Tag Archives: John Carpenter

John Carpenter’s Lost Themes

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John Carpenter’s Lost Themes

Sacred Bones Records – 2015

To be honest with you, the opening track “Vortex” gave me goose-bumps because it’s the most “John Carpenter” sounding piece I’ve heard since the late 80s.  It’s got this super cool groove that’s a cross between Escape From New York and Big Trouble in Little China.  After some screechy sounds, a simple piano comes in only to be interrupted by a dark syncopated keyboard that throbs along with a stomping drum.  It’s trademark Carpenter and easily one of the best tracks of his long and distinguished career as a composer.

In Carpenter’s own words, Lost Themes is a soundtrack for imaginary movies.  It runs the gamut of different moods and Carpenter hopes will inspire people to visualize stories within their heads and maybe even filmmakers for their work.

“Obsidian” has interesting ebb & flow, sounding like a video game gone haywire and then slows down in way that made me think of Hans Zimmer scoring a John Woo movie.  At the five-minute mark, the keyboard goes into Rick Wakeman-like mode, reminiscent to what the former Yes Keyboardist achieved in the movie The Burning.

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Daniel Davies, John Carpenter and Cody Carpenter in the studio

 

In the linear notes, John Carpenter says “Lost Themes was all about having fun.”  You can certainly hear pleasure on this album as the director/composer not only captures some of his signature sound but veers off into new directions.  He gets musical assistance from his son Cody Carpenter and Godson Daniel Davies.   Carpenter says, “the goal was to make his music more complete and fuller because they had unlimited tracks. “

There’s a grim finality to “Fallen.”  It definitely feels like someone has been defeated and beat down.  I like how a driving keyboard picks up the pace just two and a half minutes in and how the electric guitar gives the tune a boost of power.

There is an aura of an area being ruled in “Domain.”  The quicker guitar/keyboard melody that ventures in not only gives the track energy but a sense of humor as well.  The quick played keyboard riff that is played a third of the way is amusing.  There is some real creative keyboard work that is geared for the fantastic world of fantasy rather than horror.  Carpenter is getting a chance to explore new musical worlds.

There’s definitely something shrouded in “Mystery” that is not easy to figure out, but worth seeking the answer to.  I like the musical time change 2-minutes and 40-seconds in, when the tune gets darker and more serious.  The distorted electric guitar embellishes it further along with the screaming vibrato keyboard.

A dark, harmonious succession of notes leads you down into “Abyss.”  A keyboard pattern is complimented by the percussion.  It’s really cool hearing how the musicians grab a hold of the bouncing rhythm mid-way through and then ride it with the instrumentation that follows.

“Wraith” has a real engrossing beginning with what sounds kind of like calypso drums leading into hard-charging guitar.  In some ways this instrumentation makes me think of Tangerine Dream, whom I’ve always loved.  I know Carpenter is a fan of their work, especially the William Friedkin movie Sorcerer, so this wouldn’t be a far-fetched comparison.

It sounds as though “Purgatory” isn’t the happiest place to be with the sullen music representing this cue.  The steel guitar is reminiscent of what John Carpenter did with his Vampires score.

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The really high pitched keyboard notes towards the end reminded me of something you’d hear on the Fresh Aire series from Mannheim Steamroller.

“Night” features a dark, funky approach that isn’t scary but actively cool.  There’s a momentum that keeps rolling forward, pushing you through darkness towards the dawn.

The last six tracks are remixes of the five of the tracks listed above.

Zola Jesus (Nika Roza) contributes her earthy vocals to “Night” (Zola Jesus and Dean Hurley Remix) and Dean Hurley gives the tune a touch of his David Lynch-like sensibility.  There are some mad beats in “Wraith” (ohGr Remix).

Silent Servant (Juan Mendez) keeps his manipulation of “Vortex” (Silent Servant Remix) within the musical pocket John Carpenter had etched prior on this album.

(Blanck Mass Remix) of “Fallen” treads into trip-hop territory with cymbals and heavy beats leading the way.

