John Carpenter is the God of Cult Films | Fanboys Anonymous

John Carpenter is the God of Cult Films

Posted by Unknown Sunday, August 3, 2014
It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum.... and I'm all outta gum. 

John Carpenter is one of the greatest directors of all time. Yet many people either don't know who he is or fail to recognize his genius. It's too bad because the guy deserves much more praise for his skills as both a storyteller and filmmaker. The fact that so many of his films have bombed at the box office is perplexing and the fact they have enjoyed success as "cult" films, ones that find their fandom outside of the mainstream, is heartening. Once people discover something like They Live, they get it; they understand how amazing Carpenter is.

roddy piper in they live director john carpenter film
Got any bubble gum?
Since I mentioned it already, let's begin with They Live, a little sci-fi conspiracy thriller starring the great "Rowdy" Roddy Piper of pro wrestling fame. I love this movie! The great things you can expect with a Carpenter film are the great music, the straight forward storytelling, and the absolute disregard for his character's well-being. Based on a short story about the pratfalls of greed, brainwashing techniques, and the paranoia surrounding a possible alien invasion, They Live is a very deep film. Themes include subliminal messages, resistance against the status quo, and the influence of the mass media. I suppose these heavy themes are part of why it failed to produce much revenue upon release. Among the more glitzy action films of the 80's, this gem failed to make an impression. This is crazy, because it features one of the best fight scenes in movie history between Piper and Keith David.

the thing horror film cult status directed by john carpenter starring kurt russel
Another under-the-radar, mega-awesome film of Carpenter's is The Thing. It has grown to almost legendary status now, but at theaters it fizzled and faded fast. It's dark and depressing, so I get why movie goers maybe didn't go for it. Plus, it had to compete with the likes of E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial and that's impossible. It was criticized for being technically brilliant, but excessively gory. That wouldn't happen today; it looks tame compared to most horror films of the 21st Century. The Thing is a masterpiece of terror and story construction. The alien creature is one of the most frightening creatures ever put on film. This is one of the best sci-fi horror films ever made.

Kurt Russell, versatile actor as he is, would go on to do four other films with John Carpenter, including one of top ten favorite films ever, Big Trouble in Little China. This is another cult classic and one of the wildest, craziest thrill rides of all action movies. It combines elements of kung-fu and comedy in equal measure. I think this may be why it failed to take off at the box office. It was just so hard to market something like this. What is it? An action comedy? A kung fu film? Science fiction, horror, fantasy, what? It's all of that and more. This is both why it's so great and why it failed, at least initially, to connect with audiences.

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Big Trouble in Little China is my second most watched film behind This is Spinal Tap; I've seen it at least 40-50 times and it never gets old. It's funny, exciting, thrilling, a tad scary, and just so super cool. I could watch it every week and still enjoy it. In fact, I used to watch it every Friday night years ago. It was like a nice treat for the weekend. Something to look forward to. I did that for months at a time. Jack Burton, Russell's character, is like an old buddy of mine, he almost feels like family. Man, I need to get a life! But you know what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like this... have you paid your dues? Yeah, I paid my dues, the check is in the mail. Big Trouble is also a gorgeous looking film with a great score.

Carpenter also does his own music in his films and even sings at times! What other director can say that? Is anyone else a huge fan? What other films of his are cult classics or deserve to be? Sound off below.

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