Tag Archives: John Carpenter’s The Thing

DEVIL’S FIVE RED CARPET WORLD PREMIERE

 

Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham with Paula & Rosina Wickham on the Red Carpet

Leading up to Devil’s Five Red Carpet Premiere, it was a lot of work trying to get the word out, promoting the event as much as possible.  I did everything I could to tell people (in person, phone, texting, emails, my website and all related social media), make the effort to land sponsors (I got Darkside Haunted House & Chambers of Horror NY for Devil’s Five Red Carpet Premiere and Long Island Ice Tea for After Party) and attempt to get radio/TV and journalists to cover our night to remember.

 

Devil’s Five Partners (left to right) Edwin M. Figueroa, Terry R. Wickham and George Brianka

There’s most definitely pressure and a high level of stress that comes with striving to influence people to buy tickets to see our unknown film.  Add that people don’t always have extra money, many don’t like to go out to the theater, combined with the increasing attention deficit level of today’s society, it was a difficult task to say the least.

“Abandoned” Star Siakie Tetteh with Jevon Duff

Also, folks have so many things to choose to do on the last night of their weekend, you can add another level of difficulty.  Plus throw in our culture’s addiction to not letting go of their phones, NFL games, Halloween activities and the Season 8 Premiere of The Walking Dead, it all made it a difficult road to plough.

“The Devil’s FIve (aka The Wraparound) Star Kevin Cusick on the Red Carpet with Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham

Sunday October 22, 2017 was a beautiful day in on Long Island.  The days leading up to that day I approached just like when I direct a movie.  I like to slow things down, simplify my life and try to do the things that relax me and keep me calm.  There is a stillness that I believe works wonders against things that can go a little crazy.  I do a lot of thinking, work out, do yoga and watch parts of movies that inspire me.

“The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound)” Actresses Rachael Scarr & Chanise Renae bask in the light of Devil’s Five World Premiere

I wanted to get to Seaford Cinemas early, so I could set up, set the volume level of the movie and be prepared to show a film I’d spent four years making.

“Choke” Actor Kata Peragine gets mic’d for his Red Carpet Interview

As usual, life can take you on turns and like a movie set, things can change like the weather.  I went to pick up a chicken salad for dinner, but Wendy’s drive-thru wasn’t fast at all and I ended up waiting 20 minutes in the drive-up window line.  Then when I got to the theater, I was behind with all the hustle and bustle that I never even got to set the volume level of the theater because I was doing other things that were necessary.

Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham with “Stash”/”The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound)” and “Choke” Actor Jesse Ray Sheps

As a director we like to think we have some control.  The truth is we can’t make money grow on trees, we cannot stop the clock from it’s endless circling and the weather, forget having power of that.  Mother Nature does what she wants to do.  People, that’s a whole other story.  We can’t snap our fingers and give them all the same work ethic, commitment to the film or drive to endure countless hours of filming/promoting etc.  Unfortunately, this is all just part of the process of making movies.

“Abandoned” (left to right) Star Aaron Mathias, 1st AC Giorgio Savona, Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham and Director of Photography Adrian Popescu

When I was a senior in high school right before graduation, my school, Snohomish High School (in Snohomish, Washington) passed out a magazine to all Seniors to give all of us something to read to inspire us to go forward with our lives.

Lucky for me this magazine had Rob Bottin, the Special Make-up Effects Artist from John Carpenter’s The Thing on the cover. Inside there was a huge article about how involved he got it on that film (which is one of my three favorite movies and the film that solidified me wanting to become a film director) and the incredible details about how long & hard he worked on that film.

Bottin spent a year working on the effects, most of which had never been attempted on film or duplicated since. The werewolf-like bearded effects whiz led a full team of artists into uncharted science-fiction horror territory and ending up in the hospital with nervous exhaustion.  His unearthly work ethic, combined out of the world creativity was something I admired and was determined to imitate.  Looking back at that now, I don’t know if sometimes if it’s a blessing or curse I choose to follow in his dedicated footsteps.

It was moving seeing all the people that came to support Devil’s Five. The turnout was big-time and everyone was excited to see the film.  This included not only cast and crew from all five movies, but friends, acquaintances, coworkers from each of the respective members of the films and total strangers who learned about our Red Carpet World Premiere in some way.

