26 October 2016



'I direct horror movies.

I love horror movies.

Horror movies will live forever...!'

So said the world's greatest living director of horror movies, John Carpenter, as he introduced the theme tune to perhaps his greatest achievement ever, the film HALLOWEEN starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence. It was also the film that introduced us to perhaps the world's most f***ed-up serial killer ever, the masked monster that we've come to know as Michael Myers...

When the first few bars of the famous theme music filled the jam-packed room, a roar went up from the crowd and a few hundred (mostly) male clenched fists pumped the air. The music didn't just reach my ears. It filled my blood and flowed through my veins and I let it.

I was having the time of my life. Where else would I want to be a week before Halloween Night, I wondered, but here in Dublin's Vicar Street watching horror maestro John Carpenter perform the greatest hits from his movies with a live band? It was an unforgettable evening.

Mr. Carpenter played the HALLOWEEN theme tune forty-seven minutes into a seventy-five minute set during which he and his five-piece band played non-stop. I'd spent months wondering whether he'd start with it, finish with it or start and finish with it, my own personal choice. As it turned out, he played it more or less in the middle of the set.

While the music played, images from the film flickered on the big screen behind Mr. Carpenter and his band. Right in front of us, there was Jamie Lee as Laurie Strode first studying, then screaming and cowering in the closet while Michael Myers uses a giant knife to help him decide which natty boiler-suit to go with for today.

And there was Donald Pleasence as the cuddly old Dr. Loomis shooting at Michael. There was that daft tart in the bed with her jugs out giggling as her 'boyfriend' appears in the doorway draped in a bedsheet with his specs on over the top. There was Michael stabbing everyone. Or Michael being Michael, in other words.

The images were dear and familiar to us all and they drove the crowd wild with excitement. They must have been a particularly bloodthirsty lot because they yelled extra-loud whenever anyone got stabbed...! The male-female ratio was about seventy-thirty in favour of the guys (all wearing HALLOWEEN/MICHAEL MYERS T-shirts) and, I must say, they were all mad for The Carpenter Man.

Anyway, the above-mentioned Carpenter Man started with the music from ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and finished with CHRISTINE, with THE FOG and THE THING and a couple of others in between and HALLOWEEN, as I've said, somewhere in the middle.

Kurt Russell had mouth-to-mouth congress with a girl with green eyes, Sam Neill screamed loudly on a bus and Donald Pleasence did mad stuff while dressed as a priest. You horror fans know what I'm talking about...!

In between the horror film theme tunes, JC (as he likes me to call him...!) played tunes from the non-movie-related electronic album LOST THEMES which he released last year (2015). The songs had cool names like WRAITH and VORTEX and I sat down in my seat for a bit, shut my eyes and thoroughly enjoyed them. No film images played during these brilliant tune-skis but the big screen sure changed colour a bunch of times...!

John Carpenter is beyond cool. When he walked out on-stage promptly at eight-thirty, my feeble female heart skipped several beats. From where I was standing (unfortunately, not close enough to touch him), he was tall, dressed in black, with black-framed glasses and his silver hair pulled back in a rocker ponytail. 

I even thought I detected a glint of silver or metal in the ear closest to me, the left one. How cool. What a class act. He was even chewing gum throughout, for gosh-darn's sake. He looked like exactly what he is, a virtual god of horror and music. I lost my heart to him. He's looking pretty damn hot for his age, my friends.

He played keyboards all night at the front of the stage while his five-piece band, all good-looking young fellas dressed in black, gave him great backing from behind. The one he referred to as Cody Carpenter is, of course, his son John Cody Carpenter. Can you imagine growing up as John Carpenter's son or even his grandson, maybe? What would your bedtime stories from dear old Grandpa Carpenter have been like?

Grandpa Carpenter:'Once upon a time, there lived an unhappy little boy called Michael Myers...'

Grandson Carpenter: 'Grandpa, I've already heard that one, I'm tired of it, tell me another one...!'

Grandpa Carpenter: 'All right then, once upon a time there were these sailors who died HORRIBLY and then swore a hideous vengeance on their evil murderers...!'

Jaysis. It'd be like living with Stephen King.

When the band played the music from my personal favourite John Carpenter film, THE FOG, an actual mist enveloped the man himself, and no-one else, at the front of the stage. It was so cool! He talked a bit to the audience in a friendly way, which I loved, and acknowledged the many metal horns and fist-pumps directed towards him by the adoring crowd.

He didn't seem fazed at all, either, when during a moment of silence before a tune, a big guy down the back of the room yelled out:

'I f***ing love you, man...!'

I bet he gets that kind of thing all the time, haha. At one point, JC even made the 'I'm watching you' gesture to someone in the audience, which raised a big laugh.

The show was a sharp, slick hour-and-a-quarter long and there were no slip-ups or bullshit, no breaks or filler. We all got what we'd paid for. It was value for money. Well, I didn't pay for my ticket as it as it was a birthday present. Which was nice...!

When I was presented with the ticket back in the heat and sunlight of June by a valued family member, it didn't seem real that I'd actually be seeing John Carpenter in October. To tell you the truth, it didn't even seem real last night when I was right there, watching him play the keyboards with his head and body lit up and wreathed in mist. But I was definitely there. I was...!

I was there when he exhorted us all to drive carefully when we were going home as 'Christine' was out there, waiting for us. Then followed the theme tune to CHRISTINE, then the music faded away and the words 'THE END' came up on the screen. John Carpenter, this handsome, talented man, and his band took one bow, then another, then they all left the stage together to rapturous applause.

I don't think he'll be back in Dublin again, at least not to perform. This 'JOHN CARPENTER RETROSPECTIVE,' as it's called, of his life and work, can only come here once. And I've seen it. And I've seen him. No matter what happens in my life now, nothing can change that. Thank GOD.

Is it too late for me to have his horror babies? I doubt it. I'm still at the peak of my fertility, I'll have you know. And men can reproduce until they're practically checking in at the pearly gates. Just look at that Rolling Stone and those twins that he had with that young one. Stranger things have happened, horror buddies. Watch this space...


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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