My favorite remix track is “Abyss” (JG Thirlwell Remix) because the Australian Producer/Composer (also known as Clint Ruin, Frank Want among others) augments the Carpenter music in a way that it sounds like John Carpenter.  I could easily hear this rendition in Escape From New York or Escape From LA.  Sure it’s got beats and a mix of dance floor ingredients, but it stays the most true to the source.

The last track “Fallen” (Bill Kouligas Remix) is the most esoteric and least listenable of the lot because it’s just a jumble of all sorts of sounds spun around in an audio blender.

You don’t have to be a fan of John Carpenter’s movies to appreciate purchasing his first solo album.  With all of the listeners of electronic music, techno, trip-hop, chill out, ambient, rock-n-roll and of course film scores,  there is a world of people Lost Themes would appeal to.  Some of the tunes will get you from the get go, while others I’m certain will grow on you.

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There isn’t another film director alive that does what John Carpenter does as a composer.  We’ve got to stand up and celebrate the man’s considerable talent.  I’ve read that John Carpenter would be willing to take this music on the road with his son Cody and Daniel Davies if there was a demand.  I’m here to say I’d be there in a moment and I know for a fact there a legion of John Carpenter supporters who would join me.

Lost Themes is a special occasion for the listening world that should be enjoyed with vigor.

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Kim Gottlieb-Walker On the Set with John Carpenter

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Terry was thrilled to speak to Kim Gottlieb-Walker about her work with John Carpenter, which is captured by her glorious photography on display in her book On the Set with John Carpenter.  Kim was the still photographer on five John Carpenter films including Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, Halloween II and Christine.  Check out what the “Lenswoman” has to say about making those landmark movies with the legendary director.

Terry Wickham:  What got you interested in photography and when did you first start taking pictures?

Kim Gottlieb-Walker:  My mother was a photographer’s assistant in the 1940s when she first met my father and she taught me about light and truly seeing how it reflected off faces and eyes. I had a little box camera when I was a kid and she gave me her fixed lens, non-reflex 35mm camera to take with me when I left for my freshman year at U.C. Berkeley. The Free Speech Movement happened that year and I photographed Joan Baez performing for the crowd and the FSM flags hanging from the occupied administration building. I took the only class about movies they had at Berkeley back then and transferred in the middle of my sophomore year to UCLA to major in Motion Picture Production.

TW:  What were your first jobs as a photographer?

KGW:  My film school teacher at UCLA, Bill Kerby, used to do interviews for the Free Press to get free concert tickets. I used to go with him to shoot the interviews and help run his lightshow. I was 20 when I did portraits of Jimi Hendrix during one of those interviews. After graduation, I worked for the underground press for awhile and did some traveling – shot a few assignments for Time Out in London and eventually became the head photographer for Music World Magazine…where I met my future husband, Jeff Walker who was the editor.

TW:  How did you know Debra Hill and how exactly did the gig come about for being the Still Photographer on John Carpenter’s Halloween?

KGW:  Our next door neighbor in Laurel Canyon was Robert Mitchum’s daughter, Trina, who was a photographer working on low budget, Indie films and she saw my portfolio and recommended me to a producer/director who needed a still person for his next movie. So that was my first movie experience. As far as I know, it was never released, but the script supervisor was Debra Hill and the DP and operator were Dean Cundey and Ray Stella. When Debra went on to write and produce Halloween with John, she remembered us and asked us to shoot for them.

TW:  Had you always planned or wanted to work on movies?

KGW:  I always loved movies. At UCLA I hoped to be a camera operator, but had no contacts within the industry…but stills I could do on my own, which led to working on movies.

TW:  What’s the difference between shooting stills on a movie versus music performers or television?

KGW:  On both movies and television, the lighting is provided by the dp and gaffer and anything outside of the scenes themselves is captured with the available natural light. I was used to working with whatever light was already there, whether it was during interviews with musicians in hotel rooms near a window or performing under stage lights, so working on movies was an easy transition. Either way, I was always economical about how much I would shoot (film and processing was expensive!) and always waited for the right moment and made every shot count.

TW:  When you worked on Halloween, where you on set every shooting day?

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KGW:  Every minute.