“Stash”/”The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound) actor Michael Pope, his friend Brenda Albert and Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham

Some of the folks I had not seen in near 30 years. Others in time increments short of that, but still long periods of time ranging from 5 to 10 years and so on.  The fact that those people would come to see our movie was incredibly gratifying and something that we did not take for granted. For them to choose us was inspiring and humbling at the same time.

Stash Actress Tina Surabian & husband with Producer/Director Terry R. Wickham

Seeing all the people that showed up to support Devil’s Five one couldn’t help but be touched deep inside. This happened on multiple levels because these people cared enough to be there for us and did what they had to, to view the film in it’s greatest exhibition setting.

“Stash” Music Composer Geoff Tyson, Producer/Director Terry R. Wickham and Writer Timothy David Clark

I was literally blown away that “Stash” Music Composer Geoff Tyson flew in from Prague.  Others drove from all over New Jersey, New York City and Long Island.  Larry Levy (our Riverhead Representative) drove down from Utica and caught just the last 25 minutes of the movie, but the fact he made it for even a part of the movie meant a lot.

“Abandoned” Stars Aaron Mathias & Siakie Tetteh with Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham

Meeting new people, seeing old friends and reuniting with the cast and crews was remarkable. I was very aware that the chances of seeing all those people together one place again was probably not likely to happen again. So I cherished it.

The Red Carpet was a little bit difficult to navigate since there were so many folks in the lobby. We had to take our turns getting in front of the camera for photos and at the same time Nicholas Girimonte & his documentary team tried doing interviews for the documentary they are creating to chronicle of momentous evening.

Devil’s Five Red Carpet World Premiere Documentary Crew (left to right) Issac Wong, Sal Peretti, Deddrick Raymond, Daniel Pomboyno and Nick Girimonte

I spent a great deal of time preparing my Introduction for the film. I wanted to try to inform the audience as much as possible about the difficulties we faced making Devil’s Five.

FIlmmaker Terry R. Wickham’s Introduction of Devil’s Five

I wasn’t doing this for pity or any kind of self-gratification. I thought it was important the audience knew some the many obstacles we had to overcome to get Devil’s Five to the big screen. I felt that if I was sitting in the audience I would want to know those things, since it would ultimately make me appreciate the movie even more. I planned to only speak 8 to 9 minutes. I probably spoke closer to double that, but the whole time I was conscious of the audience’s reaction and my sense of what I should say. I must have done okay as I got a lot of compliments afterwards.

Watching Devil’s Five on the big screen with audience was just thrilling experience for myself and I’m sure my two partners in the other theater (Edwin told me the next night seeing it on the big screen was great).

“The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound)” Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham with Actress Nadie Lahaie

We sold enough tickets that I had my cast and crew from “The Devil’s’ Five (aka The Wraparound)”, “Abandoned” and “Stash” and the ticket buyers I had influenced in one theater. While George and Edwin had their cast and crew from “Don’t Say These Words” and “Choke” and the tickets they sold in a second theater.

“Abandoned” Stars Aaron Mathias and Siakie Tetteh

It was beyond cool listen to the audience react to scares, suspense, humor and drama.  There were laughs, I heard some screams and saw people covering their face in fear throughout the entire running time of the film.  This made the experience a it lot of fun for everyone in attendance.

“Abandoned” Red Dress Maker Grace Obeng, Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham, Star Siakie Tetteh

After the film finished, there was rousing deep-felt response, which was made everything it took to get to this point worth it.  Then I did a Q&A in my theater for about 15 minutes and George & Edwin did a shorter Q&A in their theater.

“Abandoned” Dress Designer Grace Obeng & Star Siakie Tetteh are living it up on the Red Carpet Devil’s Five World Premiere

After the last credit I got a lot of great responses from audience members.  I tried to poll as many people as I could to get a feel on what they really liked, and the truth is I heard lots of different answers to what was their favorite episode.

Audience members Brandon Brass, Andrew Cohen and Michelle Morales are psyched to see Devil’s Five

Also I asked as many people as I could about what was the scariest part, I heard a lot of different reactions, which I took as a very good thing since Devil’s Five has so many different things offer. Everyone seems to agree that all the segments are totally different, which made our film diverse and very entertaining.

