American action movie, colour, by J. Lee Thompson, 1969, Language: English, Subtitles: Hungarian, 128'
Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Screenplay by Carl Foreman
Director of photography: Joseph MacDonald
Music by Quincy Jones
Cast: Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Telly Savalas, Camilla Sparv, Keenan Wynn, Julie Newmar
Production: Columbia Pictures, Highroad Productions
Made after Assault on Precinct 13 and Halloween, this horror film was intended by John Carpenter to be the first instalment of his Apocalypse Trilogy. Carpenter’s central theme is the destruction of human civilization, featured here as well, in a film which is essentially a loose remake of Howard Hawk’s The Thing from Another World. As Hawkswas also known for his westerns, Carpenter called this a western as well. Indeed, the filmabout a group of men forced to rely on one another does contain elements typical of thegenre. At least as important as the slimy monsters who tear human bodies apart in this film is the depiction of how a community can be destroyed. In one of the more peaceful scenes of Carpenter’s classic 1978 horror flick Halloween, cameraman Dean Cundey’smonitor lingers respectfully on a television set playing one of Howard Hawk’s films. Although the films Body Snatchers (1978) and Alien (1979) made sci-fi/horror/alienattacks popular with both audiences and critics, Carpenter’s film was not profitable and hehimself was remembered as a talented horror director. Although Carpenter composed filmscores as well, he commissioned the soundtrack for this film from Ennio Morricone, who composed music that sounded like Carpenter had written it, making this the least characteristic of Morricone’s work. At the same time, very few have succeeded inportraying the destruction of human civilization with such sensitivity.