TW:  Were you ever given instruction by Debra Hill or John Carpenter in terms of what to shoot or was it you doing what you thought was best “on the fly.”

KGW:  They left it to me. I knew what was needed – the key images of each scene, portraits of all the principal actors and documentation of the whole experience. I was the documentarian of the production.

TW:  What was the working tone on Halloween? Was it tense and tight or loose and fun? I ask because we all know the film was made for the most part by a young inexperienced crew.

KGW:  The director sets the tone – and John always knew, shot by shot, exactly what he needed, knew how to communicate that to his excellent crew and was always good humored and fun to work with. So even though the film only had a 5 week schedule, each day was fast, efficient and FUN!

TW:  Tell us how Debra Hill was. What was her working style and was she hands on or off on Halloween?

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KGW:  Debra had worked with John on the script, assembled the entire crew and made sure everyone had everything they needed to do their jobs. She was a tiny dynamo – hands on in the best possible ways. A terrific producer.

TW:  What was your initial impression of John Carpenter?

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KGW:  That he was absolutely on top of his game – incredibly well prepared, efficient and yet easy going…and he loved and respected every member of his crew and appreciated the skills each one of us brought to the project.

He also had a dry, mischievous sense of humor.

TW:  What was your call time on Halloween? Did you have to be there when everyone else was getting ready?

KGW:  My call time was the same as the rest of the camera crew. There was always stuff to shoot!

TW:  Did you have much contact with Director of Photography Dean Cundey and did your jobs crisscross at all?

KGW:  I’d sometimes check with Dean about the light levels and with Ray about the framing and how to shoot scenes without getting in the way. They were always helpful.

TW:  Did you observe Cundey’s approach to lighting? His use of light and lens on Halloween is eye-popping and startling.

KGW:  Dean understood the use of light and shadow…he is a brilliant cinematographer and a really nice person.

I love him dearly. He worked really well with gaffer Mark Walthour and I just documented the images they created

TW:  What is your feelings about the actors you worked with in Halloween?

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KGW:  Jamie Lee Curtis was only 19 – her first starring role in a feature film, and though she felt insecure at first, she cooperated completely and even re-enacted scenes for me.

Donald Pleasence was an old pro…a joy to work with. Always willing to pose. Great fun.

Nancy Keys and P.J. Soles were wonderful – PJ was the more experienced actor of the two, but both were terrific, cooperative, professional and easy to work with.

Nick Castle is one of the sweetest guys you’d ever meet. He was just there to be helpful – and ended up playing The Shape most of the time and did it brilliantly. A very friendly, funny, nice guy.

TW:  Did you have any gumption at the time you working on Halloween, that it would turn out to be the suspenseful terrifying movie that it is?

KGW:  We were kids having a blast making a movie. John wanted to make a Hitchcockian suspense film and he accomplished what he set out to do, though the students at USC they screened it for dismissed it as garbage. History has proven John a master filmmaker. We were just happy to be working!

TW:  What’s something about Halloween that most people would not know?

KGW:  There’s no blood in it. It is regarded as the father of the slasher genre…but there are no flying limbs, no decapitations, no blood…it works because it is a skillful use of suspense and the viewers’ imagination.

TW:  What are your most endearing couple memories from working on Halloween?

KGW:  It was the beginning of my relationship with John, Debra and that wonderful crew, most of whom went on to brilliant careers. A very happy time for all of us.

TW:  How early in the production were you asked to participate on John Carpenter’s The Fog?

KGW:  As soon as Debra started putting the crew together!

TW:  You had to travel up north to Point Reyes/Inverness, California right? Did you fly or drive? I ask because I’m curious what the production could afford?

KGW:  I can’t remember I think most of us flew, but I truly don’t remember.

TW:  What was the atmosphere like on The Fog having worked already with most of the same key crew members on Halloween?

KGW:  It was a great reunion! Being on location for the first time was a blast!

TW:  Was John Carpenter any different on The Fog as opposed to Halloween? I ask because he had experienced the success of Halloween and on this film he was in love with Adrienne Barbeau.