Left to right Sal Peretti films interviews, while Deddrick Raymond takes stills on the Red Carpet

I had to breakdown the Red Carpet banners and all the stuff I had brought to the theater, so by the time I got to Runyon’s for the After Party, a lot of people had already left, but I still spent a good hour talking to those who remained at got a lot of great feedback from both regular audience members and loved catching up with cast & crew.

Brandon Brass and Glenn McBride with Devil’s Five Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham

I’m a little surprised that there were at least 25 people that bought tickets that didn’t show and just as many cast & crew that cancelled coming in the few days leading up to the event.  I also expected probably fifty more people beyond that who seemed like they were genuinely coming but never showed.  In today’s world of flakey, flighty, unreliable people, Devil’s Five Red Carpet World Premiere still attracted almost 300 people into two movie theaters.  It’s an accomplishment and event nobody will soon forget.

 

John Carpenter Live @ Play Station Theater in 7/8/16 in NYC

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I honestly can’t believe I got the chance to live a lifelong dream.  To see John Carpenter, the filmmaker who influenced me to become a film director, perform music from his movies in front of my face.  I’ve been listening to John Carpenter’s scores since the early 80s and have religiously playing his soundtrack music ever since.

But let’s first put something in perspective just how much respect he deserves for being able to do this.  John Carpenter is touring the world with the music he created for his films, to go along with some of the music he’s generated for his two recent solo albums Lost Themes and Lost Themes II, which you can purchase at Sacred Bones Records.

This is something no other director in the history of film has done or could do.  Not Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Orson Wells, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Frances Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, William Friedkin, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, George Lucas, Oliver Stone, Tim Burton or James Cameron.  None of them.  They don’t perform the music for their movies.

John Carpenter has composed or co-composed the music for all but 4 of his movies, two TV movies and couple episodes of Masters of Horror.  Think about that, the legendary director has directed 21 movies.  Plus he’s composed music for two films he didn’t direct (Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch) to go along with a couple video games.

Ok on with the show.

I wasn’t there as a journalist, so in no way I’m not obligated to write this review.  I’m writing because I feel I owe it to the man that made me want to be a film director and nobody else will tell what happened exactly like me.

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It was an amazing experience to walk into Broadway, the Mecca of all Live Performances in the biggest city in the US, New York City and see John Carpenter’s image and name in lights for a Sold-Out Show.  Plus everywhere you looked people were wearing t-shirts and jerseys that supported all the man’s work over the past four decades.  Shirts with Michael Myers, Jack Burton, Snake Plissken, Blake the leper, John Nada and MacReady were just a few of the cool pieces of apparel representing filmmaker we all love.

I was standing in line (wearing my specially ordered John Carpenters’ The Thing shirt, which shows every character from the movie) with my John Carpenter pal Chris Sasser (wearing a Big Trouble in Little China shirt) and his John Carpenter friend James (They Live shirt), who both had taken the train up from Philly.  Somehow our line got chosen to enter the venue first.  What struck me right away as we entered the building was hearing John Carpenter’s music playing on the overhead speakers.  Everywhere we went, his music could be heard before the show started.  Including when I went to use the bathroom and Prince of Darkenss was playing while I was in the latrine.  I couldn’t help but just smile and soak up the atmosphere because my favorite film music composer was finally getting his just due.

It was so cool just being able to talk to other people who respected John Carpenter’s films & music with the same fervor as I did.  As I stood waiting for the show to begin, I really enjoyed speaking to total strangers about all things John Carpenter.  My friend Chris, said he’d compare it to a religious experience and I’d have to agree.

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Carpenter and his band hit the stage with “Main Theme” from Escape From New York, which not only was appropriate considering the town they were performing in, but it’s easily one of everyone’s favorites.  Carpenter looked comfortable in front of the legion of 2,100 fans in attendance, did a little dancing and just soaked up the adoration aimed at him.  It’s very well known that Carpenter has been weathered by the criticism and box office performance of his films, but we did our best to let him know his body of work deeply mattered to all of us and everything he’s done is not in vain.  Carpenter was clearly enjoying himself and that made me feel better than anything.

The Main Title from Assault on Precinct 13 was next and I got to say it was beyond cool hearing the familiar melody pouring out from the speakers, while watching the handpicked images from the 1976 movie playing on the screen behind the band.

