John Carpenter was born in Cathage New York and raised in Bowling Green. according to friends he had already begun experimenting with film before reaching his teens.  He attended College High and was part of the influencial local band The Kaleidoscope.

After a attending a couple of semesters at WKU, where his father was head of the music department, he transferred  to University of Southern California School of Cinema.  While there he won an Academy Award for his student project The Resurrection of Bronco Billy.

Dark Star, was begun in school and completed as his first theatrical release. It was cowritten by Dan O'Bannon (Alien, Return of the Living Dead) who would later borrow from it heavily for his film Alien. Its critical success opened the door for investment in his next low budget projects Assault on Precinct 13 and Halloween which became both critically acclaimed and commercial successes.  Halloween ushered in the modern era of horror and set records as the highest percentage earning per dollar spent movie of all time.

Since, Carpenter has continued to produce successful films such as The Fog, They Live, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York and Vampires, and is considered a master of horror.  He has written a number of screenplays including Eyes of Laura Mars, the Philadephia Experiment and more and he is often involved in the musical aspects of his films as composer, writer and even performer.

Filmography:

  • The Ward (2010) (Director)
  • "Masters of Horror" (2 episodes, 2005-2006, Director) [Pro-Life (2006);  John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns (2005)]
  • The Fog (2005) (producer)
  • The Thing (2002, Actor: Dr. Faraday)
  • Vampires: Los Muertos (2002) (executive producer)
  • Ghosts of Mars (2001, Director, Writer)
  • Silent Predators (1999, Writer-Teleplay)
  • Vampires (1998, Director)
  • Escape from L.A. (1996, Director, Writer)
  • Village of the Damned (1995, Director, Actor: Man at gas station phone)
  • In the Mouth of Madness (1995, Director)
  • Silenzio dei prosciutti, Il aka "The Silence of the Hams" (1994, Actor: trenchcoat Man/Gimp)
  • Body Bags (1993, Director, Producer, Actor: coroner in "The Morgue") (TV) (segments "Gas Station, The" and "Hair")
  • Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992, Director, Actor: helicopter pilot)
  • Blood River (1991, Writer) (TV)
  • El Diablo (1990, Writer)
  • They Live (1988, Director, Writer-screenplay)
  • Prince of Darkness (1987, Director, Writer)
  • Big Trouble in Little China (1986, Director, Actor: worker in Chinatown)
  • The Boy Who Could Fly (1986, Actor: The Coupe De Villes)
  • Black Moon rising (1986, Writer, Executive Producer)
  • Starman (1984, Director, Actor: man in helicopter)
  • The Philadelphia Experiment (1984, Executive Producer)
  • Christine (1983, Director)
  • The Thing (1982, Director)
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, Producer)
  • Escape from New York (1981, Director, Writer, Actor [voice] secret service #2, helicopter pilot, violin player)
  • Halloween II (1981, Writer, Producer)
  • The Fog (1980, Director, Writer, Actor: Bennett)
  • -- Reworked: 2005 as The Fog
  • Elvis (1979, Director) (TV)
  • Better Late Than Never (1979, Writer)
  • Someone's Watching Me! (1978, Director, Writer) (TV)
  • Zuma Beach (1978, Writer)
  • Eyes of Laura Mars (1978, Writer-screenplay)
  • Halloween (1978, Director, Writer-screenplay, Producer, Actor: [voice] Paul, Annie's boyfriend)
  • -- Reworked: 2007 as Rob Zombie's Halloween
  • Characters used: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998); Halloween: Resurrection (2002);  Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995); Halloween 5 (1989); Halloween II (1981)
  • Assault on Precinct 13 (1976, Director, Writer, Actor: gang member)
  • -- Reworked 2005 as Assault on Precinct 13
  • Dark Star (1974, Director, Writer)
  • The Resurrection of Broncho Billy (1970, Writer)
  • Sorceror from Outer Space (1969, Director)
  • Warrior and the Demon (1969, Director)
  • Gorgon, the Space Monster (1969, Director)
  • Gorgo Versus Godzilla (1969, Director)
  • Terror from Space (1963, Director)
  • Revenge of the Colossal Beasts (1962, Director)