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KGW:  He and Adrienne initially decided to keep a low profile…which lasted about 5 minutes. They were very sweet together. The atmosphere was just as efficient and upbeat as Halloween, though fog is a difficult character to direct.

TW:  How was it working with Production Designer/Editor Tommy Lee Wallace? I think his contributions to these early John Carpenter movies played a crucial role in their quality.

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KGW:  Tommy was great…and whenever the set came into play (as in the scene where the Shape rams his hand through the kitchen door) Tommy would don the suit and mask and be the Shape because he knew the exact spot that would give way.

TW:  From what you could see, was there any difference on this movie in how Carpenter and Debra Hill worked together? Because obviously they were not a couple anymore like they were on Halloween.

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KGW:  They were still a fantastic team. It seemed like more of a brother sister relationship, good friends, and they always encouraged and supported each other, from what I could see. I was not aware of any tension at all!

TW:  Talk about the ensemble cast. If you don’t mind, give me something about each actor:

KGW:  Adrienne Barbeau is a wonderful, warm sweet lady – great to work with.

Jamie Lee Curtis is still, to this day, one of the nicest people in the world

Janet Leigh was a pro…always knew her lines and hit her marks and was sweet and funny.

Tom Atkins was easy going, good humored and a pleasure to work with.

Hal Holbrook and John Houseman were only there briefly – Houseman for only one day and he did no scenes with any of the other principal actors. Hal Holbrook was one of my mother’s favorite actors and he was kind enough to sign a photo for her – he wrote (much to her delight) “Dear Blanche, Thank you for the greatest night of my life.” It gave her a great laugh and she kept it framed on the piano.

TW:  I loved seeing your photos of Kurt Russell’s visit to The Fog set. Was he there because he was going to do Escape From New York or was it because he made the Elvis TV movie with Carpenter?

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KGW:  He met John doing Elvis …but I think that trip to The Fog set may have included discussions about Escape. I never hear anything when I’m shooting, so I don’t know for sure.

TW:  Carpenter and Hill both appear in the film uncredited. What scene was Debra Hill in?

KGW:  I don’t remember! John was the church handyman. He cringes when he sees himself acting in that scene.

TW:  Did you have any interaction with young Special Make-Up Effects master-to-be Rob Bottin?

KGW:  Not really…just documenting the great effects!

TW:  It’s quite known that John Carpenter felt the movie didn’t work after the first cut. Did you see that version of the film before the new footage was shot to spice up the film?

KGW:  Nope…just the final film.

TW:  When my wife and I were on our Honeymoon back in 1997, we stopped to see Point Reyes lighthouse (used in The Fog). That’s the windiest place I’ve ever been. What do you recall about being there up on that cliff overlooking the ocean with all the trees & grass permanently bent sideways because of the constant wind?

KGW:  It was a bit chilly and foggy…so we bundled up!

TW:  Speak about Escape From New York. You obviously had to travel out to St. Louis. How long was the shoot for Escape?

KGW:  I did not get to go to St Louis for the first two weeks of shooting. It was our first union film and in those days there were very strict rules about shooting in the jurisdiction of other Locals…and at that time there were three separate camera locals in the east, west and center of the country. So Debra had to use a local Chicago still photographer, Bill Coe, who did a great job. When they got back to LA , I took over and still got the 30 days I needed on the union shoot to get into the union.

TW:  By this time, Carpenter and Cundey had developed incredibly visual chemistry. Talk about how you saw them work together.

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KGW:  They shared the same visual sensibility – the same ability to tell a story in visual terms. They truly saw eye to eye…which is why, having taught them to “point” to give me better photos, the shot of them pointing simultaneously in opposite directions always makes me laugh!

TW:  What was it like working with “old pros” Lee Van Cleef and Ernest Borgnine?

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KGW:  Always a pleasure. They have faces that come right into focus with almost no effort.

TW:  Tell us about your experience with Kurt “Snake Plissken” Russell. He really created an iconic character in the film.

KGW:  Kurt was a kick. Larry Franco, the AD and co producer was his brother-in-law and the two of them with John were always laughing and joking together. Kurt had no pretensions…when John said “cut” he was

Immediately himself again. He used Clint Eastwood’s delivery for Snake, and did it brilliantly.

