Today is the birthday of the greatest American writer of the 20th Century. I am, of course, talking about Howard Phillips Lovecraft, born August 20th, 1890. I couldn’t let it pass without writing some form of tribute to the man who, without his limitless imagination of cosmic horror, the horror world would’ve never been as we know it today. He was contemporaries with Robert Bloch (PSYCHO), Robert E. Howard (CONAN THE BARBARIAN), and Fritz Leiber, amongst others, going on to influence every great horror writer we revere today. Stephen King called Lovecraft “the Twentieth Century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale,” and Neil Gaiman has called him “Rock and Roll.” That last quote could be taken quite literally as Lovecraft has been referenced in bands such as Black Sabbath and Metallica, amongst many others, with a psychedelic band in the 60s/70s even naming themselves after the man.



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Speaking of Dean Cundey…

Source: Bloody Disgusting:

Check out the following unseen footage from 1978, where John Carpenter was in pre-production on Halloween.

This is the first ever Panaglide test by Dean Cundey and Ray Stella back in 1978; right before Halloween‘s principal photography began,” Kirkus explains. “[It was] filmed outside and inside the Panavision studio. Halloween was the 4th movie to use this system.

Trolling forums, he explains the footage: “The first part is Dean Cundey at the camera, then Ray Stella. Krishna Rao is also there too. Notice the station wagon, that is the Myers parents car from the first scene.

He also states that this is just “one clip of rolls of 35mm film I have of footage from the original Halloween (both behind-the-scenes footage, and film from the actual production). This footage is not color-corrected and just quickly transferred by Don May, Jr. few years ago. The actual film footage is of much, much better quality.

Want to see more of the lost Halloween footage? He says to contact Trancas International Films and let them know you want to see the “Unseen Halloween.”

Halloween Panaglide Test, Pre-Production before Principal Photography began. from Billy Kirkus on Vimeo.


halloween 35th anniversary banner


Source: Shock Till You Drop

Another year, another special edition release for John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. Thankfully, ever since the Anchor Bay DVD days, I’ve held out. This particular edition, however, seems to be the one we horror fans are clamoring to get our bloody little claws on. Check out the info. below:

For this very special release, Anchor Bay and Trancas International went back to the vaults to present this legendary terror classic as never before, including creating an all-new HD transfer personally supervised by the film’s original cinematographer, Academy-Award nominee Dean Cundey, a new audio mix (as well as the original mono audio), a brand-new feature length audio commentary by writer/director John Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis, an all-new bonus feature with Ms. Curtis, as well as selected legacy bonus features from previous ABE releases.

Available in a collectible limited-edition book-style package (available only for the first printing) with 11 pages of archival photos, an essay by Halloween historian Stef Hutchinson and specially commissioned cover art by Jay Shaw.

“Anchor Bay Entertainment has been home to Halloween for almost 20 years,” noted Malek Akkad, President of Trancas International Films and son of Moustapha Akkad. “I’m so happy that we’re partnering with them to present the definitive edition of what is widely acknowledged as one of the seminal horror films of the 20th century.

Bonus features on the Halloween 35th Anniversary Blu-ray include:

  • All-new commentary track with writer/director John Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis;
  • “The Night She Came Home” new featurette with Jamie Lee Curtis (HD)
  • On Location
  • Trailers
  • TV & Radio Spots
  • Additional Scenes from TV Version

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All I can say is, “it’s about fucking time.” John Carpenter is truly one of the masters of the genre. While HALLOWEEN is often his claim to fame, my personal favorite of his has to be THE THING, an absolute perfect film full of dread, horror, the ultimate in practical special effects, an amazing ensemble cast, fantastic writing, and perfect direction. THE THING is a perfect storm of horror perfection, and for nothing else, he deserves the award for that film alone.



Director John Carpenter, the “Master of Horror” will be honored with a Career Achievement Award at the 12th annual Screamfest Horror Film Festival on Saturday, October 20th, beginning at 7 p.m. with a Q&A, and followed by a screening of Carpenter’s 1987 film Prince of Darkness. The event, and all things Screamfest will take place at LA Live Regal Cinemas (1000 West Olympic Blvd., LA, CA).

