When it’s all said and done, John Carpenter likely won’t go down in history being spoken of in the same breath as Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles, John Ford or any other director whose name is synonymous with path paving, pioneering or inspiring future generations. Despite directing a few titles that have resonated with audiences enough to be re-visited and reshaped by others (Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog), Carpenter has also directed his fair share of clunkers (pretty much his entire output since the 90s minus In the Mouth of Madness) or titles that aren’t easy to classify by the mainstream (Big Trouble in Little China, They Live).
Because of this, it’s easier for people to overlook Carpenter’s legacy or discredit his successes as anomalies than it is to admit that the man who wrote, “I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubble gum” is a skilled filmmaker. But if one wanted to prove that Carpenter’s success and worth were warranted, he or she would have to look no further than The Thing as Exhibit A, B and C.
Besides Stephen King, the name in literature most synonymous with the macabre and horror genre would have to be Edgar Allan Poe. And like King, Poe’s work has been siphoned for decades to fuel film adaptations, mostly in the 1960s by Roger Corman starring Vincent Price.
The latest adaptation from this notorious master of the grotesque is Stonehearst Asylum, directed by Brad Anderson. It boasts a notable cast, including Oscar winners Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine and a rich choice of source material in Poe’s story, “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether.” If you are at all familiar with that story, then much of the film’s conceit will already be known to you, but since that story doesn’t involve a pendulum, a heart, or a raven, I’ll assume you haven’t read it.
In this episode, Tyler and Josh discuss Henry Selick’s Coraline and the Wachowskis’ The Matrix.
00:00:44- Intro, I Do Movies Badly
00:06:43- Reed’s latest articles
00:08:35- Chicago meet-up (October 18, 8:30 pm, D’Agostino’s [Southport/Addison])
00:48:07- The Matrix
1:15:37- Episode wrap-up
They used to tell me something about spiders when I was a kid—something they still say, actually: “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them.” I never believed that for a second. Sure, I was a giant in their world, but they had the ability to hide and the speed and the fangs. They were venomous.
Something else “they” used to tell me growing up—whoever “they” happened to be—was not to be my own worst enemy in life. They meant, of course, that people have a tendency to sabotage the good things in their life, whether they do so intentionally or not. This idea is explored in both literal and metaphorical ways in Enemy, last year’s film by Denis Villeneuve starring Jake Gyllenhaal.