John Carpenter is a Rock Star written by Jason R Latham for Vegas Seven
Vegas Seven

October saw the release of filmmaker John Carpenter’s latest studio album, Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998, a collection of memorable scores from his career. To promote the album, Carpenter is going on tour with his band, and the first stop is The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Sunday, October 29.

I previewed Carpenter’s concert for Vegas Seven after sampling the album, using excerpts from an interview provided by his publicist. As a director, Carpenter has been out of sight since 2010’s The Ward (a film few people saw), but he’s gained a new following thanks to two successful electronic albums, Lost Themes and Lost Themes II. In fact, he’s seems to be enjoying this “second career” at an age in which most people have settled into retirement. At 69, not only is Carpenter embarking on a tour, but he’s also lined up to score the

next Halloween movie, due out in 2018, and he recently wrote the foreword for Now Playing Podcast’s Underrated Movies We Recommend.

I’ve been a fan of Carpenter’s films since I was a kid, getting hooked on The Fog, Halloween, and They Live. In the 90s I discovered The Thing and Christine, and I remember seeing Village of the Damned, Escape from L.A.,Vampires, and Ghosts of Mars in the theater. Shockingly, I didn’t see Escape from New YorkBig Trouble in Little China, or Prince of Darkness until I was an adult — for some reason, I just never stumbled upon the films when they were on cable, and I passed them over without much thought at the video store.

But now I’ve seen them all, and while I can’t say they’re all great, they’re all patently Carpenter, right down to his synth scores. In some cases, the scores are better than the movies themselves, and that’s what gets me so excited to see him live.

 

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This has been an outstanding year for Now Playing Podcast, and it just keeps getting better. Today we announced that Halloween director John Carpenter will pen the foreword to Now Playing’s Kickstarter-funded book, “Underrated Movies We Recommend.”

The Kickstarter project was a massive success earlier this year, and for months the hosts of the show have been watching movies and writing nonstop. Right now the book is on target to ship in the second quarter of 2016, and fans can pre-order their copies at the Now Playing website.

Here’s a link to the news release announcing Carpenter’s involvement with the project.

It’s been a ridiculously busy week, I realized today I’ve been on every site in my network except for this one. So maybe I’ll just post some highlights of everything that’s happening:

1) Now Playing “Pick a Podcast” Poll

Over at the Now Playing Podcast website, we’re running a poll where you can choose one of five films for an upcoming review. The contenders are Babadook (haven’t seen it), Wes Craven’s Shocker (legendary horror bomb), Sinister (haven’t seen that either), John Carpenter’s They Live (a classic), and The Usual Suspects (another classic).

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The poll closes Feb. 27, so there’s still time to cast your vote. I’m backing They Live, because I think it’s the last really great John Carpenter film, and I loved it as a kid.

The winner of the poll will be announced during the March 3 review of 2 Fast 2 Furious.

2) Preview of Furious 7 soundtrack

Speaking of The Fast and the Furious franchise (because that’s something I never write about), two tracks from the Furious 7 soundtrack are online now, and more will be coming ahead of the films April 3 release.

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I’ve been thinking about writing some articles about the F&F soundtracks, going back to the first film, which was heavy on Ja Rule, back when he and Limp Bizkit were still popular.

I listened to one track from Furious 7, “Ride Out” by Kid Ink, Tyga, Wale, YG, and Rich Homie Quan. It was pretty good. By the way, writing all of those names made me feel very old.

3) The campaign has begun

Tuesday night’s live Now Playing Podcast review of Kingsman: The Secret Service was such a blast. It was great fun interacting with all of the listeners in the chat room and on Twitter.

The show kicked off Venganza Media’s first Kickstarter campaign to fund “Underrated Movies We Recommend.” The listeners have been incredibly generous so far, and $23,000 was raised within the first 24 hours.

The campaign runs until March 19.

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Composer Alan Howarth performing at the Halloween: 35 Years of Terror convention

Composer Alan Howarth closed out the Halloween: 35 Years of Terror convention at the Pasadena Convention Center on Saturday night with a sensational one-man performance of horror’s most-celebrated movie scores.

Taking the stage with a keyboard, laptop and electric guitar, Howarth described his live show as an amalgamation of his own work and classic John Carpenter film scores.

He then launched into a performance of Halloween III’s main titles and Chariots of Pumpkins as the crowd of fans and celebrity guests cheered.

Among those in attendance: Halloween III star Tom Atkins, stuntmen Chris Durand (Halloween H20) and Don Shanks (Halloween 5), and actors Beau Starr (Halloween 5) and Ken Foree (Halloween 2007).

Howarth’s nearly two-hour set included tracks from Christine, Escape From New York, The Thing and the rarely-heard Halloween 6 score.

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The Halloween: 35 Years of Terror convention stage

The convention, marking the 35th anniversary of John Carpenter’s Halloween, featured appearances by more than 60 stars of the 10 Halloween films.

Pasadena had hosted previous conventions for the films in 2008 and 2003.