Harry here, with coverage of John Carpenter's THE THING where he did Q&A afterward. Ol Randy was there for us and wrote up a report. If any of you saw the other presentations that Carpenter did, I'd love to post about them. Wish I was there, any and all Carpenter events are of interest. HEre ya go...
This is Randy of ASK RANDY again. Thought you'd like to have an overview of the 2nd night of the American Cinematheque John Carpenter retrospective and the screening of The Thing with John Carpenter in person!
Got there about 45 minutes early to a line... to get in! Not for tickets, just to get in. Always a good sign though this is my first time at the Egyptian. Inside, I hit the balcony for a good seat and wait a little while for the movie to start.
When the lights go down, the audience is ready. They are most definitely fans.
As the movie started, I was disappointed to see that this wasn't a new print. An OK print, but I was still hoping. The sound system there is excellent., doing wonders with Ennio Morricone's score Applause through the credits, especially FX Rob Bottin and screenwriter Bill Lancaster.
The movie is still good. If you don't know that, well, that's your loss.
So the movie ends and John Carpenter was introduced. He stayed about 20-25 minutes, eventually taking audience questions(no, I didn't get picked). Here's the highlights(these are from memory, forgive if a little off):
On a sequel to THE THING:
"It wouldn't have anything to do with the original. The first one didn't do well at the box-office so Universal wouldn't go there. Instead, Universal would do it as a 'reimagining.' "
"Now, it would probably have teenagers in it and take place in the Bahamas."
On MacReady's costume:
"Rob Bottin's storyboards at one point showed MacReady fighting the Thing with this HUGE sombrero on and I said "Yeah! I want that!' So I had it made up and Kurt looked at me-'You sure you want me to wear this?' 'YEAH! It's great! You look COOL!' "
"Kurt hated the sombrero."
On having Ennio Morricone scoring instead of him:
"Well, I've been a fan of him for years. Spaghetti westerns and all. Once Upon a Time in the West, A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More. There was an opportunity to have him and I took it. I don't think the studio was excited but I was. And I didn't think they really wanted me to do it.
So I went to Italy and he doesn't speak English and I don't speak Italian so we talk through an interpreter. He hasn't seen the film but he's already got two or three themes done. They're ok, but not quite what I wanted. 'They're too complex. Simplify. Two or three notes.' (Audience laughs) So the opening and end titles are his interpretation of what I wanted.
Course, toward the end of production, I did put some stuff together, so actually I'm in there as well."
On the identity of the silhouetted team member who is first alone with the dog:
"That was a crew member who wasn't actually in the film."
On Wilfred Brimley's motivation as the Thing:
"When Wil if dragging someone around by the face, I asked him what he was thinking about, what was the way he was playing it-'I'm going over my laundry list.'
On the MPAA cutting the gruesome FX:
"Nothing. I was expecting to have to cut a bunch. But nothing. They approved it as it was-an 'R'"
On the television version which includes VO's about the characters and a "modified" ending:
Oh, that. That was Sid's version(NOTE-Sid Sheinberg, head of Universal. You've heard of him if you know anything about Terry Gilliam's battle over Brazil. Bastard). He wanted to show me how to make a horror movie.
It was only shown a couple of times. I think they burned that version. Maybe the TV stations burned it themselves. I hope."
On the fate of Childs and MacReady:
"There was a great comic series a few years ago...(Someone yells out)Yeah! Dark Horse comics! If you can get a hold of it-read that! That's what happened to Childs and MacReady! It was a great story, a helluva sequel. That's what they should make for the sequel-but it would probably cost 200 million to make today!"
And then it was over. I thought about doing that same evening's Halloween and The Fog but I can't stand the 2nd one.
Tomorrow(1/27), Carpenter will be there again for Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China.
Hope you enjoyed this.
RANDY of Ask Randy
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