After the jump, you'll find the guest heavy SPECIAL HALLOWEEN ALL-CARPENTER EPISODE of the Travis Bickle on the Riviera movie podcast. This is the longest episode we will ever do, we will never go this long again.
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This week, welcome our guests this week, whom we'd like to thank from the bottom of our empty little halloween hearts. Nina Stoo-oo-ooooone, Killdozer Katie Witzke, The Late Morgan Jeske: Owner of the Joe Cool Sweater, Brandon Grave-robbing-ham, IT CAME FROM JAMES STOKOE, Murder Zarcone, Diabolicus Brothers, Slay Leong, John (O.J.) Keogh, and the Severed Hands of Jared Lewis join Sean "Rectal Decapitation" Witzke and Tucker "Sayonara" Stone to talk about John Carpenter for longer than you could possibly imagine.
This week, we will be changing format again, into stealing the Dana Gould Hour's format unsuccessfully. Halloween is the only holiday worth celebrating or observing, aside from Tom Cruise's anniversary of going clear, so we are having a second Halloween special. The movies we discuss in guest segments include:
David Brothers on Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
Nina Stone on Village of The Damned (1995)
Jared Lewis on They Live (1988)
Morgan Jeske on Prince of Darkness (1987)
Katie Witzke on Escape From New York (1981)
John Keogh on In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
Brandon Graham, James Stokoe, & Marley Zarcone on Big Trouble In Little China (1986)
And finally Sloane Leong on The Thing (1982)
We also discuss: Dark Star (1974), The Philadelphia Experiment (1984), Halloween II (1982), The Fog (1980), Starman (1984), Christine (1983), Cigarette Burns (2005), Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), Escape From LA (1996), and Black Moon Rising (1986).
We somehow didn't discuss Halloween (1978), which is odd because it is kind of the key movie that got me obsessing over Carpenter, but if you listened to the show it should be obvious that Tucker is the one more readily available to discuss Carpenter as a whole and I'm mired down in specific films. Carpenter is the director that means the most to me, and I don't think I said that out loud on the show, or have the language to explain why. It's just... Carpenter makes movies that are easy to dig into on a film nerd level, on a genre level, for story or character, cinematography, music, editing special effects - you can pick what you are interested in. I think that after you go through that stuff, he's just a guy who tells stories in this consistent, thoughtful manner without calling attention to the style that makes him special when held against his peers. He is not the kind of social or political agitator that Cronenberg and Romero and the 70s/80s horror wave guys were, and he's not a populist storytelller - he's idiosyncratic in that he's someone creating personal work in plain sight because he likes to tell stories in genre structures. His politics isn't easily classifiable as left or right, his portrayal of men and women is consistent and nuanced in times and places where that's nearly impossible to find. The level of control he has on many of his greatest works -- acting as writer/director/editor/composer and sometimes producer -- contrasts against him being both an independent filmmaker and someone who took multiple shots at studio gold (those pictures being some of his most difficult and most successful). He's what I wish all directors were, and few are. He also has a streak of great movies -- major and minor works, but each of them legitimately great -- unparalelled in modern cinema. Carpenter is truly great, and as you can tell even after the longest podcast we'll ever do, we're still going to keep talking about him every opportunity we can get.
If you'd like to read about Carpenter - there is a fantastic interview book by Gilles Boulenger called John Carpenter: Prince of Darkness, and there is a monograph on They Live by Jonathan Lethem which is must-read status material. If you'd like to hear him talk about his movies - there's this great video of him introducing the Apocalypse Trilogy (The Thing/Prince of Darkness/In The Mouth of Madness) at a film festival, here's the Fear on Film roundtable between Carpenter, Landis, and Cronenberg, and here is Carpenter talking about Assault on Precinct 13 for French tv. For commentary tracks you need to listen to Carpenter and Kurt Russell on The Thing, Escape From New York, and Big Trouble In Little China (here's a segment from the Big Trouble one and here is the greatest photo ever taken) because they appear to be the only director/actor team in film history who are actually friends instead of people locked in weird psychological battle with one another. The commentaries for They Live and Halloween are pretty great as well. Bonus: Carpenter talks about Hitchcock's Vertigo here, here's an interview from the set of Escape From New York.
Our music this week includes: soundtracks and sound clips from (in order of appearance, links go to full tracks where available):
The Fog - "introduction"
Assault on Precinct 13 - "To the Basement" - John Carpenter
Halloween 3 - "Main Title" - Carpenter & Alan Howarth
Christine - "Show Me" - Carpenter & Howarth
Halloween 2 - "Still He Kills" - Carpenter & Howarth
They Live - "Transmission"
The Fog - "Reel 9" - Carpenter
Prince of Darkness - "I've got a Message For You" / "Bug Man" / "Message From The Future" - Carpenter & Howarth
Escape From New York - "Police Action" / "Romero and The President" - Carpenter & Howarth
Halloween - "Empty Street" - Carpenter
Assault on Precinct 13 - "Walking Out" - Carpenter
Big Trouble In Little China - "Here Come the Storms" - Carpenter & Howarth
Starman - "Starman Leaves" - Jack Nitzsche
The Thing - "Humanity pt. II" - Ennio Morricone
Assault on Precinct 13 - "Sanctuary?" - Carpenter
Prince of Darkness - "End Credits" - Carpenter & Howarth
AND "The Monster Mash" by Bobby Boris Pickett
NEXT WEEK: A normal episode.We've spoiled you for too long.
Happy Halloween and thank you for listening
- Sean Witzke and Tucker Stone, October 31, 2013