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Latest posts by Adam Carroll (see all)
- John Carpenter – Anthology (Movie Themes 1974 – 1998) - 24th October 2017
- Ken Russell’s The Devils Needs a Blu-Ray Release - 20th August 2017
- Blu-Ray Review: Is Psycho II The Perfect Sequel? - 9th August 2017
It was the 25th of October 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. Nearly one whole year since I have met, and witnessed my favourite director of all-time perform the iconic themes from his catalogue of phenomenal movies such as Halloween, They Live, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, and Christine to name a few. This icon is not only known as ‘The Horror Master’, but also as John Carpenter .
Even though I could spend dozens of hours discussing his movies, this is the time to raise the conversation about Carpenter’s musical side. Known for scoring his own movies, it is clear as day that Carpenter knows exactly how to musically craft the perfect tone for them. But it wasn’t until 2015 when fans had the pleasure of hearing a full record of original music that was not created for any upcoming movie of his own.
Composed by John, and his son, Cody Carpenter, ‘Lost Themes’ was released through Sacred Bones Records and was received positively by the fans, and critics. It carried the dark-synth style that we all know and love from Carpernter’s movies. But, the most interesting aspect that I personally found from the record, was taking in each musical composition and imagining what kind of movie would Carpenter create over these pieces. It was a great addition to an already stellar discography of music that he has created. I don’t know why, but at the time I really felt the release of ‘Lost Themes’ was going to be a complete once-off project, until 2016.
Carpenter releases the follow-up ‘Lost Themes II’. It carried a very similar sound as it’s predecessor, but every track on II was oozing so much more confidence and direction. I personally felt that you could really hear just how much fun Carpenter was having on this record, and what makes this even clearer is the fact that he took it all on the road. A tour was created, and fans such as myself lost their minds. Getting the opportunity to witness it all live was something that I will never forget. The entire show was so good the night that I saw it in Dublin, that I also decided to fly to London a few days later to watch the performance again on October 31st, and yes, it was the perfect way to spend Halloween night.
Luckily, Carpernter is giving fans who may have missed out first time around, another chance to see it all live. The tour is in support of the brand new record ‘Anthology’. A new take on famous themes from his filmography. If i’m honest, after seeing the show the idea that is set out for this record is exactly what I wanted next, but the question is, does Carpenter and co pull it off?
Kicking off the record is ‘In the Mouth of Madness’. Within seconds believe it or not, you will be wondering if Metallica are special guests. It carries a very similar build as ‘Enter Sandman’. But what stood out the most musically as the theme progressed, was just how suited this version would be for the band, Ghost. It carries a very theatrical mood on this version that I could very much imagine Papa Emeritus performing on. A very promising start to the record. This leads into ‘Assault on Precinct 13′. This is the track that I was very curious about, because I personally feel that it is one of Carpenter’s more straight forward numbers. But I can safely say that this is the best version. It tops the original recording with it’s well balanced and perfectly layered synths throughout. Next is ‘The Fog’. I have always loved the original recording and how it sounded, and I wouldn’t say anything less for this version. Overall the track just carries a lot more body. ‘Prince of Darkness’ contains a powerful fuzz effect that would put a smile on the faces of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. This drives us straight into the very relaxing ‘Santiago (Vampires)’
The absolutely flawless ‘Escape from New York’ is up next. In my opinion this is one of the coolest pieces of music ever written. There isn’t a single dull second throughout the incredible melody that is accompanied by the excellent beat. Then, along comes what is easily one of the most famous pieces of horror music ever written ‘Halloween’, and guess what, it’s still perfect and will always stay perfect. Time to take a spin with Jack Burton on ‘The Pork Chop Express’. It’s only now from this version that I have started hearing elements of Pink Floyd throughout. This track puts a massive smile on my face because let’s be honest, Big Trouble in Little China is one of the greatest movies ever created, and the guitar riff within this theme is just so good. A big highlight on this record is the new version of Ennio Morricone’s theme for ‘The Thing’. I absolutely adored the guitar tones on this. Next we are lifted into the incredibly positive sounding ‘Starman’, right before the very eerie ‘Dark Star’. Closing out the record is my favourite track from Carpenter, ‘Christine’. Everything about this version is perfect, and if you get the chance to see it live I can guarantee that it will be the highlight track of the show.
If you are a fan of Carpenter, you will be a massive fan of ‘Anthology’. The track order is absolutely perfect and it does a phenomenal job of giving the themes you know and love, a whole new life. Highly recommended.
Check out the video for ‘Christine’ that is directed by the man himself.