“Vortex” was the third song performed and I have to say one of the highlights of the night.  It’s such an amazing track because it contains most of the Carpenter’s signature instrumentation and it point blank ROCKS!

“Mystery” was next and allowed the band move into some musical realms different than the other tracks played on this stupendous evening.

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I loved that when the band performed “Main Title” from The Fog, the stage got covered with the white misty stuff.  This matched not only the title of the movie, but created the fog enshrouded atmosphere Carpenter and DP Dean Cundey captured so well in their classic ghost story.

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“Coming To LA” from They Live was absolutely one of the best songs of the entire night and it was beyond cool that the band donned sunglasses during this song.  It has stayed with me ever since this show and when I talked to other folks in attendance they all listed it among the top 3 tracks.  Just seeing all the Reagan-era themed subliminal messages from the movie playing while listening to the bluesy instrumentation just made everything work so beautifully.

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“Desolation” from The Thing was next and Carpenter said a few kind words about The Thing Music Composer Ennio Morricone.  I’m so glad they did something off what is John Carpenter’s pinnacle work as a director.  I cannot never get enough of seeing the brilliant images from the movie because it’s just one of the greatest films ever made.

“Distant Dream” from Carpenter’s latest Lost Themes II definitely worked for me as well as the rest of the audience.

“Pork Chop Express” Live from John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China

“Pork Chop Express” from Big Trouble In Little China was another stellar selection on the memorable night.  One of my favorite moments occurred after this track concluded.  Many in the audience held up The Chang Sing sign (as seen in the movie a.k.a. One Finger Shooting Zen) to show our universal approval to the master.  How cool is that!

“Wraith” was next from the first Lost Themes album.  It has some liquid like instrumentation which made for a cool live experience.  Especially when paired up against the darker “Night” that followed.  I particularly liked Daniel Davies heavy distorted guitar hanging on notes to emphasize certain moments of the song.

The pulsating rhythmic pattern to “Night” is very catchy and addictive.  It made for a cool music video too, which parts of it was projected on the screen behind the band.

“Main Theme” Live from John Carpenter’s Halloween

Cody Carpenter really showed off his keyboard prowess during “Main Title” of Halloween.  Seeing the images of Laurie Strode, Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis were music for my eyes.  Carpenter’s landmark slasher film is one of my two favorite movies and his score is legendary.  But I will say I don’t consider it as one of the better ones of the night.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear In the Mouth of Madness “Main Title” as I was hoping but not expecting to hear it.  During this Metallica inspired track, the highlight of the night happened for my friend Chris, when one excited fan yelled out “Sam F^&*ing Neill!”

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After a brief break from the stage Carpenter and his band came back for a 15-minute encore that begin with a killer rendition of “Darkness Begins” from Prince of Darkness.  Davies guitar really brought a crushing explanation point to this song about doomsday with the Devil.  I might say the inclusion of this was the biggest unexpected treat of the night.  I absolutely love the score for Prince.

“Virutal Survivor” off the latest Lost Themes II album was a cool avenue for the band to go.  Then “Purgortory” off the first LT album was next and features a down sullen mood for the band to chill things down a bit.  Parts of it remind me a little of Carpenter’s music for his film Vampires.

“Christine Attacks” Live from John Carpenter’s Christine

Carpenter wrapped the night with a wonderful performance of “Christine Attacks” from his highly underrated film Christine.  The main melody of this piece has a huge hook that has staying power.  Having just had re-watched the film shortly before this show, I totally dug the assemblage of footage backing the music.

It’s not every day you get to see your lifelong hero stand before you doing something he/she enjoys.  The fact that I did, along with 2,100 other John Carpenter fanatics just made the night seem almost surreal.  My daughter had national dance competition the day before this show in Hershey, PA.  I choose not to go because of this once in a lifetime opportunity.  Her dance team ended up scoring their highest award ever, but I feel I scored just as high attending this show.  I guess we were winners all around.

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If I was you, I would make it my mission to catch John Carpenter and his band when they come to your town.  I’m still buzzing about the spiritual experience of soaking up the incredible music of John Carpenter almost a month later.  I can’t thank the filmmaker/composer for taking his music on the road and giving all us fans an experience that will never be forgotten.

http://www.theofficialjohncarpenter.com/tour/