Carpenter burst onto the horror scene in 1978 with the wildly popular Halloween, followed by such hits as The Fog, The Thing, Christine, Escape From New York, Prince of Darkness, Village of the Damned, and In the Mouth of Madness.

In Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, a sinister secret has been kept in a basement of an abandoned Los Angeles church for many years. If revealed, it could mean the end of the world. Starring Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount and Jameson Parker.

For more info follow Screamfest on Twitter or Facebook.


More news for John Carpenter’s classic HALLOWEEN RE-RELEASE in theaters. First off, we now have a specific date where theaters all around the country will be playing the film: October 25th, so mark your calendars boils ‘n ghouls!


This October, John Carpenter’s immortal classic, HALLOWEEN, will be making a return to theaters nationwide. This will be the biggest run the film has had since shocking audiences in 1978, and makes for the perfect early kick-off to next year’s 35th Anniversary celebration.

Screening before the film will be YOU CAN’T KILL THE BOGEYMAN: 35 YEARS OF HALLOWEEN, a new mini-documentary written and directed by our own Justin Beahm, focusing on the undeniable impact the film (and series) has had on culture and the genre. The documentary will run at all screenings coast-to-coast.

A List of theaters will start showing up soon at HalloweenOnScreen.com. The press release with full details is expected very soon. Until then, enjoy the poster and share it wherever you can.



EXCITING NEWS TODAY as we here at Backwoods Horror have learned, through our various web browsin’, that John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN is going to be coming back to theaters this OCTOBER!


This October, John Carpenter’s immortal classic, HALLOWEEN, will be making a return to theaters nationwide. This will be the biggest run the film has had since shocking audiences in 1978, and makes for the perfect early kick-off to next year’s 35th Anniversary celebration.

Screening before the film will be YOU CAN’T KILL THE BOGEYMAN: 35 YEARS OF HALLOWEEN, a new mini-documentary written and directed by our own Justin Beahm, focusing on the undeniable impact the film (and series) has had on culture and the genre. The documentary will run at all screenings coast-to-coast.

More details will be posted soon over at HalloweenMovies.com, but before the press or anyone else found out, we wanted to share the news with you, the most amazing fans in cinema. Stay tuned!

I can’t wait to get more news about this re-release. Here’s hoping it’s some kind of 4K print and it’ll be one of those FATHOM events that show in every city and town cinema, and not just limited to we lucky few who live in the larger cities.


The new Shout Factory horror division Scream Factory has announced that it will be releasing John Carpenter’s cult classic THE LIVE to collector’s edition Blu-ray and DVD on November 6, 2012, and now we have the full specs for the release! And for those of you who hate the new art for the release, it has a reversible sleeve with the original THEY LIVE art.



Source: Dread Central

The executive producer and creator of the Halloween films, Irwin Yablans, is releasing his first book, The Man Who Created Halloween, just in time for the yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31st.

The full title is The Man Who Created Halloween: How a Bit of Desperation and Inspiration Gave Birth to the Movie that Changed Hollywood, and it’s chock-full of insider info from Yablans, who is known for his work in the horror film industry. He produced films that include Halloween (1978), Roller Boogie (1979), Nocturna: Granddaughter of Dracula (1979), Halloween II (1981), Hell Night (1981), Blood Beach (1981), and Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982).


The Man Who Created Halloween is the fascinating story of one man’s improbable journey from the tenements of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg to fame and fortune in Hollywood. It is also a chronicle of the shifting winds of change from the old studio system to the emergence of a new breed of independent producers and filmmakers. Replete with fascinating first-hand anecdotes, The Man Who Created Halloween shows us that tumultuous era thru the eyes of famed producer and film executive Irwin Yablans.

Yablans’ career encompasses the entire gamut of motion picture experience from his early years at Warner Brothers to sales chief at Paramount and Orion Pictures, culminating with the start of his own company, Compass International Pictures. But his story is much more. It is a tale of the determination and perseverance that enabled him to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in a rough and tumble business.

Told in his own words, this candid, no holds barred autobiography finally relates the truth about how the iconic film Halloween came into being. The discovery of John Carpenter and Yablans’ relationship with Moustapha Akkad and Joseph Wolf are discussed in never revealed before detail. Written with humor and fidelity to the truth, The Man Who Created Halloween is an essential addition to any movie lore library as well as an inspirational example of the possibilities for any man who will not be denied.


