John Carpenter, lovingly referred to by horror buffs as The Prince of Darkness, has written and directed some of the most iconic sci-fi/horror films of all time, including my personal own faves "Halloween" (1978) and "The Thing" (1982).
Carpenter’s new film "The Ward" -- his first in over a decade, since 2000's "Ghosts of Mars" -- is a delicious psychological slasher flick with creepy Gothic horror elements (they shot in a real late-1800s asylum) and a disturbing Jared Harris, son of the late Richard Harris, as the suspiciously circumspect head psychologist.
The protagonists are four attractive (surprise!) young female inmates (Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker and Laura-Leigh) who are unrelentingly subjected to terrifying bumps and jumps in the night. Think "Shutter Island" meets "Sucker Punch."
Given Carpenter’s lifelong horror bent, we asked for a list of his favorite horror films. Not surprisingly, they are all classic movies he first watched in his impressionable childhood.
"I think everyone falls in love with something when they are very young and they always remember it vividly," Carpenter explains. "I grew up in the '50s and that was a time of a boom in science fiction and monster movies. So my favorite horror films, in no particular order, are 'The Thing From Another World' (1951), 'The Curse of Frankenstein' (1957), 'The Quatermass Xperiment' (1955), 'The Fly' (1958), 'The War of the Worlds' (1953), 'The Mummy' (1959), 'Horror of Dracula' (1958), 'Quatermass II: Enemy from Space' (1957), 'X the Unknown' (1956), and 'Forbidden Planet' (1956)."
He also admits that the British Hammer Studio horror films also impacted him as a youth and created his penchant for putting beautiful damsels in severe distress in all his films.
"As a child, I saw these very attractive busty young women in the Hammer films. Like the maid Justine (Valerie Gaunt) in 'The Curse of Frankenstein' (1957) directed by Terence Fisher, and starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Something was going on between her and Baron Frankenstein. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I was pretty sure it was illicit."