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TW:  Was it nice seeing Donald Pleasence, Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins again?

KGW:  Absolutely!

TW:  What was your impression of Production Designer Joe Alves? Did you talk to him at all about his involvement on Jaws?

KGW:  Never had a conversation with him.

TW:  What was your impression of Jim Cameron working on the matte plates and special effects photography? Did you get any inclination that he would go on to make the two most profitable films ever made?

KGW:  He was just one of the effects guys…who did a brilliant job of turning the Sepulveda Dam into Central Park by painting the New York skyline on glass to line up with the horizon in front of the camera, creating fluffy clouds for the glider trip and making city matte paintings.

TW:  When you got the job to do Halloween II, did you think the production could catch the same magic of the first film?

KGW:  I hoped it would. But Rick Rosenthal is a very different director from John. It was not an easy shoot.

TW:  Did you have any concern that John Carpenter wasn’t directing it?

KGW:  It was a very different experience. I was spoiled by John’s good humor and egalitarianism and was surprised to see how different the experience could be.

TW:  By the time Halloween II was made, Jamie Lee Curtis had done some other movies. Did you notice any difference in the way she carried herself?

KGW:  She was not as carefree. The experience on H2 was not as much fun for her because she had to spend the entire film in a wig and hospital gown….not fun.

TW:  Being that Rick Rosenthal was a rookie director, did Dean Cundey carry more of the load on Halloween II?

KGW:  I think so. A great DP always helps a director capture what’s in their imagination in the most creative and efficient way they can.

TW:  When you were shooting the stills with Michael Myers in the sequel, did you notice a marked difference between what Dick Warlock was doing versus Nick Castle’s originating performance? The mask didn’t look quite as good.

KGW:  I just did the best I could to capture the action of each scene under more difficult circumstances.

TW:  Was it “off-limits” to shoot any stills of the hot-tub scene with Pamela Susan Shoop and Leo Rossi? That scene is probably the most memorable in the whole film.

KGW:  I was not allowed to shoot that scene. Rick apparently didn’t trust my discretion.

TW:  Were you present for the explosive ending? If so, how far away where you from the blast? I heard it went off much bigger than originally anticipated.

KGW:  The burn was bigger than anticipated and the zippers in Dick Warlock’s suit heated up pretty badly.

I was about 25 or 30 feet away, maybe?

TW:  Talk about Christine, as it’s the last film you shot on a John Carpenter movie and Debra Hill wasn’t involved. Who contacted you about the job?

KGW:  I don’t remember who contacted me. But DP Don Morgan was terrific and I went from my 3rd to my 6th month of pregnancy with my second son while shooting that film.

TW:  John Carpenter had made The Thing in between the last time you worked with him. In my opinion, The Thing is one of the best movies ever made. But Carpenter was unjustly criticized and the film didn’t’ do well at the box office. Did you notice any difference in the director, because he’s admitted how deeply it hurt him?

KGW:  John actually made The Thing after Christine.

I didn’t get to shoot “The Thing” because of the old seniority system the union had at that time, which no longer exists, than goodness. I didn’t see John again until many many years later. I think working within the studio system with executives micromanaging things has taken much of the fun out of filmmaking for John.

TW:  Talk about the amazing cast of Christine. I think it’s John Carpenter’s most underrated film. Two of the exceptional actors, Keith Gordon and John Stockwell would go on to become excellent directors Share something about working with each of them.

KGW:  Keith never left the set after a scene to go to the Winnebago – he always stayed close to the camera so he could watch and listen as John would work with Don Morgan to set up the next shot. He learned how to direct by watching the best!

TW:  William Ostrander’s performance as tough guy “Buddy Repperton” was powerful. What were your thoughts of what you captured him doing through your lens?

KGW:  He was very charismatic and a very good actor. He and Alexandra Paul were a couple for quite awhile.

TW:  Robert Prosky was unforgettable as the abrasive junkyard lord “Will Darnell.” What do you remember about the late actor?

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KGW:  Great face! And Roberts Blossom as the evil guy who sells the car to Arnie – I think my photo of him holding the keys to Christine sums up the whole movie!

