Preview: John Carpenter

Preview: John Carpenter

credit: Kyle Cassidy

Director/editor/composer brings the best of his incredible career to the stage

At the age of 68, with only one feature-directing credit to his name in the last decade and a half (the unheralded, Amber Heard-starring 2010 horror The Ward, the follow-up to 2001's Ghosts of Mars), John Carpenter has stepped into the unexpected position of being one of the most exciting musical draws of 2016. And nobody will grudge him that, for the New York-born film director turned electronic music pioneer has a career which is truly remarkable, both in terms of the range of cult classic films he's made and the enduring legacy of the electronic scores he wrote for them himself.

Back then these scores were budget-saving devices, but now they're remembered as vital components of synthesised music's early days. His greatest hits came throughout the 1970s and 1980s, a run of films which began with the humorous, low-budget 1974 sci-fi epic Dark Star (although the short film The Resurrection of Bronco Billy had already won an Academy Award in 1970, with Carpenter as composer, editor and co-writer) and ended with the anti-establishment action thriller They Live in 1988, after which his edge softened somewhat.

His golden period of directing did, however, encompass classics like edgy siege thriller Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), the definitive slasher flick Halloween (1978), dystopian actioner Escape from New York, and the sci-fi horror The Thing (1982). That last film is one of the few that you won't hear anything from at this show, as Carpenter didn't compose the score, but reports from early US dates suggest we can expect a five-piece band which includes his son Cody to recreate the driving tension of most of the above, alongside music from his recent original albums Lost Themes (2015) and Lost Themes II (2016).

John Carpenter tours from Thu 20 Oct–Tue 1 Nov.

John Carpenter

The legendary horror film composer performs his notable works from films including The Thing, Halloween, The Fog, Village of the Damned and many more.