From the boils and ghouls over at Fangoria:

Seems like there’s more news on that lost footage from John Carpenter’s original magnum opus!

After more than 30 years, a couple of different editions and a number of VHS/DVD releases, HALLOWEEN fans may think they’ve seen it all when it comes to John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic. But in 2006, word came down that a trove of unused negatives from the movie, including outtakes and deleted scenes, had been discovered. Now, Don May Jr. of DVD company Synapse Films, which obtained the 45,000 feet of material, has given Fango an exclusive update and images (see them below) from this footage.

“I know the fans have been waiting for more news from either myself or the purchaser, Billy J. Kirkus, but we really had nothing to report for a while,” May says. “Our original attempts to work with Malek Akkad [son of the late Moustapha Akkad, who now oversees the HALLOWEEN franchise] and Anchor Bay Entertainment went nowhere. It’s a shame, really, because we seem to have every single unused take from the film in our possession. It’s all original camera negative. We know that Malek is an extremely busy man who has taken over his late father’s legacy. I’m sure he’s got other things on his mind, but the fans should really see this stuff.”

Since their discussions with Akkad and Anchor Bay fell through, May and Kirkus have attempted to contact others involved with HALLOWEEN. “All we want is to transfer off and archive this material for the future,” May says. “We want to use it in some sort of documentary. In the small amount of footage I have actually viewed [so far], there is amazing stuff that the fans would love to see. The problem is that it’s such a vast amount of negative that we can’t afford to transfer it all off ourselves. We just don’t have the funds to do that without help. We need someone to come forward and help us archive this material.”

The first call was made to the film’s production designer/editor Tommy Lee Wallace, who provided May some insight into what to seek out amidst the miles of footage. “He told me about some alternate takes to look for, and told me a few great stories. He mentioned the scene where Laurie looks out the window and sees Michael Myers staring up at her in the clotheslines. Evidently, Carpenter completely reshot that sequence and approached it differently. We found the footage of the original takes, though, so we have the initial version.”

Most intriguingly, Wallace revealed that HALLOWEEN’s original ending was completely different from the one that gave nightmares to generations of viewers. “He told me Michael died,” and stayed dead, May says, “and the supposed script that people get on-line or at conventions is not what they originally used. They didn’t decide to let Michael live until after they finished principal photography and went back for some reshoots. We’ll have to look and see what we have in regards to this.”

More recently, Kirkus was finally able to speak to Carpenter about his find. “He was amazed that it was still around,” Kirkus says. “He thought it had all been destroyed long ago, and was excited at the prospect of seeing it again. He asked us to make him a sample of a couple reels so he could take a look. There’s a chance he could come on board and help Don and I get this out for the fans to see it.


“There was one specific outtake he hoped we’d find, and we did,” Kirkus continues. “While we were shooting the ending where [Michael actor] Nick Castle is lying in the grass after falling off the balcony, Castle would get up and clown around as ‘The Shape.’ Carpenter mentioned a funny shot of Castle getting up and doing a little dance in the costume [first photo above]. Castle also does a little ‘epileptic’ thing, too, during one of the takes while on his back. It’s pretty funny. We also have footage of assistants getting him comfortable on the ground and prepping for the shot.”


Carpenter’s interest in checking out the clips himself led May to transfer a few reels for the director. “All the takes and unused scenes are marked with shot numbers, so it was easy to find specific things using a lined script,” May explains. “Over Memorial Day weekend, I enlisted the help of our friend Jim Chandler to literally go through every box and every can of film. Together, we set aside the material we eventually wanted to review. I did grab a couple of things for Carpenter that I thought he’d like to see, though.

“It was a thrill to see some of this footage that no one has looked at in over 30 years,” May continues. The first thing they found was the Castle/Shape “dance” sequence. “Since Carpenter brought this up, we decided to at least get this to him. I can’t wait to hear his reaction, and I can’t even imagine the countless treasures that await us when we can really dive into this stuff.”


