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John Carpenter On People Remaking His Films: “Pay Me”

Over my 17 year tenure, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of interviewing the great John Carpenter on several occasions. He’s blunt, forthcoming, and would rather talk about basketball and video games than horror movies. Something else that’s constant is that he could give two shits about his films being remade, always expressing that money is his only objective. On the set of The Fog remake, he was asked about his involvement only answering, “They paid me,” which resulted in several of us doing a double-take. Yes, he’s blunt.

The Fog isn’t  the first remake, and it won’t be the last. They’re currently casting Halloween, while also developing Escape From New York.  In a fresh interview with The Guardian, he was asked how he feels about people remaking his films. His answer is fire.

“I love it, if they are going to pay me money,” Carpenter explained.

He continues: “If they pay me, it’s wonderful. If they don’t pay me, I don’t care. I think it’s unfair if they don’t pay me. I think everyone should pay me. Why not? I’m an old guy now and I need money. Send me money.”

It’s a bit snarky and obnoxious but at least he’s honest. The only thing that upsets me when he talks like this is that he’s being paraded around as a creative force behind the next Halloween. Does he actually give a fuck or is he playing nice because he knows he’s getting a fat check at the end of the day? I suspect the latter, and that’s heartbreaking. At least Carpenter will always be Carpenter and it’s hard to not love him.



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COMMENTS

96 Comments
  • pablitonizer

    money makes the world go round, the world go round, the world go round…

    • Simon Allen

      Miss Minnelli ….you’re on in 5 !!

      • Saturn

        “you did make sure that Harvey Weinsteins not in the building, right?”

        • Simon Allen

          Ooooooooh ….too soon !!!

      • J Jett

        jazz hands! 🙂

        • Simon Allen

          HA HA !!!

  • Forca84

    I feel he lost his Passion awhile ago. But it is what it is.

  • King Jordyn

    I’m hoping for the former. He’s talked about how RZ version was pretty much a mess. Lets see if he’s really stepping in to clean it back up.

    • J Jett

      i’m sure he’s not only referring to Rob Zombie’s films. THE FOG remake was infinitely worse than either Rob Zombie film.

      • To be fair, Zombie has stated that Carpenter was rude to him over the remakes, which Carpenter has said is a boldface lie.

  • Rohan

    Why should he care? He’s been getting nothing but shit since Halloween, and just now he’s getting the praise he deserves when it doesn’t matter. “Oh you like my movie now? Where were you when it came out and flopped?” seems like is his response to his ‘cult’ status. He doesn’t owe anyone anything.

    • My P.O.V. is – Why should he care? Many of the people behind the remakes of his films don’t. That being said, he obviously wasn’t referring to the new Halloween. He was referring to licensed remakes of his films in general.

  • llcc1103

    The Thing
    Christine
    In the Mouth of Madness
    Halloween
    They Live
    Escape From NY
    Starman
    etc etc etc

    Hes a legend

    • The Night King

      Ghosts of Mars
      Memoirs of an Invisible Man
      Escape from LA
      The Ward
      Vampires

      Halloween 2018 (?)

      He’s a legend who has made some brilliant movies as well as sold some real garbage to his fans.

      • Brandon

        Ghosts and Escape and Vampires can be fun, in the right mood.

        • Saturn

          Dimly lit room?
          Pizza?
          Beer?

      • Saturn

        Ghosts Of Mars is flawed – but it’s not the turgid piece of shit some pretend it to be – I expect in years to come it will garner quite a cult following.
        Vampire$ I hated initially, but happened to catch a tv showing of it a couple of years back and actually found myself enjoying it – enough to dig out my dvd of it to give a watch it from the beginning again the following day – and guess what? It’s not as bad as I’d remembered.

        Escape From L.A. – total misfire there – shame really as it had “the chin” in it.

        Memoirs – I know I saw that upon it’s initial VHS release, but don’t remember a thing about it. Maybe it’s time to give it another go.

      • Kristoffer Groves

        Ghosts of Mars and Escape From LA are good fun.

    • J Jett

      THE FOG!! 🙂

      • Simon Allen

        J’adore .

  • Jay Bennett

    The bluntest and best headline ever

  • John Connor

    I appreciate this honest article.

    Yes, the new Halloween sounds like absolute horseshit.

    “I have an idea, let’s make a sequel to the Halloween series that ignores and disrespects the Halloween series and we’ll rewrite everything that’s been established because I never liked the series. ”

    Fuck you, Danny McBride!

