Sunday, June 6, 2010

John Carpenter Master of Fear Collection

I recently picked up a DVD set that has four movies on two discs.  There are no special features, save some audio options, but the films are there.  It contains The Thing, Prince of Darkness, They Live, and Village of the Damned.  All four films are by John Carpenter.

In lieu of a complete movie review of all four, I'm going to do an abridged version.

The Thing (1982):  This movie is the reason I bought the DVD.  Kurt Russell does an excellent job of being a leader, and a rebel.  This film is very much my Psycho of the 80s.  For a horror film, it has everything you need.

Prince of Darkness (1987):  This is probably the weakest of the four.  Which isn't to say it isn't good.  I quite enjoyed it, it just wasn't at the same level as the other three.  Donald Pleasence is the big star in this film, although he doesn't get a whole lot of screen time.  There are some good moments in this movie, but they are spaced too far apart.  Also, this film has a longer runtime than the others, which probably doesn't help.

They Live (1988):  Going through film school, I heard a lot about this film, and all of its criticisms of society.  Despite relatively unknown actors, this film was great.  John Carpenter really plays with perception in a border-line hypocritical way that at times is frightening, and other times is hilarious.

Village of the Damned (1995):  Kids can be really creepy.  This movie probably had the best cast of the bunch: Christopher Reeve, Mark Hamill, and Kirstie Alley.  In this movie, Carpenter focuses mostly on two or three families, and their experiences with the new 'children.'  It was good to see Mark Hamill in something where he wasn't swinging a lightsaber.

Basically, this collection is a good buy.  No, there are no special features, but, looking at the DVD for The Thing, you wouldn't really be missing much.  Unfortunately with some of these older movies, there's just not a lot in the way of special features.  Ultimately, if you're the casual movie watcher, and are looking to experience John Carpenter, this is the set for you.  If you're the film junky and you simply have to have all the features, you'll probably want to buy these seperately.

© Nate Phillipps 2010

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