Another of May’s noteworthy discoveries was an alternate version of the famous single-take shot that opens HALLOWEEN, taking young Michael’s point of view as he enters his house and goes upstairs to kill his sister, stopping to put a clown mask over his face/the lens. “It’s interesting in many ways, since this take is such a long one,” May notes. “It starts outside the house and goes all the way into the kitchen, up the stairs and stops right on the sister’s face. Right away, I noticed that it was lengthier; the camera lingered more in this unused take than it did in the one used in the finished film. Also, when Michael peeks in and sees his sister and her boyfriend on the couch, I couldn’t help but notice that the boyfriend actually unbuttons the sister’s blouse and cops a feel [pictured above]. That wasn’t in the finished film! Also, there was a huge camera shadow on the wall as he approaches the stairs.


“But the most amazing thing is that the optical of the ‘mask’ is not on this footage,” he continues. “You see the hand moving up to the camera lens to ‘put on’ the mask and a black sheet of cardboard goes up and pulls away, but there’s no mask. That was added later in post, but the take we have shows him go into his sister’s room without the mask filter over the picture. You can clearly see actress Sandy Johnson very nude, as we look through Michael’s eyes as he peers around the room.


The discoveries also included more tangential material pertaining to the HALLOWEEN shoot. “I grabbed another larger reel marked ‘TEST,’ just to see what it was,” May recalls. “I took a look at the head and saw a person standing outdoors, and thought maybe it was John Carpenter. We put it up, and discovered that it was a Panaglide [a Steadicam-like rig used extensively on the film] test. It was a camera operator playing with it, swooping around and smoothly traveling up and down stairs and through hallways while tracking various people. I’m not sure where this was done, but it appears to have been filmed in the Panavision offices, because there are a lot of people working at desks and tables full of Panavision camera-related equipment when they travel through the building.”

Yet another eyebrow-raiser they discovered was the old jack-o’-lantern footage used to create HALLOWEEN’s opening-credits sequence. “We found a few different takes of the candle-lit pumpkin in front of a black background, with the camera slowly moving in,” May says. “We’ll take a closer look at these takes eventually, and see if they differ from the finished film.”

But will any of this footage ever be seen by the fans? “I honestly don’t know,“ May says. “I hope so, but whether or not that happens isn’t really up to us. Carpenter is interested, and was very open to the possibility of helping us with some sort of documentary. Perhaps all this will see the light of day at some point with his help. There’s hours of material to go through, and it’s going to be an expensive, time-consuming task to look at all this stuff, but we’re up to it if Carpenter is. Since the original mention on Fangoria.com a few years ago, I get e-mails all the time asking about it. Carpenter is interested, so maybe, if the fans let Malek Akkad know how they feel on his site [www.halloweenmovies.com], he’ll give us a call back, too! I’m ready to jump into transferring the rest of it as soon as I’m able to. HALLOWEEN is one of the greatest horror films of all time, so over 30 years later, why not let the fans have a peek at the ‘unseen’ HALLOWEEN?”


THE THING Prequel???

Posted on 13th September 2008 by aaron in News - Tags: , ,

Just read THIS news over at Fangoria’s site:

Latino Review spoke recently with Marc Abraham, who confirmed that he (and his Strike Entertainment partner Eric Newman) are still working on the new film based on John Carpenter’s THE THING that we previously reported on back here. Only now, instead of a remake, Abraham tells the site, “This is more of a prequel than a sequel… It’s going to be taking place in the same time frame. These are the events leading up to the 1982 film.” Presumably this means that it’ll involve the decimation of the Norwegian base investigated by Kurt Russell and co. early in Carpenter’s movie (pictured), though Abraham didn’t share any more plot details. Nor did he mention if a director is attached, or whether Ronald D. (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) Moore is still scripting. We’ll keep our ears to the ground and let you know any further updates. -Michael Gingold

Sounds like it’d be cool if Carpenter were doing it.  My early prediction…it’s going to suck out loud.  But I’m hoping for the best.  Who knows, if one of the scripters for the Battlestar Galactica television series is working on it, the story may not be so bad as the writers did miracles with that show as no one really was going to initially take it seriously.  They took a cheesy sci-fi show and turned it into a compelling drama with characters and a storyline you could really care about.  So…fingers crossed.  We need some good horror.