John Carpenter’s horror films are certainly in a league of their own.
With haunting undertones, dreary settings and inimitable villains, Carpenter became the king of high-concept horror and sci-fi.
With hits like “Halloween,” “The Fog,” “Escape from New York” and “Starman,” the 69-year-old remains at the top of his respective genre.
Do note, however, that there’s more to Carpenter than meets the eye. He’s also an experienced musician who’s scored his own films. Yes, the original “Halloween,” tracking the plodding movements of Michael Myers as he stalks Laurie Strode, was scored by the filmmaker.
Now, Carpenter is putting those skills on display for a paying audience. He’ll be performing a show dedicated to “Halloween” and other movie scores on Oct. 31 — in impeccably timed event for the king of cult-classic flicks.
Director John Carpenter attends Entertainment Weekly’s CapeTown Film Festival presented by The American Cinematheque and TNT’s “Falling Skies” at the Egyptian Theatre on May 2, 2013 in Hollywood, Calif.
(Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Entertainment W)
His show, at the Hollywood Palladium, will be backed by a heavy metal band (with his son and godson) and a rhythm section featuring the satirical rock band Tenacious D, according to the L.A. Times.
It will also feature tracks from his concept albums “Lost Themes” I and II.
The show is poised to promote an Oct. 20 release of an anthology album called “Movie Themes 1974-1998.” It will feature new recordings from Carpenter’s earlier hits.
While the 69-year-old is realizing some new fame on stage, he recognizes that it’s sort of a tonal shift from his earlier work.
“I mean, what am I doing here?” Carpenter told the L.A. Times. “I’m this old guy, you know. But it’s so much fun.”
The director and musician still said that movies are his first love, though, so he’ll be “staying with the girl that brought me to the dance.”
He told the outlet that his infatuation with music began young — as his father was a music professor.
He listened to numerous musical scores growing up, formed a cover band that played at frat parties and ultimately scored films for his classmates at USC film school.
Tony Moran as Mike Myers in the classic horror film, “Halloween” (1978). The film’s director, John Carpenter, is now making rounds as a musician — the renown director is particularly known for his movie scores.
(Everett Collection / Everett Col)
When his first movie, “Dark Star,” came out in 1974, Carpenter knew he was the obvious choice to create the music.
“It was all necessity,” he told the L.A. Times. “Because I could play keyboards, I knew the synthesizer. And I knew I could make things sound big with enough tracks — I could make it almost sound like an electronic orchestra.”
He eventually broached the topic of “Halloween,” too. One executive, he said, disliked the film immensely. But Carpenter said it’d been incomplete when the person viewed it: “Halloween” still needed its unmistakably damp and dismal “jingle,” for lack of a better word.
The filmmaker added that, to him, music is always a component injected into a film to enhance it. He called it completely “utilitarian.”
Carpenter is now the producer on the upcoming sequel to “Halloween,” directed by David Gordon Green — and, yes, featuring Jamie Lee Curtis once more. Carpenter’s most recent film was a director was “The Ward” in 2010.
So, as Hollywood — namely homage-paying series like “Stranger Things” — continues to lift elements from Carpenter’s filmmaking style, the director appears content knowing that he’ll be sprucing up another project with his electronic sounds.