We all know that cinema is subjective and we all have our own tastes when it comes to movie nights. Well, it turns out that famed horror film director John Carpenter is just like any other cinephile and has some strong opinions when it comes to his top cinema choices. However, some of his hot takes on fellow popular directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas may surprise you.
In a taped interview on the set of his hit 1978 thriller Halloween (shared via the Horror Ads Twitter account), Carpenter discussed which films and directors he was drawn to in his free time. “Older Movies by [Alfred] hitchcock, [Howard] hawks, [John] Ford. I like Polanski; I like action movies,” he said. “I watch most films just to see if I can learn something.”
But older films aside, when asked what he thought of some of his contemporary directors, particularly Spielberg and Lucas, Carpenter simply said, “I don’t care about them.”
“I think George Lucas made a good film – American Graffiti, very good,” the director continued, admiring his peers despite his own taste. “I think Steven Spielberg’s Jaws was good. And they made a lot of money.”
John Carpenter Talks George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Robert Altman on the Halloween Set (1978) pic.twitter.com/hUBwQOIf0o
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The filmmaker went on to clarify that while he liked Jaws, he “didn’t care” about Spielberg’s other ’70s feature Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Carpenter revealed that he found the 1977 Alien film “pretentious” and that the film ultimately “got out of control.”
“One of the things I admire about a great work is that even if it has flaws, a director has complete control over it,” said the filmmaker. “He directs the film or story with a great deal of authority, and I felt like that wasn’t there in Close Encounters.”
Carpenter is in the minority in his opinion on Close Encounters, which would win an Oscar for cinematography and gross over $300 million worldwide. Nonetheless, his words are a reminder of the subjective nature of art.
Considered one of the greatest horror directors of all time, Carpenter influenced the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro and James Wan. While he may not get along with Spielberg or Lucas, his legacy and approach to filmmaking continues to inspire the industry as much as legendary directors who may not be his thing.