The Films of John Carpenter


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About the Book

The films of John Carpenter cover a tremendous range and yet all bear his clear personal stamp. From the horrifying (Halloween) to the touching (Starman) to the controversial (The Thing) to the comic (Big Trouble in Little China), his films reflect a unique approach to filmmaking and singular views of humanity and American culture.
This analysis of Carpenter’s films includes a historical overview of his career, and in-depth entries on each of his films, from 1975’s Dark Star to 1998’s Vampires. Complete cast and production information is provided for each. The book also covers those films written and produced by Carpenter, such as Halloween II and Black Moon Rising, as well as Carpenter’s work for television. Appendices are included on films Carpenter was offered but turned down, the slasher films that followed in the wake of the highly-successful Halloween, the actors and characters who make repeated appearances in Carpenter’s films, and ratings for Carpenter’s work. Notes, bibliography, and index are included.

About the Author(s)

John Kenneth Muir is the author of more than 20 reference books covering science fiction and horror on film and television. He is creator of the Internet sci-fi series The House Between ( and his popular blog can be found at

Bibliographic Details

John Kenneth Muir
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 275
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [2000]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2269-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9348-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii

Introduction     1

I: A History and Overview of John Carpenter’s Career     5

II: The Films of John Carpenter     53

III: Films Written and Produced by John Carpenter     195

IV: John Carpenter on Television     231

V: Epilogue: We Are Transmitting from the Year 1999…     239

Appendix A: Some Directing Opportunities John Carpenter has Turned Down     241

Appendix B: Slasher Films that Followed John Carpenter’s Halloween     242

Appendix C: The John Carpenter Repertory Company     244

Appendix D: Recurring Characters in the Films of John Carpenter     246

Appendix E: Rating John Carpenter     248

Notes     251

Bibliography     332

Index     341

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “informative and entertaining”—ARBA; “I found this book an enjoyable experience”—SFCrowsnest; “cogent and insightful…contain[s] excellent resources”—SFRA Review; “thorough…enjoyable”—Crimson Celluloid; “tells you the story behind the story…will have you heading for the Horror and Sci-Fi section at your local video store”—Cult Movies; “extensive credit lists”—Video Watchdog; “impressive”—Fandom; “complete credits, a very lengthy synopsis, and an equally lengthy commentary”—Classic Images; “excellent…get this most enjoyable book”—Hitch; “a detailed history…will delight Carpenter fans seeking hidden meanings in his multi-layered works”—The Intelligencer Record; “a very interesting read”—Little Shoppe of Horrors.