Tag Archives: Horror

John Carpenter on Aging Alongside His Horror Masterworks


“It’s not precious, none of this is. I just want to enjoy myself,” John Carpenter says. He’s reflecting on the music he wrote for his pioneering films, which have been recently anthologized in a new collection, Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998. These days, Carpenter is well-known as the director of cult (and occasionally commercially successful) films such as Assault on Precinct 13, They Live, Halloween, The Fog, Big Trouble in Little China, and Escape From New York. But when he was a young, broke, and ambitious filmmaker in the ’70s, necessity often required him to take on other roles: writer, editor, producer, and composer. The music he wrote for his movies is the perfect complement to his visual aesthetic: Moody drones and ominous, throbbing slabs of synthesizer (an instrument of which Carpenter was an early adopter) mark the scores to many of his films, while the chilling piano stabs that comprise the classic theme from Halloween are still able to provoke an automatic feeling of dread—especially in people who saw the film when they were perhaps too young. One of those people is Trent Reznor who, along with Atticus Ross, remixed the track with Carpenter’s blessing. “We left the theater forever changed. We were damaged and scarred, with the shit genuinely scared out of us and that theme stuck firmly in our heads,” Reznor says.

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