 

 

 

 

TW:  Alexandria Paul was right on as the object of Arnie Cunningham’s affection. What did you think of the young actress?

KGW:  She was very sweet. She was a vegetarian, so when she had to choke on a burger, there was no burger in it!

TW:  How did cinematographer Donald M. Morgan work in comparison to Dean Cundey?

KGW:  They are both wonderful cinematographers and both worked beautifully with John. Don Morgan has a charming machismo and was very protective of me, especially when we were blowing up gas stations

TW:  Were you present for Roy Arbogast engineering the reconstruction of Christine, after the bad guys had beaten her up?

KGW:  We had dozens of Plymouth Furies, in various stages of destruction or rigged for effects. Some of the reconstitution of Christine was film run in reverse!

TW:  What are your fondest memories of working on Christine and did you realize it would be the last time you would work with John Carpenter?

KGW:  Being pregnant, I remember how the whole crew was looking out for my safety. They even build barricades to protect me from explosions and flying car debris.

It felt like a family, the way John’s crews always felt. I would have been very sad if I’d known it was my last experience on one of his films. Working with John was one of the great joys of my life.

TW:  When you look back at your experience of working with John Carpenter what stands out?

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KGW:  His clarity of vision and his good humor (and his appreciation for the value of the stills).

TW:  I want to thank you Kim for capturing such important, precious moments on all the films you did with John Carpenter. I know I’m not alone in saying those films are and were very important in my life. As a huge fan, your book On the Set with John Carpenter gives everyone an invaluable glimpse of what it was like being on those production sets. F or that, I am forever grateful.

KGW:  Thank YOU for your kind words and for letting others know about the book. It was a real joy for me to put the book together and reconnect with all of those friends I had worked with so long ago. It was a genuine labor of love and I am so happy the fans of John’s films are getting to share the wonderful experiences I had. I hope everyone who loves the book will put their own capsule reviews on Amazon!

On Set with John Carpenter: The Photographs of Kim Gottlieb-Walker

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On Set with John Carpenter: The Photographs of Kim Gottlieb-Walker

Titan Books – 2014
ISBN: 9781783294688
176 pages, $24.99

I’ve anxiously been waiting for this book since I first reached out to Kim Gottlieb-Walker, which was September 2005.  The fact that this book actually exists and is out has me thrilled beyond belief.  What’s even better is the amount of care Titan Books has put into displaying Gottlieb-Walker’s fantastic photos.  They accomplish this with gorgeous layouts, high quality paper and overall design.

On Set with John Carpenter is absolutely loaded with rare, never before seen images from Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, Halloween II and Christine.

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For a John Carpenter fanatic like me, this is a goldmine as you can see the stories behind these productions.  The passionate fun the cast & crew must have felt, along with the hard work is totally captured through Gottlieb-Walker’s lens.  You get to see many of the behind the scenes people that made these films so memorable.  Photos of talented Director of Photography Dean Cundey, Camera/Panaglide Operator Ray Stella can be seen at work as well even James Cameron painting matte artwork and being Visual Effects Director of Photography on Escape From New York.

There could not have been a better photo than the way chosen for the book’s cover.  Seeing John Carpenter directing Jamie Lee Curtis on Halloween (one of my two favorite films), well you don’t get better than that in my opinion.

The inner covers of the book on the front and book are amazing.  Countless photos are spread over the connective pages to make you just stare and look each and every photo a read into the stories they tell.

John Carpenter writes the forward and the large photo of him smiling on the set of Halloween is telling for the way it turned out.  Former Fangoria Magazine Editor Tony Timpone is next and his story is very entertaining to read.

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Halloween – How can I not love every single still representing this masterpiece?  The full size photo of Michael Myers (Nick Castle) holding up the huge butcher knife is classic.  Same goes with Myers at the top of the staircase look down at us.  The shot of Donald Pleasence on the side of the Myers house at night is creepy and captures the intensity of the late actor.  The shot of “The Shape” standing in background behind Annie (Nancy (Loomis) Kyes) on the phone of the kitchen is nothing short of iconic.

