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John Carpenter: The Prince of Darkness - An Exclusive Interview with the Director of 'Halloween' and 'The Thing' Paperback – 7 Aug 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press (7 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879505673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879505674
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 853,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

Quintessential horror movie director John Carpenter is a true film auteur -- a writer, director, composer, producer, editor, and actor - whose unique and inspired work has brought him the praise and admiration of film critics and horror cultists alike. He is both the product of and an important participant in the American filmmaking tradition, and the intelligent, moody, and strange films with which his name is so quickly associated are sometimes simply Westerns in disguise. Essentially, a lively, candid interview with Carpenter, this book thoroughly discusses each of his films and covers his background, his inspirations, and his ups and downs in Hollywood. Among the many and varied subjects that pop up are his Bible Belt childhood, German expressionism, Howard Hawks, John Wayne, The King, Barbra Streisand, Michael Myers, Kurt Russell, Stephen King, quantum physics, and attractive female extras. Included are exclusive still photographs, a filmography, and a Foreword by Halloween III director Tommy Lee Wallace.


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Format: Paperback
I was curious about this book for one simple reason, how could such a great director, who produced the likes of halloween, the thing and escape from new york, have gone so down hill over the last few years? This book covers all his films upto and including ghosts of mars. In a series of interviews he covers his life story and influences, before discussing each of his films in great detail. He is brutally honest in his conversations over what is right and wrong with each of his films,and the difficulties and opposition that he faced, especially from the critics. Time I feel has been kind to a lot of his films, the thing was deemed a flop at the time, but is now considered a classic with special effects that beat a lot of modern films hands down. Halloween is the original, copied many times, bur rarely beaten. Did the book answer my original question? Yes, but you'll have to read it for yourself to find out. A must for fans, and still a good read for the mildly intrested
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Format: Paperback
I love John Carpenter, his works, his person, and this book has a lot of both. Very useful, great pictures and really great words from the man who directed The Thing, Halloween and other horror and science fiction classics as They Live or The Prince of Darkness. The interview covers the hole filmography, movie by movie. Great.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like Carpenter talking to you in your living room 8 Dec. 2003
By James Nemeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In John Carpenter: The Prince of Darkness, French author and magazine publisher Gilles Boulenger conducts a lengthy (book-length, obviously!) interview with the man who has done more for the horror movie genre than any other director working today.
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.
Author Boulenger is an intelligent and insightful interviewer. He seems to know every minute detail about Carpenter's movies and often brings to the table telling insights and interpretations that even Carpenter hadn't thought of, but readily agrees to.
The book is generously illustrated with photographs and some sketches, including a handsome 24-page collection of color photos.
Only a few minor problems for me with the book: while each of Carpenter's films are touched on and discussed, some are not "...thoroughly..." discussed as the book's back cover offers. While one can argue their quality or importance, some films, such as Body Bags and Elvis: The Movie--among others--are allotted just one or two pages.
Also, while the behind-the-scenes photos in the book are interesting and fun to have, many of the production photos reproduced here are very common and have been seen many times before. More unique, less often-seen photos would have been nice.
But those two minor quibbles cannot begin to take away from the greater achievement of the book - a fascinating, thoughtful, career-spanning, one-on-one personal conversation with the man who's made some of the most important and interesting horror movies in the past few decades.
Highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Primer 7 Dec. 2003
By Sebastien Pharand - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
John Carpenter: Prince of Darkness is a great primer for all of Carpenter's fans. You will not learn much about the man's life, or the man himself for that matter. Even though this is an interview book, Carpenter reveals suprisingly little about himself. Some of his ideas and convictions are touched upon, but briefly.
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. Maybe I feel this way because I'm such a big fan of Carpenter's and I'd love reading more about his thoughts and ideas. I guess that proves I'm a true fan. And after reading this book, I'm sure you will become one as well.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential for any fan of John Carpenter. 29 Feb. 2004
By Chadwick H. Saxelid - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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 behind the camera. This book changes all that with a lengthy interview that touches on topics both professional and personal. Both film buffs and Carpenter fans will come away feeling as if they have been talking with the quiet, self-deprecating man that has written, scored, and directed such trend starting classics as Halloween and Escape from New York. This is required reading for any Carpenter fan. Highest recommendation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for Carpenter fans! 1 Oct. 2003
By Marco - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
John Carpenter is a legendary director(well this depends of the country and the people...)and he deserves every book written about him.This book has an excellent introduction by tommy lee wallace, and in the next pages we have a gigantic interview with the man himself. For us, Carpenter fans, many things Carpenter says we already know, but there are some suprises. A must have for every Carpenter Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars AN AMAZING BOOK 28 Aug. 2006
By Nikolaos Oikonomidis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent work,probably the best thing a John Carpenter fan could wish for,almost as fascinating and exciting as the movies themselves,John Carpenter in his own words,with the help of the excellent questions provided by the author,most of them of the kind I would like to raise myself.Only fault there is not much talk on his latest movies,at least not to the extent I would like.A great book to read and have,and a great gift to everyone who ever really felt what a John Carpenter film feels like.
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