    • He was referring to remakes of his films in general. If you’ve been keeping up, Carpenter obviously cares about the new Halloween (or does a rather amazing job pretending that he cares). As for “disrespecting the series”, most of the series after the first three weren’t good regardless. The original two films are the classics of the franchise (and the only reason it’s a longstanding franchise to begin with), and making it a sequel to the 1978 original makes complete sense. It’s much better than doing a second reboot that erases everything, and it can return the franchise to its scary roots that it has fallen far from.

      If you are worried about a comedy director making a Halloween film, you should probably take a look at such hits as Get Out and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So far, the only reason I’ve seen to be skeptical of the new Halloween film are a couple of bizarre statements from McBride. Other than that, the pros outweigh the cons.

  • Bart Crowe

    John Carpenter is the best. I love that he is essentially retired and freely speaks his mind because he don’t give a fuck. Even cooler he spends most of his time playing video games, apparently Carpenter is a big fan of Destiny 2.

  • Khy

    Lol Such a happy whore.

    I don’t blame him. Gotta collect those coins!

  • RJ MacReady

    He may not have the passion he used to, but he gave us the greatest stretch of movies from ’78-’88.
    Halloween
    The Fog
    Escape from NY
    The Thing
    Big Trouble in Little China
    Prince of Darkness
    They Live

    Dude deserves to get paid!

    • Saturn

      Indeed, I’ve actually grown quite fond of his Vampire$ too over the years.
      As good as his 80’s output? No.
      But, for a 1990’s horror movie it’s pretty solid as was In The Mouth Of Madness.
      And his M.O.H. stuff was decent too.

      I’d love to see a collaboration between Carpenter & Argento – while we’re still luck enough to have them.

      • Mightygil

        that collaboration may have been interesting many years ago, but I’m not so sure about now

        • Saturn

          In the 1980’s it would have been potentially great – I’d like to believe that they both have at least one more great piece of art between them.
          A Masters Of Horror anthology movie could be the way to go.
          Perhaps have 3 main stories, 25 mins long, from Carpenter,Argento and Dante, with a handful of shorts, perhaps 5 mins long by up and coming new talent – maybe have a competition to choose the shorts, with the reward being having your name up there with the REAL Masters.

          • Mightygil

            Interesting idea, but I’m not convinced it would work now, unlike the 80s as you said. I can’t speak for Argento since I’m not the biggest fan, but although I think Carpenter has some great things left in him directing a film isn’t one of them. His comments on shooting the Christine video recently seem to suggest he just doesn’t have it anymore

  • Blood Boil

    The dude is also touring with his music which rules. I can’t wait to eat acid and go see him in Boston

    • John Connor

      I bet if you pay him enough, he’ll eat acid and go see you.

      • Saturn

        Dammit John!
        You made me spit out my Brussels Sprout Vindaloo!!!

      • J Jett

        LOL! 🙂

  • Mightygil

    it’s a shame others don’t join him in not giving a fuck about the new Halloween

    • gilles008

      You are aware that he is producing that movie, has direct input on the script, and is doing the music for it?

      • Mightygil

        What I mean is in reference to what’s said above. He maybe doing that stuff, but it doesn’t mean he cares

        • J Jett

          that makes no sense Mightygil. if Carpenter doesn’t care about this new H film then he wouldn’t bother to be involved with it in any way, shape for form and he most definitely wouldn’t bother to take the time and write the soundtrack for it. he may not have cared about the numerous lousy H sequels (parts 5 through RESURRECTION) but it definitely seems like he cares about this new film.

          • Mightygil

            I’m just basically agreeing with Brad (which is rare). The man is getting paid, and part of that is probably going to mean he’s not going to bad mouth it. I just don’ think he cares about the movie, just the money, which is kinda what Brad said. The soundtrack is probably the only part he does care about. As I’m sure you know he’s released a couple of albums in the last few years and has kind of a hits package out in 2 days that he is touring this fall. He cares about the music. He cares about the money. I’m not so sure he cares about the film.

  • Necro

    With the great films he’s brought to the genre over the years who can argue with him?! In my personal top 20 films 5 of them belong to Carpenter. Hey he was asked the question and he answered, plus they’re remaking films HE already did so I’d want payed to.

