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Arts & Culture

Podcast Episode 106: Paying Tribute To John Carpenter

Actor Kurt Russell and director John Carpenter on the set of "Big Trouble in Little China," which screens in San Diego as part of the Film Geeks SD year-long film series, Big Trouble in Little Cinema: the Films of John Carpenter."
20th Century Fox
Actor Kurt Russell and director John Carpenter on the set of "Big Trouble in Little China," which screens in San Diego as part of the Film Geeks SD year-long film series, Big Trouble in Little Cinema: the Films of John Carpenter."

Archive interviews with filmmaker John Carpenter

106: Paying Tribute To John Carpenter
Episode 106: Paying Tribute To John CarpenterDirector John Carpenter talks about his influences, his legacy, what he fears, his approach to filmmaking, and his debt to Howard Hawks in two archive interviews, one from 1998 and another from 2012. Subscribe to the Cinema Junkie podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.Support the podcast at kpbs.org/feedthejunkie.

John Carpenter celebrated his 69th birthday on Jan. 16, so it is the perfect time to pay tribute to the filmmaker and launch a film series dedicated to his work.

The Academy Awards are just around the corner, and it is worth pointing out that Carpenter has never been nominated for an Academy Award. That might not be of any importance to those of us who love and admire his work, but the Oscars are the awards of the industry, and it is a shame — no, a crime — that Hollywood has not shown more respect and appreciation for a filmmaker who knows his craft as well as such predecessors as Howard Hawks and John Ford.

Big Trouble in Little Cinema: The Films of John Carpenter

All films screen Sundays at 1 p.m.

Jan. 22: "Dark Star"

Feb. 26: "Assault on Precinct 13"

Mar. 12: "Halloween"

Apr. 23: "The Fog"

May 28: "The Thing"

June 25: "Christine"

July 30: "Starman"

Aug. 20: "Big Trouble in Little China"

Sept. 24: "Prince of Darkness"

Oct. 22: "They Live"

Nov. 19: "In the Mouth of Madness"

Dec. 10: "Escape from N.Y." and "Escape From L.A."

Carpenter is a craftsman in the tradition of those veteran studio directors, but he is also an iconoclastic artist that represents a generation of directors who cut their teeth in the 1970s.

Carpenter began his career as a golden boy. His student film "Dark Star" received theatrical distribution in 1974 and his "Halloween" defined a new genre and created a horror icon in Michael Myers. But later films such as "The Thing," "Big Trouble in Little China," and "They Live" initially did poorly at the box office and tarnished his popularity in Hollywood.

But time has proven the genius in these films and "The Thing" consistently ranks as one of the best remakes of all time.

In honor of Carpenter, Film Geeks SD has programmed a year-long film series called Big Trouble in Little Cinema: The Films of John Carpenter at Digital Gym Cinema, a 46-seat micro venue. The films will be screened in chronological order in terms of when they were made with the exception of "Escape From New York," which screens at the end of the year so it can be paired with "Escape From L.A."

This podcast features a 2012 interview I did with Carpenter for a re-release of "Halloween" as well as an NPR feature I did on his film "Vampires" from 1998.

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