Genre Icon: John Carpenter

In the past few years some genre icons have premiered their films at Midnight Madness: Dario Argento with Mother of Tears (2007), George A. Romero with George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead (2007) and George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead (2009), and Stuart Gordon with Stuck (2007). This year, John Carpenter becomes the latest genre icon to premier a film in Midnight Madness with John Carpenter’s The Ward.

It has been nine years since Carpenter's last film so younger genre fans might not be familiar with his earlier work. But if you enjoy slasher films like Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street then John Carpenter is the man to thank. It was 1978’s Halloween (directed, scored, and co-written by Carpenter) that contemporized techniques like the masked villain POV shots and jump scares that are still used to thrill mainstream audiences today.

If you don’t believe me go watch the original Scream; I’ll be here when you get back… Did you notice the kids watching Halloween while Jamie Kennedy explains the rules of modern day horror films? If Wes Craven credits Carpenter with writing the rules for slasher films who am I to argue?

Some would say Ridley Scott and James Cameron pioneered mainstream use of post apocalyptic futures in the 80s. Obviously those people never saw Escape from New York. A full decade before The Matrix and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Carpenter was cluing North American audiences into Asian martial arts/wire-fu cinema with Big Trouble in Little China. Before everyone started remaking everything in the last few years, including a Rob Zombie remake of Carpenter’s original Halloween, Carpenter himself was showing the world how to do remakes right with The Thing.

If Carpenter isn’t an icon I don’t know who is! Don’t miss your chance to be at the World Premiere of John Carpenter’s The Ward on Monday, September 13 at 11:59 pm at the Ryerson. It is also eligible for the Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award so don’t forget to vote!

Screening times:

Monday, Sept. 13. 11:59pm Ryerson
Sunday, Sept 19. 12:15pm Scotiabank Theatre 1

You can purchase tickets from the official TIFF website.


  1. And lets not forget They Live, which included the (seemingly) longest, fight scene, EVER! LOL, the rest of the movie was good though.

    Some of my favorite parts of his movies are the scores. Simple, yet memorable, not sure what does it, but they work (thinking specifically of the Halloween, The Fog, and Escape for New York scores). Anyways, looks like he did the music for this one too.

    Here's hoping for another great night at the movies! :)

  2. And we can never forget the hilarious majesty of Dark Star.