Monday, 24 October 2016

John carpenter, the legend, the live show, the records.

John carpenter, the legend, the live show, the records.

It was in the murky days of the mid-eighties that I watched The Fog for the first time, a movie which still remains in my top 20 and my first encounter with what would become one of my favourite directors. A ghost story in a very raw sense, its spookiness is firmly instilled by the soundtrack created by John Carpenter. In late 87 I saw The Prince Of Darkness at the cinema; who again superbly augmented it with music along with frequent collaborator Alan Howarth, leaving my sleep pattern to be disturbed for several nights, something even the hurricane of that year failed to do. The following year saw John & Alan providing the sonic backdrop for “They Live”, somehow a commercial flop that has since gained a cult following, whatever that really means.  It’s not so subtle sub-text on advertising and government control is brilliantly woven into a science fiction narrative with the best fight scene I’ve ever seen thrown in for good measure. Around this time I started tracking down John Carpenter’s earlier works at the Blockbuster video store (pause for a nostalgic moment), Halloween, The Thing, Christine, Escape From New York, Assault On Precinct 13, Dark Star and Big Trouble In Little China are all highly recommended movies, all of which feature soundtracks that are either all or in part John Carpenter works.
Rather foolishly, I didn’t buy the original soundtrack albums at the time, knowing what I know now I would have bought armfuls of the things. Even some of the recent re-issues have alarmingly shot up in price and collectors are keen to pay well for good clean copies. So check your attics, just make sure it's not on Halloween. 

Dark Star – Extended Edition + Bonus Red Alien 7” – limited to 500 copies.
This 2001 spoof movie from 1974 didn’t have its soundtrack released until 1980; it featured music and dialogue from the film. This 2016 re-release comes with a red single with unreleased bonus material on the expertly named label - We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want Records.

The Fog – Limited double LP  1 - white  and 1 – green
The Fog only had to wait four years for its release after the movie and it was a stereo remix of the multitrack. Several versions have been released since, most notably on the Death Waltz label in gold, white/green haze and splatter versions. This 2015 release from Silva Screen Music features material sourced from the original cinema release tapes. 

Escape From New York – Expanded version double LP
Released this time along with the film in 1981, it too has seen a number of re-releases, with some funky coloured versions from Death Waltz. This Silva Screen version from 2016 has been recreated from the original analogue master tapes. 

Prince Of Darkness – Pale Blue Vinyl
Originally released to coincide with the film, this has been reissued several times; this 2013 version is from Death Waltz.

They Live – Clear Reissued.
“Put the glasses on! Put em on!” reads the cover spine of this 2014 reissue from Death Waltz. It contains an 8 page booklet featuring liner notes by Alan Howarth & Gary Pullin.

Halloween II - Clear Reissue
My latest John Carpenter acquisition (signed copy of Lost Themes aside), another Death Waltz reissue this one from 2014.

So I find myself at the Dome in Brighton on a Thursday evening, waiting for John Carpenter, his son Cody and band to perform songs from the aforementioned movies, along with the two recent “Lost Themes” albums. The stage lights up, first blue then red and they take the stage to a huge cheer which becomes even louder as they kick off with the “Escape From New York” theme. It’s a thoroughly entertaining show that will make a perfect Halloween night for those of you who are lucky enough to see the London appearance at the end of the month. 

For tickets and shows, put on the dam glasses and head to