  • Saturn

    As an Englishman I must first point out that it pisses me off when you yankees use the terms “could give 2 shits” or “could care less” – the term should be “couldn’t give 2 shits” or “couldn’t care less”, as the yankee version implies that you do actually care a little bit, whereas when WE say it we’re definitive is that we could NOT care less!
    Now, after you lot berate me with “aha! But we could care less!” I’d like to say that John Carpenter is awesome in his honesty.
    If the upcoming Escape is shite? Shame, but the original CLASSIC doesn’t disappear.
    Since RZ made his take on the Halloween franchise? Yup, the original is still held up in as high esteem as before.
    So what if Carpenter only get involved for the money?
    You gotta pay the bills – and I reckon most of us wouldn’t do our job for free if we had no other income coming in.
    John Carpenter – although some of his later output wasn’t at the standards of his 70’s-80’s output is still a legend. Quite possibly the GREATEST horror/genre director of them all.
    There, I’ve said it.

    • Neckbeard The Terrible

      Thanks from a Yank , who has always hated folks dropping the n’t as well

    • Very true, though people here in the states have never been one to “give two shits” over grammar, haha

    • Jarle Solbakken Fremstad

      I could care less about it but I don’t so I thank you for saying this.

  • TrackRecord162

    He’s just burnt out by the industry and it shows.

  • Before everyone starts complaining, yes he obviously cares about the new Halloween film. He was referring to remakes of his films IN GENERAL. Not only has Carpenter spoken out about how Michael Myers was treated by Dimension Films, but he immediately got in on the rights as soon as Dimension lost them. He also stated his express intention to make the new film the “scariest sequel of them all” (his words), and he and Blumhouse sought out a pitch from filmmakers who seemed to understand the 1978 original, with him even returning to do the musical score for the first time since Halloween III. Plus, he’s actually around as a creative force this time.

    Everybody, let’s just take a deep breath. Although Danny McBride has dropped some bizarre statements, let’s remember that there are way more reasons to be excited for this film than to be skeptical. The creative team behind it is not Dimension Films.

    • jasonlives1986

      Except the fact that if you read what brad said, that he’s wondering if carpenter really is a creative force on this Halloween or if that’s a lie to drum up support from those who have since lost interest.

      Which I believe is the case. I think carpenter is glorified paid spokesman for this movie and he’s happy to do so

      As long as he’s paid

      • Which doesn’t line up with Carpenter’s behaviour/attitude toward the franchise, going from before Dimension lost the rights and leading up to now.

        • jasonlives1986

          Based on what’s going in with Harvey Weinstein.

          Does he sound like a man who’s gonna pay carpenter?

          Also carpenter isn’t shying away about how he needs money

          Carpenter was still a working director through the dimension years of the Halloween franchise before the remakes.

          Halloween wasn’t an interest to him because he had other options.

          • Carpenter was hardly involved with in the recent Dimension Films, and had spoken out on how the franchise was treated (particularly with the Rob Zombie films).

            “Also carpenter isn’t shying away about how he needs money.”

            Yes, we can clearly see that. And it hardly equates to him being “uninvolved” with the new film, or disinterested.

            “Carpenter was still a working director through the dimension years of the Halloween franchise before the remakes.”

            In the early years, after he ended things with Halloween II, why would he want to immediately return (especially when he had other projects)? And for one, him being a working director does not mean that Dimension Films ever had any interest in hiring him or having his input. In fact, they clearly didn’t want his input. For two, their treatment of the films is why he is returning this time.

          • jasonlives1986

            I’m too lazy to re read what i wrote but that’s my point.

            Dimension may or may not of extended an offer I have no idea. But I do personally believe he would of turned them down regardless.

            I grew up during that era. I know factually that carpenter said he’d only ever do a another Halloween movie IF THEY ALLOWED him to kill Myers for good. And we know that wasn’t happening.

            If you look at h6, 7 and 8 and the dimension films in the canon, I’d say 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

  • Selina x

    Haha I love his snark personally. Thing is He knows his horror lore and the dumb hacks that refucked his films do not…Im looking at you Rob!! Why the Zombie hate? I have NEVER liked his films, what he did to his take on Loomis is pure cinematic rape (end rant!). I am Team Carpenter and as shallow as that all sounds I couldn’t give two shits. John consistently for years gave us some the most beloved flicks ever made and its damn right he should get paid when the pretenders keep raking over genius in those reshits (seriously! The fog repoo stank!) All hail John the genre whore. Give him his due coin. X

  • Dan

    Good for him, he deserves it, nothing’s free…..

  • Grimphantom

    LOL i do laugh Carpenter’s “i’m old, give me money” i feel he’s Grunkle Stan from Gravity Falls XD.

    I would be at the same situation since even if i don’t give permission, the studio is the one holding the rights to the film and they can do whatever the fuck they want with or without Carpenter so obviously he should demand some payment since he came up with the idea.

