Here, in some more exclusive excerpts from John Carpenter - The Prince of Darkness a new book consisting of interviews with cult director John Carpenter, is the man in his own words . . .


[…] I got fed up with being told over and over again that it was so beneficial to be a consumer. We are no longer producing anything in the United States. We are just consuming and eating our way through. We are buying things, accumulating things, throwing money away, but we aren’t making anything good anymore. It was just starting to outrage me. I was more reacting on an intellectual level than on an emotional level.

It’s a movie speaking out against unrestrained capitalism. Since I don’t think Marxism is the solution, I wouldn’t say it’s a Marxist movie.


He [Chevy Chase] didn’t want to play a broad comedy. He wanted to start a career as a more serious actor – and that was the problem. We tried to straddle the line and it didn’t work. It did not work! He was the star and took the fall when the movie was not a big hit, so in a way he showed courage. He still sends me a Christmas card every year.

If you have noticed, I don’t have my name above the title in that film: There’s no “A film by,” there’s no “John Carpenter’s.” So it’s not mine.


We shot Village of the Damned up in West Marin County. I had a house in Inverness for several years, so this was essentially my second home. The locals, however, were not happy to see us. They made the shoot very difficult. While we were shooting a sound take, a neighbor would start mowing his lawn or start up a chainsaw until he was paid to stop. Some of them tried to break into our equipment trucks. Vandalism, harassment, you know the bit. The whole experience essentially soured me on living in this most beautiful of areas.


I had a day – just one day – to think about the cut before I had to send [a workprint] off [to studio executives]. That’s not long enough to let yourself live with it a little bit and see what’s good and bad about it, what you can do to make it better. It’s a terrible situation. But we are all complaining about that. I’m not the only one. Directors are becoming in general less important on a movie. Studios are slowly usurping our power. We don’t want shortened postproduction schedules. Some schedules are down to seven weeks from the time you are finishing shooting to the time you are in the theaters. Seven weeks! It used to be twenty-six. But who cares? What does it matter? From the executives’ point of vie, from Hollywood’s point of view, they have their hits so they don’t care. Plus the fact that they don’t have to pay so much interest on their loans. It’s all mainly about money . . .


I agree that Ghosts of Mars is, in some way, a summation of various ideas and themes that I’ve explored in Assault on Precinct 13 and The Thing, as well as other films. And why not?


John Carpenter: The Prince of Darkness
by Gilles Boulenger
$19.95 paper  
296 pages, 6x9, B&W photos, plus 24-page color section
ISBN: 1-879505-67-3

Silman-James Press
(distributed by SCB Distributors)
Pub. date August 2003




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