John Carpenter Trashes Horror, ‘The Walking Dead,’ Revisits ‘Halloween’

John Carpenter has made a few headlines in the last year for a series of interviews that he has conducted on podcasts and the like, and his latest appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast is likely to get Halloween fans buzzing.

However, it isn’t what the legendary director reveals about his return to the franchise, but what he doesn’t.

The conversation primarily centers on Carpenter’s musical interests and history, but Maron does dig down into parts of his film career.

For example, with Halloween, John Carpenter recalls making the original for just $220,000 and it grossing more than $47 million in 1978. Adjusted for inflation, that was a take of around $172 million.

Carpenter confesses in the interview that he always loved horror.

“Horror was great. I grew up with it as a kid. We didn’t have much in the ’60s in terms of youth culture, so we needed monster movies,” he said.

John said that the “whole point” of his making the original was simply “to scare the s**t out of you.”

Psycho — that was the granddaddy (of horror movies), and I knew I couldn’t outdo that. All I could do was make this movie that scared people because you didn’t know what was going to happen next, and you were afraid of what you might see.”

However, he rightly observes, “you didn’t see anything in Halloween. There was no gore to it. It was what you thought you might see. Later on, I’ve done tougher things, but that one was pretty soft.”

Following that brief trip down memory lane, John Carpenter then touched on his memories of some other memorable films on his resume.

Of The Thing, he said that he believed it to be the best movie that he’s done.

“It was hated at the time,” he explained. “It was too strong, too bleak. I guess they needed some hope, but I thought, ‘I’ve done it. I’ve made a really good movie.'”

Of They Live, John Carpenter said it was a representation of his rage “at the Reagan revolution and yuppies and greed.”

“I couldn’t take it,” he said. “I just was so angry about it. And the ’80s never ended. They are still with us today. They Live is truly more of a documentary than it is a regular film. Business does run us. It runs our politics, and it runs our country. Free markets are great, but you can’t let them bury us.”

Switching gears to The Walking Dead, John Carpenter did not seem to be a fan. While he didn’t get into specifics about what was right or wrong with the series, he did accuse it of being a rehash of George Romero’s work.

“That [The Walking Dead] was a movie that George Romero made back in 1968 [Night of the Living Dead], and they have milked that, and they are still milking it.”

This brought John Carpenter to his assessment of horror as a whole, which he believes is due for “a new beginning; a resurgence.”

“Horror movies have been with us since the beginning of cinema, and it’s always the same,” Carpenter said. “Most of them are bad; a few are average; and a couple are really good. They keep changing with the culture. It’s like with Vietnam. You saw the violence change. Horror movies change, too. So they’ll change again.”

Unfortunately, John did not share how horror movies needed to change, nor did Maron press him on it. But one final question Maron asked Carpenter will probably leave fans hoping for something special out of his executive producer role for the next Halloween disappointed.

When Maron asked him if he was still interested in doing movies, he replied, “No, no. Maybe. I just don’t care like I used to. I just don’t have the same consuming drive that I did when I was young.”

Not exactly an indicator that the John Carpenter presence will be felt when Michael Myers finally returns to the big screen.

But what do you think, readers? Are you still encouraged by John Carpenter being part of the next Halloween, and do you agree with him that The Thing is his best film and that The Walking Dead is a Romero ripoff? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Image via Halloween (2007) via Dimension Films / Miramax]