UMU takes a look back on Rob’s Sunday’s With… weekend column as he’s explored “John Carpenter” films such as ‘The Thing’ and ‘They Live’ and offered an answer as to why the visionary director is indeed a horror master.
As the month of May winds down, so does my first month here at UMU. It would be an understatement to say I am enjoying doing this every week; it is an even bigger thrill to have you all enjoy each weekly installment and reach out and converse about them. This month has been dubbed my “Sunday’s With… John Carpenter” month because he is not only my favorite horror, science fiction director but he has also made some of the smartest, thought provoking films in an often stale genre. (Not counting the classic Universal Monsters films, that is.) Mr. Carpenter’s films often take on topics that resonate with society as a whole and he entwines it with his horror, and science fiction approach that always equals a good time.
Thus far I have gone back and reviewed several Carpenter classics including:
The Thing: “The Thing is a science fiction classic plain and simple. It did not open to much success but has since become a cult classic. Why is that? At the root of this film we see characters and how they deal with an overwhelming sense of paranoia. This is a feeling that all of us in some way can relate too. What if the people I am working with or friends with really aren’t who I think they are? Especially in this time of social and political uneasiness the feeling of who can I really trust is a strong sensation for most of us.”
They Live: “The eighties is a decade that is usually debated as either being a good time of excess or as a time of struggle and this film captures that perfectly. They Live takes the middle and lower class questions of “how are we allowing this to happen?” and giving it an extraterrestrial face. The very idea of disguising most of the affluent and upper class as aliens is a brilliant segue to try and explain the uneasiness of the time.”
Prince of Darkness: “Whenever science meets religion we expect the fact vs. faith argument, and this film is no different. We have the devout priest and the secular scientist have a conversation, however it is minor and that is a breath of fresh air as many films concerning this topic have the same played out argument that rarely causes the viewer to think. Prince of darkness merges these two different and often stubborn fields of thought: the evil in the basement is real and powerful, but it is powerful because of scientific reasons.”
Village Of The Damned: “Horror and science fiction films often take an everyday unease or social problem and goes about exploring that topic in a fictional way, and this film attempts to do the same. From the start of the movie, with the unexpected pregnancies, we are smacked in the face with the topic of not only an unexpected pregnancy, but also of the fall out of this discovery.”
Believe me when I say that I have something BIG planned for my May finale so stayed tuned for that this weekend!
I also wanted to take this opportunity to give everyone a little glimpse into the future of these weekly pieces. June brings about the beginning of summer and in celebration of this I am going to take a look into another visionary director’s library of films. As the summer continues on, I will be moving away from the director topic catalogue and delve into some creature features that are all bound by a common theme. (June is also my birthday month. For anyone interested, I’ll accept any and all Kurt Russell memorabilia!)
I would love to get your recommendations as to some flicks you would like to hear me ramble about, so please fill up the comment section with your recommendations and I’ll be sure to take on as many as I can!