“Cult Cinema Icon” John Carpenter injects the B-movie genres of horror, sci-fi, action—with the bravura stylistic technique of classical Hollywood giants like Howard Hawks and John Ford. Boasting “one of the most consistent and coherent bodies of work in modern cinema” (Kent Jones, Film Comment), his work spans four decades and bears the mark of his mastery of the widescreen frame, instantly recognizable synthesizer scores, and defiantly anti-establishment attitude.
Beginning Friday, February 6th and running through Sunday, February 22nd, BAM Cinématek presents John Carpenter: Master of Fear, a complete retrospective of the director’s feature films. The series opens with his breakout 1978 hit Halloween, one of the most profitable independent films ever made, which introduced audiences to iconic horror villain Michael Myers. Other series highlights include 1982 horror masterworks The Thing (screening Feb. 7th), 1980’s The Fog (screening Feb. 8th), and 1987’s Prince of Darkness (screening on Feb. 11th); Carpenter’s debut feature – the 1974 film Dark Star (screening Feb. 12th); films featuring frequent collaborator Kurt Russell, such as the 1981 cult classic Escape from New York (screening Feb. 21st), and 1986’s Big Trouble in Little China (screening Feb. 13th); the 1988 cult dystopian thriller They Live (screening Feb. 20th), the 1984 sci-fi romance Starman (screening Feb. 22nd), plus more.
The retrospective series also features Carpenter Selects, a sidebar showcasing three films with exceptional scores that the director has cited as influences on his work: William Friedkin’s Sorcerer (1977—Feb 16), Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs (1971—Feb 15), and sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet (1956—Feb 17). In conjunction with the upcoming release of his first solo album Lost Themes (Sacred Bones Records), BAM is presenting this tribute to the Cult Cinema Icon with a rare in-person conversation and full-career film retrospective.
The highlight of the series will feature Carpenter himself, who has composed the score to nearly all of his films, on Thursday, February 5th. The filmmaker will celebrate the upcoming release of his album Lost Themes – which is available on Sacred Bones Records on February 3rd – as he joins NPR “On the Media” host Brooke Gladstone for a rare discussion of his work in film and music.
Check out the schedule below and Click Here for tickets and additional information.
John Carpenter: Lost Themes
Thu, Feb 5, 2015
“One of the greatest horror directors of all time” (The New York Times) joins NPR host Brooke Gladstone for a rare discussion of his legendary work in film and music.
Fri, Feb 6, 2015
Carpenter’s ultra-influential, breakout commercial hit—which made a horror icon out of the babysitter-stalking maniac Michael Myers—is a virtual master class in suspense, starring Jamie Lee Curtis.
Sat, Feb 7, 2015
John Carpenter’s spine-tingling, nightmarish revision of Howard Hawks’ sci-fi thriller features explosive FX, loads of gore, claustrophobic interiors, and an eerie, doomful score by Ennio Morricone.
Sun, Feb 8, 2015
Carpenter backs away from the horror shocks of Halloween for this ridiculously underrated chill-fest starring mother-daughter team Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis.
In the Mouth of Madness
Mon, Feb 9, 2015
The capstone of John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy (The Thing, Prince of Darkness) finds the director revealing the darkly fantastic beneath the everyday.
Memoirs of an Invisible Man
Tue, Feb 10, 2015
Chevy Chase stars as a stock analyst rendered invisible by a freak lab accident in Carpenter’s sci-fi comedy featuring a torrent of breathtaking special effects. Co-starring Daryl Hannah and Sam Neill.
Prince of Darkness
Wed, Feb 11, 2015
Carpenter returned to his indie horror roots with this atmospheric chiller—featuring surreal imagery worthy of Buñuel—in which a priest uncovers the long-dormant spawn of Satan.
Thu, Feb 12, 2015
This funny sci-fi flick features a mischievous alien that looks like a beach ball, a sexy computer, and a bomb with a God complex.
Big Trouble in Little China
Fri, Feb 13, 2015
Kurt Russell sends up John Wayne-style machismo while infiltrating the fantastical underworld of San Francisco’s Chinatown in Carpenter’s breathlessly imaginative kung-fu spectacle.
Assault on Precinct 13
Sun, Feb 15, 2015
A marauding street gang terrorizes an LA police station in Carpenter’s lean, mean second feature, set to a pulse-poundingly iconic synth score and featuring a notoriously shocking ice cream truck scene.
Mon, Feb 16, 2015
A high school nerd’s possessive 1958 Plymouth Fury goes on a killing rampage in Carpenter’s sleek and stylish horror joyride, one of the all-time best Stephen King adaptations.
Feb 17—Feb 18, 2015
Carpenter’s bone-crunching horror-western hybrid stars James Woods as a vampire slayer facing off against rough-and-tumble bloodsuckers in New Mexico.
Village of the Damned
Wed, Feb 18, 2015
Carpenter’s remake of the 1960 horror classic—in which creepily affectless, peroxide-blonde demon-children terrorize a small town—injects some potent new shocks into the proceedings.
Thu, Feb 19, 2015
Carpenter returned from a nearly decade-long hiatus with this nerve-jangling, 1960s-set thriller, in which a teenage pyromaniac is confined to an ominous asylum terrorized by a ghostly presence.
Ghosts of Mars
Thu, Feb 19, 2015
A phantom Martian force turns victims into goth-like zombies in Carpenter’s pure pleasure pulp shoot-em-up, which giddily combines sci-fi, western, horror, and police movie tropes.
Fri, Feb 20, 2015
OBEY. CONSUME. CONFORM. A drifter discovers that America is being controlled by yuppie aliens in this anti-establishment classic, the ultimate Reagan-era rebuttal.
Escape from New York
Sat, Feb 21, 2015
Carpenter shows off his formidable stylistic chops in this classic dystopian thriller, in which grizzled convict Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) must rescue the president from the floating cesspool of Manhattan.
Escape from L.A.
Sat, Feb 21, 2015
Kurt Russell’s eye-patch-sporting antihero Snake Plissken returns in this eye-popping sequel to Escape From New York in which he must survive a kamikaze mission through a post-apocalyptic L.A.
Sun, Feb 22, 2015
An Oscar-nominated Jeff Bridges is a genial alien trying to survive his visit to Earth in Carpenter’s surprisingly sensitive sci-fi road movie/romance.
Sun, Feb 15, 2015
Pushing the envelope with its ultra-violence, Sam Peckinpah’s Oscar-nominated dissection of tormented masculinity and marital strife stars Dustin Hoffman in one of his most harrowing roles.
Mon, Feb 16, 2015
Tangerine Dream’s pulse-pounding electronic score heightens the quivering, existential dread in William Friedkin’s underrated masterpiece.
Tue, Feb 17, 2015
A rarity among 1950s sci-fi flicks, this inventive, big-budget film with startlingly imaginative special effects and the first completely electronic film score.