  • Selina x

    I would like to reiterate my excitement for Halloween 2018! It can be no worse than any Carpenter redo and can only be better than Resurrection! So its win win tbh…Also what I have heard so far sounds fabulous. Cheque please x

  • Carpenter was born and spent his early childhood in a town about ten miles from where I live. If that had any impact on him, his bluntness would be part of it. We don’t tend to bullshit a whole lot around here.

    On a tangential note–we have a decent horror pedigree where I live. Carpenter was born in Carthage, NY, and Wes Craven spent some time teaching at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, about 10 miles from where I grew up. It seems I’ve spent my life within a decent radius of significant places in the history of some of horror’s greatest. (There are also rumors that crystal Lake is based on the lake of the same name that is up here too, though I haven’t heard any real proof of that.)

    • John Connor

      Where I’m from its filled with those opposite of my perspective.

      • mark long

        2029?

  • J Jett

    i miss Debra Hill. RIP.

  • Guyuk666

    Lol, I often get in shit for answering questions very honestly and to see the great JC is the same way is hilarious when he is straight up. It seems this day and age people are offended at people telling the truth which seems very very upside down to me. But people lie and people are happy? PFfffffft. Loved this guys movies since I first watched The Thing back in 1990 and will forever love his movies. The Thing is my all time favorite movie and Escape from New York is up there. Like others on here, RIP Debra Hill, you really were a mastermind of writing films, especially with this man.

    • John Connor

      Jesus Christ never existed.
      The story is a remake setup to gain sympathy, preying upon the emotions of idiots to follow the religion. It worked.

  • DukeStKing

    Money. Not artistic integrity. Yet another false idol.

    • Andrés

      But why should he care? He made his films, they are not being changed, they are still there, he doesn’t want to work on them again, just to receive compensation for what he’s done, how’s that the oposite of artistic integrity? They are not destroying his movies to replace them with the new ones… that would be an entirely different thing. Besides, I worship John Carpenter (and most film directors and artists) for his work, not because he is a role model, or the incarnation of a god, so he is not a false idol to me!

    • Jarle Solbakken Fremstad

      So if you spent your life making something and then as you grow older suddenly people are coming to you saying: “We’re gonna make your stuff only we’re gonna make it better now” you wouldn’t have any reactions?

      • DukeStKing

        I certainly would. I’d tell them to leave my shit alone. Stop being lazy and make up your own stories. Don’t ride my coattails!

        • Jarle Solbakken Fremstad

          Precisely, and knowing Hollywood they would listen to about 0% of that and do it anyway and Carpenter sure knows that so that’s probably why his answers are as such.

          • DukeStKing

            So someone says, “We’re going to take your child!” You tell them no fucking way! They say, “We’re taking her anyway! ” Then you say, ” Ok. But give me 3.50.” No way! You fight! For your right! To parrrrrrty!

          • Jarle Solbakken Fremstad

            Then what? You take them to court? Please, that would probably cost him thousands (if not millions) of dollars and definitely a whole lot of time that could be spent doing something that’s not 100% futile like make some music, which is what he does.

  • Seal Clubber

    A couple of comments:

    1) He should be payed. He created the IP. Any use of it should result in him getting a check.

    2) “Does he actually give a fuck or is he playing nice because he knows he’s getting a fat check at the end of the day?”. This is the dumbest comment I ever saw typed here. So you can’t be paid for your art? You have to do it for love, not money, and let the studio execs get rich? Let me ask this – the the author of this article get paid or was it done for the love? If he got paid is the article not as good ??

    Being a director is a job. That’s how they make their money …. questioning him for getting paid for his expertise is at best stupid and at worst extremely insulting.

    • jasonlives1986

      Brad said that carpenter isn’t a real creative force for the NEW HALLOWEEN and is likely pretending to be to receive money while blumhouse can parade around saying that carpenter is a creative member of this incarnation so they can avoid Halloween resurrection.

      That’s everyone’s prerogative but brad is calling a spade when he sees one and that’s a fresh take for this site.

    • Trelo Leipsano

      What does it mean he created IP??? A true artist should care about his love for the art and the thing he loves and wants to do!!!!!!

      • Seal Clubber

        lol so an artist should only make things for love and not own the rights to his creations or be paid for them ? lol …. IP means Intellectual Property, as in he created the series.