Bands:

  • The Coupe de Villes (1971-present)
  • The Kaleidoscope (1966-1968, Guitar)
  • Tomorrow's Children (1965)

Discography/Soundtrack/Composer:

  • Planet Terror (2007) (writer, performer: "Back To The Pod / The Crazies Come Out")
  • Grindhouse (2007) (writer, performer: "The Crazies Come Out")
  • Halloween aka "Rob Zombie's Halloween" (2007) (composer: theme music)
  • Halloween: Resurrection (2002, composer: theme "Halloween")
  • Ghosts of Mars (2001, Composer, Musician, Orchestrator)
  • Vampires (1998, Composer, Musician: rhythm guitar and synthesizers)
  • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998, composer: theme music)
  • Escape from L.A. (1996, Composer) ("Escape From New York - Main Title")
  • Village of the Damned (1995, Composer)
  • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995, composer theme)
  • In the Mouth of Madness (1995, Composer)
  • Body Bags (1993, Composer)
  •  Kickboxer from Hell (1992, Composer: stock music)
  • Halloween 5 (1989, Composer: theme "Halloween")
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988, Composer: theme "Halloween")
  • They Live (1988, Composer)
  • Prince of Darkness (1987, Composer)
  • Big Trouble in Little China (1986, Composer) (writer: "Big Trouble in Little China")
  • Christine (1983, Composer)
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, Composer)
  • Halloween II (1981, composer)
  • Escape from New York (1981, composer)
  • The Fog (1980, composer)
  • Halloween (1978, composer)
    -- Theme from Halloween also used in: "My Name Is Earl" (1 episode "Boogeyman, 2006  writer, performer); The Life of David Gale (2003) ; Haider lebt - 1. April 2021 (2002, performer);  "Bassie en Adriaan en de reis vol verrassingen" (13 episodes, 1994);
  • Assault on Precinct 13 (1976, composer)
  • Dark Star (1974, composer) (music: "Benson Arizona")
  • The Resurrection of Broncho Billy (1970, composer)

Interviews:

  • Tales from the Script (2008)
  • Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A. Romero (2008)
  • Starz Inside: Fantastic Flesh (2008) (TV)
  • Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008)
  • Science of Horror (2008)
  • The Secret World of Superfans (2008)
  • Halloween: Faces of Fear (2007)
  • Bloodsucking Cinema (2007) (TV)
  • The Fearmakers Collection (2007) (V)
  • Final Delivery: The Making of 'Pro Life' (2007) (V)
  • Big John (2006) (TV)
  • Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet (2006) (V)
  • Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006)
  • Celluloid Apocalypse: An Interview with John Carpenter (2006) (V)
  • Born to Controversy (2006) (V)
  • "Film '72" .(1 episode - Feb. 20, 2006)
  • Whiteout Conditions: The Remaking of a Horror Classic (2006) (V)
  • Feeling the Effects of 'The Fog' (2006) (V)
  • Seeing Through 'The Fog' (2006) (V)
  • Hollywood's Greatest Villains (2005) (TV)
  • The Perfect Scary Movie (2005) (TV) .
  • THS Investigates: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer (2005) (TV)
  • Snake Plissken: Man of Honor (2005) (V) .
  • "Animal Icons" (1 episode - It Came from Japan, 2005)
  • 05 Spaceys (2005) (TV)
  • "The 100 Scariest Movie Moments" (2004) TV mini-series .
  • Christine: Ignition (2004) (V)
  • Christine: Fast and Furious (2004) (V)
  • Christine: Finish Line (2004) (V)
  • John Carpenter: Fear Is Just the Beginning... The Man and His Movies (2004) (V)
  • Tales from the Crypt: From Comic Books to Television (2004) (TV)
  • Cinemaker (2004) (V) .
  • Super Secret Movie Rules: Slashers (2004) (TV)
  • Return to 'Escape from New York' (2003) (V)
  • The 100 Greatest Scary Moments (2003) (TV)
  • An Opera of Violence (2003) (V)
  • The Wages of Sin (2003) (V) .
  • Something to Do with Death (2003) (V)
  • "Durch die Nacht mit..." (1 episode, 2003)
  • 'Halloween': A Cut Above the Rest (2003) (TV)
  • "SexTV" (1 episode  - Dark Desires: Sexuality in the Horror Film, 2003)
  • Do You Remember Laurie Zimmer? (2003) (voice)
  • Masters of Horror (2002) (TV)
  • Tales from the Mist: Inside 'The Fog' (2002) (V)
  • "E! True Hollywood Story" (1 episode-Scream, 2001)
  • Hidden Values: The Movies of the Fifties (2001) (TV)
  • "HBO First Look" .(1 episode-Ghosts of Mars, 2001)
  • "The Daily Show" (1 episode Aug 14, 2001)
  • AFI's 100 Years, 100 Thrills: America's Most Heart-Pounding Movies (2001) (TV) .
  • Red Desert Nights: Making 'Ghosts of Mars' (2001) (V) .
  • Scoring Ghosts of Mars (2001) (V)
  • 'Ghosts of Mars': Special Effects Deconstruction (2001) (V) .
  • The American Nightmare (2000)
  • Guns for Hire: The Making of 'The Magnificent Seven' (2000) (TV)
  • Faces of Evil (2000) (TV)
  • Mario Bava: Maestro of the Macabre (2000) (TV)
  • Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror (2000) (TV)
  • 'Halloween' Unmasked 2000 (1999) (V)
  • The Thing: Terror Takes Shape (1998) (V)
  • Unmasking the Horror (1998) (V)
  • The Reality Trip (1997) (TV)
  • "A-Z of Horror" (1997) TV mini-series .
  • 100 Years of Horror: Demons (1996) (V)
  • 100 Years of Horror: Witchcraft and Demons (1996) (V) .
  • 100 Years of Horror: Aliens (1996) (V)
  • 100 Years of Horror: Gory Gimmicks (1996) (V)
  • 100 Years of Horror: Sorcerers (1996) (V)
  • "Movie Magic" .... Himself (1 episode- Action Effects: Ultimate Action, 1996)
  • 100 Years of Horror: Maniacs (1996) (V)
  • "Carrie on Hollywood" (1 episode- Chasing the Hollywood Dream)
  • After Sunset: The Life & Times of the Drive-In Theater (1995) (V)
  • Masters of Illusion: The Wizards of Special Effects (1994) (TV)
  • Fear in the Dark (1991) (TV) .
  • Fear on Film: Inside 'The Fog' (1980) (TV)

Trivia:

  • Halloween's original title was The Babysitter Murders
  • The Donald Pleasence character in Halloween is named Sam Loomis, a nod to John Given's character in Psycho with the same name.
  • Assault on Precinct 13 was heavily influenced by Howard Hawke's Rio Bravo and Carpenter edited the film under the pseudonym John T. Chance, the name of John Wayne's character in Rio Bravo.
  • Carpenter considers Assault on Precinct 13 is first real film as it was the first shot on a schedule.
  • The music in Halloween was inspired by Dario Argento's Suspiria and William Friedkin's The Exorcist.
  • 1979's Elvis was the first of several collaborations with Kurt Russell.
  • Three films make up what Carpenter calls his Apocalypse Trilogy: The Thing, Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness.
  • Columbia Pictures choose Michael Douglas' script Starman over the script for E.T. and Douglas chose Carpenter as director. Carpenter described the movie as It Happened One Night with an alien.
  • Carpenter was offered the Exorcist III but declined after a dispute with William Peter Blatty over the ending.
  • Carpenter has scored all of his films (some times in collaboration with another) except: The Thing, Starman, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, and The Ward
  • In 2006 the Library of Congress dubbed Halloween as cultural significant and included it in the National Film Registry.

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