Kamera Books: John Carpenter

Authors: Michelle Le Blanc & Colin Odell

If our retrospective on Carpenters films isn’t enough to go out there and watch his impressive back catalogue, then this book offers further opinion on the master of horror. For too long now Carpenter has had a bad rep for not making decent films anymore – but when you look back you realise that that is only half true. And more than that though is how much staying power his films have!

The opening of the book has a prolonged introduction to the auteur – his collaborators and his influences on cinema since. From here it gets into the guts of his work.

This guide covers all of his theatrical releases right up to The Ward and also includes looks at his TV work. Each film is given a fair and open minded look. This is especially helpful with films that have poor reputations. Having insight into how these films came about and were made are often just as fascinating as those that are critically or commercially successful.

The insight into the films is fine, and there are even comments made at the end of each that lead us into the next. like the fact that it was a near 10 year gap between Ghosts of Mars and The Ward. Perhaps one day a bigger and even better book might explain why to us in fuller deatil.

At the end of the book we are also given a look at other films he worked on as writer and composer, and there is a final chapter on the many remakes of his films as well which is good for the sake of covering all bases.

Just looking at the list of films on the back sleeve reminds us just how many he did that were great and that have influenced cinema – as well as stolen from at the same time! John Cis not a director we are likely to forget any time soon – and clearly has a batting average above that of his contemporaries.

Steven Hurst

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