        • Trelo Leipsano

          He can be paid tooo but first as an artist if he is an artist he needs to put his love and pathos and creativity first as his needs and the money in the second corner, either way he is gonna get paid!!! False I dol he IS and I am not a fan of his at all but I like just a few of his films!!! About the fact that he is hating to watch his movies, then why did he make them by his own hand and he did not let someone else do them??? If you make a movie no matter good or bad or awful movie or even the best it is that movie or show or something else that gives entertainment and education and art then you need to care and love it if it is good or awesome even if it is awful ir bad gou need to find good things or reasons to love in that thing you create, even if you need watch it many times to have the chance love or love things in it!!! And if many years have passed you need to care and love your awesome and good stuff and watch/listen/play and talk about them sometimes not ignoring them and hate if they are very cool stuff!!! Me when I am gonna publish my first novel then as long I write or read many novels I will still find interest, care and love about my first novel or movie I am about to make or write and I hope I can make stuff like movies or books!!!

  • Rake

    Well he knows they are going to remake his films regardless of what he has to say so from his pov it makes sense to want to get something from it. It would be one thing if he was trying to make a sequel or something like that but he already made these great films, he probably doesn’t give a crap what they do now.

  • Christian

    That second photo looks like John doing a Tommy Wiseau impression in front of Tommy Wiseau.

  • BreeBennett

    He lost his passion for art and now is just collecting coins.

    • Seal Clubber

      what are you talking about ? He made the first one – of course he should be paid.

    • Johnny Al Lenn

      He seemed fairly passionate about his music when I saw him playing live a year ago.

  • HeteroFriendly

    I just love honesty.
    Its a magical elixir with me.

    If one were to take it personal and emotionally you could get real upset dwelling on what hollywood has done with classic John Carpenter material and for John Carpnter allowing it.

    But he pretty much absolves himself of any guilt,
    morally or otherwise with a simple,
    “fck it, pay me!”.

  • jasonlives1986

    I am pleasantly surprised that bd just said what I’ve been saying all along.

    That carpenter has nothing to do with this other than blumhouse promoting the carpenter name for financial gain for everyone.

    Respect brad

  • diapers

    Props and respect for Carpenter for his contributions. But no small wonder he sits at home chain smoking pal mals in solitude much of the time. Dude can be pretty standoffish. To each their own.

  • ShadowInc

    I’d rather see Carpenter getting paid for directing new films.

  • Rass

    “He’s blunt, forthcoming, and would rather”

    Come on, guys. This is supposed to be a pro site. Learn basic grammar.

    • musteatbrains

      What’s the issue?

  • Edgar Pinecone

    Here’s the thing…if you enjoy a remade Carpenter, it doesn’t matter what he thinks of it.

    It’s a pity that almost every JC remake is garbage, but I won’t lose any sleep over it.

  • Florian Boire

    Hummm I’m skeptical, each video interviews i seen, he was very sarcastic ^^

    • Jarle Solbakken Fremstad

      Yeah, I feel there’s a lot more tongue in cheek in these comments of his than the writer of the article thinks.

  • marklola12 .

    They live really needs to be remade I think now is the right time though has to be done properly

    • Jarle Solbakken Fremstad

      I saw that movie for the first time last year and it really doesn’t need a remake.

  • marklola12 .

    tbh he may not give a fuck about Halloween like he said himself hes old and needs money lol

    Issue I have is he should have NO involvement in any remakes or reboots because he is another director who lost all his talent in the 80s literally there are loads of directors who were fantastic who are now just bad

    • kevinhorror

      I will admit that his last few outings as director were bland or out right bad… but he directed In the Mouth of Madness which was released in 1995, so its a little disingenuous to say all of his talent was left in the 80s. ITMOM is one of his better films and it seems to be always overlooked.

      • Tim Fritz

        I don’t personally feel In The Mouth of Madness is one of his better films; I actually think it kind of sucks. That isn’t really John’s fault as much as it is Sam Neill being a terrible actor.

  • Halloween_Vic

    I had a feeling and to be honest this kills my excitement for him being apart of the next Halloween. It’s clear he doesn’t have a passion for horror movies anymore, I mean he really could give a shit less unless he’s getting paid. Now I’m wondering his real thoughts on the new Halloween pitch and that sucks cause I really wanted him to be a huge creative force behind the new movie with intentions on creating a amazing film. I’m really sad now cause I remember a few years ago Jamie lee said she would only return if she was getting a fat paycheck. So the 2 original people who were huge reasons why the original is such a classic are only back for money. At this point I’m more confident in a new reboot and new story. 🙁

  • Evan3

    I have long suspected the latter. And even if he is a major creative voice, I don’t think it matters as his talent was spent long ago.

    I do agree with paying him, regardless (just like I wish the comic movies would pay the character or storyline creators).

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