There’s some great shots of Nick Castle, Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter having fun on the set laughing.  For such a suspenseful, intense movie these let you know the cast & crew had a good time making the film.  It’s also great seeing the late Debra Hill do her thing as she not only produced the movie but helped write the screenplay and Kim Gottlieb-Walker dedicates the book to her memory.

I loved seeing John Carpenter at work with his cast, behind the camera with DP Dean Cundey and Camera Operator Ray Stella.  The two color photos of the Coup de Villes playing at the wrap party, John Carpenter, Tommy Lee Wallace and Nick Castle dressed in “The Shape” masks is priceless.

The Fog – There’s some great intimate moments of the cast performing their parts.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the shots of Adrienne Barbeau with Ty Mitchell, Tom Atkins with Jamie Lee Curtis at the boat marina and shot of Janet Leigh behind Hal Holbrook in the church.  It was fun seeing Debra Hill having a good time with Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh.  I was surprised to see that Kurt Russell visited the set with his then wife Season Hubley.

The photographs with John Carpenter and Adrienne Barbeau capture a time when they were in love and you can see it.

Love the shot of the entire cast & crew and the individual portraits of each cast member is invaluable.

 

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Escape From New York – Seeing Kurt Russell as “Snake Plissken” is awesome.  Lee Van Cleef with the cigarette or gun in hand says much about his character.  It was cool seeing Debra Hill talking to “Maggie” (Adrienne Barbeau) all decked out.

The color photo of the real 727 airplane, Joe Alves brought was impressive in the film and as a photo.

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I had never seen any the photos of Jim Cameron painting the matte plates of Manhattan skyline or as special effects photography.  The pictures of John Carpenter busting up with Lee Van Cleef and Tom Atkins brought a smile to my face.

I never realized that Dean Cundey played saxophone in the “Everyone’s Coming to New York” scene but you can see he did with the photo on page 92.  It was also neat seeing Nick Castle choreographing the stage performers.  Castle’s dad was a legendary choreographer.

I also neat seeing the lens woman herself in pictures, like when she’s flanked with Lee Van Cleef and Tom Atkins.  The shot of Gottlieb-Walker with Kurt Russell confirms how they both must have felt making this movie.

Halloween II – Seeing Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) about to stab Anne Bruner is pretty intense as is the scene where “The Shape” lifts Tawny Moyer off the ground after stabbing her in the back.  The successive shots of Michael pushing the hypodermic needle into Ana Alicia is like watching the movie via stills.

I got a kick out of seeing Dick Warlock in full Michael Myers outfit licking the knife, posing with Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence.  My favorite from this set might be Jamie Lee Smooching with Michael while Donald Pleasence laughs heartedly on the side.

Christine – Which I might consider John Carpenter’s most underrated film has some fantastic photographic coverage of the sensational cast.  Gottlieb-Walker captures Keith Gordon as “Arnie Cunningham” both in his geek-nerd stature and then transformation into ultra confident self later in the film.

William Ostrander’s outstanding performance as the tough guy “Buddy Repperton” is on display during the bully scene.  Ostrander looks so imposing and threatening.  His acting in this movie is one of the unsung reasons why it’s so damn good.  The way the still photographer shot this scene, you almost feel like you are there in auto class getting picked on.  There’s a series of photos showing how painful it must have been for “Dennis” (John Stockwell) when “Moochie” (Malcolm Dare) gave him the nuts squeeze.

There’s a real interesting photo of a moment that didn’t make it into the film, where Arnie puts Dennis in an uncomfortable positon, while Dennis is in the hospital bed.

There’s a telling shot of John Stockwell, Keith Gordon and John Carpenter laughing together (the two actors would become directors).  I liked seeing the dolly track in hallway of high school with John Carpenter working with Gordon.  Also Carpenter behind Stockwell making facings to get a reaction from Gordon while next to actress Kelly Preston.

Loved the portrait of the late Robert Blossoms, who was unforgettable as Christine original owner “George LeBay.”

OnSetJC2

This book had my attention from the moment I got it.  I can’t see anything beating it for Best Book of 2014.

www.titanbooks.com

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