John Carpenter Applauds ‘Let the Right One In’ for Reinventing the Vampire Genre

·3 min read

John Carpenter’s legacy in the horror genre just keeps building, even nearly five decades after “Halloween.”

The director is currently producing and composing the score for upcoming “cathartic” franchise conclusion “Halloween Ends,” helmed by David Gordon Green. While lead star Jamie Lee Curtis has confirmed this is her final time as the iconic final girl after more than four decades as Laurie Strode, Carpenter told The New Yorker that there’s always room for another sequel…or re-quel or remake.

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“I will have to see how much money it makes!” Carpenter quipped of “Halloween Ends,” out this October.

Carpenter added that he, “to an extent,” keeps up with new movies, applauding 2008 filmLet the Right One In.” Directed by Tomas Alfredson and based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s coming-of-age vampire novel, the film focused on a bullied teen who befriends his mysterious neighbor.

“I thought there was a great one that came along, called ‘Let the Right One In,'” Carpenter said of his favorite recent horror film. “I thought that was a movie that reinvents the vampire genre — it really does — and I admire it for that.”

The film spurred a Matt Reeves-helmed remake and a Showtime series that is currently in development. IndieWire’s Eric Kohn lauded the film in IndieWire’s 2017 rundown of the best foreign-language films of the 21st century, citing Alfredson’s ability to merge a “Spielbergian sense of childhood awe with the dread of a darker world just outside the frame.”

Speaking of Spielberg, or rather not speaking of him, Carpenter drew a line between himself and Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola as titans of film history.

“No, no I don’t know those bums — er, guys,” Carpenter said of his peers. “I did know the horror directors. I was friends with all of them: Tobe Hooper and George Romero, those guys.”

He added, “The best cinematographer I ever worked with was Dean Cundey, a genius with lighting. Everybody is different, so it’s hard to say. Some cinematographers are centered around the entire visual image. Some utilize their profession for ego boosting. Some are there to serve the director, which is what you’re supposed to do. I look at it like composing [music]. My son, my godson, and I are composing the score for the new ‘Halloween’ movies. We’re here to serve the director, not to tell him what to do. We’re there to make his vision, not ours.”

And what does a “classic” film auteur even mean anymore anyways? Carpenter weighed in.

“I find that it’s probably better not to pay too much attention to it. Right? Film criticism changes depending on the times,” the “In the Mouth of Madness” director said. “One minute you’re a genius, and then another minute you’re a bum. Well, both things are not true.”

Carpenter concluded, “Look, I’m just a broken-down horror director trying to get along in this world, O.K.? That’s all I’m trying to do, navigate the shoals. I think it’s always fun. A lot of it is a lot of fun. Interacting with fans is fun because they’re always so nice. That’s great. Talking about my own movies? God, no. I hate it. I don’t want to do that. They speak for themselves.”

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