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John Carpenter in the Studio cutting together “Escape from L.A.”

Hi gang! Here is another movie composer “Top 5” from yours truly. The great John Carpenter. I hope you see one or two of your favorites. Enjoy!

Vic’s Top 5: Favorite John Carpenter Movie Scores:

No. 5 – “Christine”

Ethereal and other-worldly Carpenter’s score for his Haunted car movie is very well done. It manages to both frighten and disorient us with electronic eerie-ness. Tracks like “Moochie’s Death“, “Obsessed with the Car” and “Football Run” stand out as strong tracks from the  ghostly canvas that Carpenter paints with his story, actors and images.

No. 4 – “Halloween – Season of the Witch”

(with Alan Howarth)

Creepily atmospheric and piercing,  this under rated and widely dismissed score has a huge cult following. That’s no surprise with great tracks like “Drive to Santa Mira” and “Chariot of the Pumpkins” creeping us out.  A strong effort by Carpenter and collaborator Alan Howarth. Always in rotation on my iPod.

No. 3 – “Escape from New York”

(with Alan Howarth)

EFNY is an insanely popular score among Carpenter fans (and even his detractors) and it accompanies an even more hugely popular film that stars Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in this sci fi thriller from 1981. Very experimental and completely solid, the score is an electronic music fan’s wet dream. Crisp, fast and futuristic sounding,  the score satisfies with just about every track. And not one track sounds like the other.  “The President is Gone” and “The Duke Arrives” are strong standouts. Highly recommended.

No. 2 – “Halloween”

Well, this is a no brainer. No explanation really needed. Iconic. Daring. Scary. Powerful and ever so popular this is a score that every horror movie composer should strive to provide. It set the bar so high that still to this day it is widely recognizable and even used as a ringtone during the month of October all over the world.

No. 1 – “The Fog

(with Dan Wyman)

Hauntingly hypnotic and eerie, The Fog is my favorite score by John Carpenter. He creates mood, suspense and a sense of dread that lasts way after the film ends. The music is almost like a ticking time bomb. We get soft piano at the start and then it just gets more menacing by the minute. It contains some of my favorite music composed by him and I frequently re-visit it on my iPod.

The score somehow makes the mysterious fog come alive and Carpenter’s ethereal piano compositions throughout are just insanely suspenseful. He uses the music in this film to chip away at our perceptions, fears and sense of safety. It works like no other score by him, ever.  If you track it down on CD, I recommend the Expanded Edition from 2000. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention –

They Live

Vampires

In The Mouth of Madness

Prince of Darkness

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