Perhaps no other genre of film is more dependent on great music than horror. Think of Jaws without John Williams. Think Psycho without Bernard Herrmann. Imagine The Exorcist without Tubular Bells. In the last 40 years no one has had a bigger impact in genre filmmaking than John Carpenter, and one of the distinguishing characteristics of his films are the scores, many written and performed by the Master of Horror himself. Thursday night at Terminal 5 on the west side of Manhattan; with Christine, the sleek red Plymouth Fury, parked outside, fans packed in to watch and listen to the acclaimed horror director perform themes off his new album Anthology: Movie Themes (1974-1998).
Carpenter and his band rocked out for nearly 80 minutes, playing 18 tracks while clips from his epic film catalogue played on a screen behind them. They opened, fittingly with the theme from Escape from New York (1981). He pulled out some lesser known classics like Village of the Damned (1995), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Prince of Darkness (1987) and one of my personal favorites In the Mouth of Madness (1994), before getting into some of his classic themes like Halloween (1978) for which he passed lead keyboard duties to his son Cody Carpenter. He mixed in some original music which sounded great, including tracks like “Vortex,” and “Distant Dream.”
Carpenter looked great, was enthusiastic and energetic considering he’s months shy of 70-years old. You listen to the synthesized beats and pulsing rhythms of his scores, while watching the screen behind him and it was almost surreal. This was truly an epic experience, and it rekindles the appreciation fans have for Carpenter and his films. While films like Halloween and The Thing (1982) are undisputed classics, Carpenter’s filmography is undisputedly awe inspiring.
John Carpenter and the Anthology Tour roll on to Philadelphia this Saturday, November 18th before concluding the tour in Syracuse, NY on Sunday the 19th. Tickets are available at the official John Carpenter website. I cannot recommend this enough. For any fan of his films, this is a must see concert.
Escape From New York: Main Title
Assault on Precinct 13: Main Title
Village of the Damned: March of the Children
The Fog: Main Title Theme
They Live: Coming to L.A.
Starman: Starman Leaves (Jack Nitzsche cover)
The Thing: Main Theme – Desolation (Ennio Morricone cover)
Big Trouble in Little China: Pork Chop Express
Halloween Theme – Main Title
In the Mouth of Madness: In the Mouth of Madness
Prince of Darkness: Darkness Begins
Christine: Christine Attacks (Plymouth Fury)
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