American horror, colour, 1982, by John Carpenter, Language: English, Subtitles: Hungarian, 109'
Directed by John Carpenter
Screenplay by Bill Lancaster, John W. Campbell jr.
Director of photography: Dean Cundey
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cast: Kurt Russel, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart
Production: Universal Pictures, Turman-Foster Company
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 Hawks was also known for his westerns, Carpenter called this a western as well. Indeed, the film about a group of men forced to rely on one another does contain elements typical of the genre. 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’s monitor lingers respectfully on a television set playing one of Howard Hawk’s films. Although the films Body Snatchers (1978) and Alien (1979) made scifi/horror/alienattacks popular with both audiences and critics, Carpenter’s film was not profitable and he himself 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 in portraying the destruction of human civilization with such sensitivity.