacy Keach looks directly at the camera -- twice -- I couldn't tell if that was his way of acting like his brain had been eating by hair-aliens, or if it was an intentional wink-wink to the audience, acknowledging that this segment was meant to be taken lightly. If the latter, Carpenter didn't do a very good job of making the previous stuff in this segment wink-wink funny.

"Eye" (Directed by Tobe Hooper) - Ostensively, this has the strongest story of the three, yet it drags. Probably this is because, only two years prior, the definitive "serial killer body part transplant takes over a person" movie came out in the form of Body Parts. The idea ain't exactly original, so we're mostly left waiting for the good stuff to start happening. The good stuff, unfortunately, doesn't really pay off too much at the end.

1994 - In the Mouth of Madness - After a six-year absence, we finally get another true Carpenter-style movie. Probably the best Lovecraft film ever made not based on a real story. I can't really say anything objective about this one, as I have double-found memories of it from youth. For one, this was the first Carpenter movie I was able to see in the theater. And, way back when, I entered and won a "John Carpenter Trivia Contest" on AOL. The prize: a poster for this movie signed by the man himself. It hangs on my home theater wall with pride to this day.

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