John Carpenter: The Prince of Darkness Paperback – Jan 1 2007
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In the book, Carpenter touches on and discusses each of his films - from the student project Dark Star from 1970 to his most recent (at the time of this book) The Ghosts Of Mars - revealing his thoughts and memories on the inspiration, method, problems, filming, cast, box office, lessons learned from his successes and failures, and more.
We learn of such disparate topics as: his first initial directing efforts as a child; being inspired by German expressionism; the inspiration drawn from Howard Hawks movies and how many of Carpenter's films are simply westerns in disguise; his early obsession and present-day compulsion to make films; and even trying to write a movie for Barbara Streisand (sort of!);
It is a wonderful, in-depth look into the mind of a modern-day director. Particularly interesting is seeing, through Carpenter's own words, his growth in maturity as a director, both in his craft and, sadly, learning how the "studio system" really works--executives who don't know what they're doing making decisions that usually worked to the disadvantage of the film.
Through the book we read, fascinated, as Carpenter's career comes to resemble a roller coaster - we read as the director's films slowly rise in terms of success, accolades, and budget, culminating in a huge hit or peak - invariably followed by a huge failure, sending Carpenter plummeting back down the ride that is a career as a film director, resulting in him basically having to start over from scratch.Read more ›
This book is really like a short making-of for each of Carpenter's films, starting with his early childhood efforts to his latest Hollywood venture, Ghosts of Mars. In here, you will learn all about the troubles he had getting into the business and the way in which he persevered, until he made the one film that made him famous.
That film, Halloween, is discusses in great lengths in this book. And why not? This is probably Carpenter's most famous (and arguably best) film. But the fun doesn't stop there. You'll get great interviews about the Escape films, about The Thing, about Big Trouble in Little China, about Vampires, about They Live, Prince of Darkness, Christine, The Fog... Each and every film Carpenter has touched is discussed here.
I have to admit that I had a great deal of fun reading the chapter on my favourite film of his, In The Mouth of Madness. I loved reading all the little anecdotes and about all the problems he faced while doing these films. As a matter of fact, Carpenter opens up and tells all about the making of these films and keeps very little secret (except in the case of Ghost of Mars, where he turns suddenly very cold and evasive).
My only problem with this book is that it is too short. You never feel like you're getting the whole story. These short chapters (most of them barely 10 pages long, half of these pages comprised of pictures) never really get into the films themselves. The interviews sometime feel a bit shallow.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
this book is great. it covers every film in good detail and carpenter doesn't sugar coat any details and shares some great stories. Read morePublished on April 30 2004 by Benjamin Dotson
While I have always been a huge fan of John Carpenter, enjoying each of his movies on more than just one level, I never really knew that much personal information about the man... Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2004 by Chadwick H. Saxelid