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John Carpenter tells fan to f**k off at Monster-Mania 20

Director/writer John Carpenter was a guest at this year’s Monster-Mania in Baltimore. Known for such films as Halloween (1978), Escape From New York (1981), The Fog (1980) and They Live (1988), Carpenter is considered an icon by many fans. I’ve never met Carpenter; I’m not sure I want to.

It hurts to say this, but his presentation at Monster-Mania 20 did little to persuade me that John Carpenter is not a bitter and unpleasant man. He answered fans’ questions very briefly and followed his answers with awkward silences. Carpenter told a fan to “F–k off!” when he disagreed with a comment about 1996’s Escape From L.A. Overall, Carpenter appeared as a cold, unenthusiastic curmudgeon.

While I enjoy meeting celebrities and rejoice at finding out that they’re interesting and grateful people, there are a few celebrities that I don’t want to meet. John Carpenter is one of them. I always advocate separating how the person is in real life from their work on film, in music, etc. Halloween and Big Trouble in Little China (1986) are two of my all-time favorite movies. John Carpenter is synonymous with Halloween and Michael Myers. I’d find it difficult to follow my own advice and not be upset by the way Carpenter is. Rather than meeting Carpenter, I’ll simply continue to enjoy and respect his movies. I don’t want to risk getting the cold shoulder from the man in person or, worse, have him show me his middle finger.

If you watch Carpenter’s entire Monster-Mania 20 discussion, keep an eye on the man moderating the session. His facial expressions and mannerisms reveal a disillusioned John Carpenter fan. Near the end of the Q&A, the moderator loses interest in the proceedings and is distracted by one of his colleagues.

  • tylernolsp

    Carpenter has been crotchety for some time, and I assume it is a result of his steady decline in the nineties with Village of the Damned, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, In the Mouth of Madness, et cetera, coupled with the strong association he has received for Halloween and The Fog. Even in interviews and documentaries he seems annoyed and altogether unenthusiastic. We must remember that Carpenter never had any intentions of becoming a horror filmmaker. His heart was always with Westerns and his goal was to “modernize” the genre, if you will. Halloween was Irwin Yablans’ idea and Carpenter has admitted to having had no interest in that sort of picture. It must be terrible for an artist’s legacy to lie in something for which he had no intentions of pursuing. However, Carpenter does have an instinctive talent for suspense and horror, whether he realized it or not. If the fan was disrespectful toward Carpenter regarding “Escape from L.A.”, I believe his response to be distasteful, but justified, considering that he considers “L.A.” to be one of his best films.

  • mtgarrett

    I certainly don’t have the patience or the interest to sit through the whole Q&A. But, I did watch the part where he said “F You” to the fan asking the question. You know what? I thought it was pretty funny, and – Good for JC! That fan’s tone was totally condescending, and if you ask me he got the reply he deserved.

  • Thanks for the replies! I believe the fan’s tone can be taken either way. I thought his comment was funny (“I thought Escape from N.Y. was great, but what the hell happened with Escape From L.A?!”). To continue playing devil’s advocate, the fan at least had the nuts to ask such a question. We’re in the age where guys like Malcolm McDowell don’t mind acknowledging their legacies. McDowell recently referred to himself as a “whore” because he takes any acting job. He also stated that he’s done a lot of crap. Why can’t Carpenter embrace the fact that many fans love him for Halloween? Of course, he’s entitled to be however he wants to be. But, man, watching a 60+ year old man begrudge a fan like that was awful (in my opinion). Also at Monster Mania 20 was a mini-reunion of the Halloween franchise with PJ Soles, Charles Cyphers, Tom Atkins, Warlock, Durand, Loree. Carpenter was absent from that reunion.

  • I know that when I first met him I was really hoping that he would have been nicer than what he was. He didn’t even acknowledge me, just kept talking to the lady sitting next to him while he signed my pic and shoo-ed me away. Not as mean to me as Tom Savini was, but still… it was definitely something that didn’t sit with me all that well. I still love a lot of his work, but I don’t know if I would try to meet him again or anything.

  • tylernolsp

    Having now watched the video, I believe Carpenter’s reaction to be a very appropriate response to an extraordinarily rude comment. I think it was in tune with Carpenter’s sense of humor. I’m sure it frustrated him, but he didn’t seem angry. Perhaps it was a defense mechanism – turn to laughter in an uncomfortable situation. Carpenter seemed to have been a good sport at MM 20. That being said, however, I still maintain my observation about his general bitterness.

  • kirkmagnum

    Wow, does anyone read books on John Carpenter? Every single question almost from this Q/A has been answered in books on him; I see why John cringes at these exact same questions that he’s answered a billion times. You’d think his fans would do research on him before asking the same old questions. Come on guys.

    If the guy who asked the question about Escape from LA would have read one of the books on John Carpenter he’d know that John had one day, only ONE day to submit his edit for Escape from LA and it was extremely difficult for John. There would have been a lot better ways to ask the question besides telling John one of his movies basically sucked.

  • tylernolsp

    Billy, I have read both “JC: Prince of Darkness” as well as relatively new book called “Shock Value” which has rather exhaustive new information on Carpenter’s early days (particularly his academic career at USC.) I am not unfamiliar with his opinions on his works or filmmaking in general. Carpenter is not alone in that he is asked the same questions ad nauseum – everyone in the arts and media experience the same thing.
    Additionally, I have not defended the fan – on the contrary, I criticized him for his disrespect. After having viewed the clip, I revised my initial comment and commended Carpenter for his response.
    You are right, however, in that I was not aware of Carpenter’s short amount of allotted time for his “Esc. LA” revision.
    I would like to leave you with this – and I say it with the highest degree of respect that may be detectable in words – that I have found your post quite insulting. Cinematic education and knowledge on all things Carpenter and Halloween are not exclusive to you. Perhaps presenting your fact in a more genuinely informative manner would have been more effective than your subtle implications that we know less about Carpenter because we don’t read books about him (which I have.) Personally, I have higher priorities than reading more than two books about Carpenter. There is nothing to learn about his filmmaking style that I can’t get directly from his films. If his films DID NOT communicate that, then it makes him a bad filmmaker.

  • kirkmagnum

    tylernolsp where do I attack you or come at you about anything?

    The Escape from LA answer is right in the book, JC; Prince of Darkness under the Escape from LA chapter, the VERY last page in the chapter.

    You can read, listen on commentaries and watch his movies to understand his style. I never said I knew everything JC or Halloween…absolutely, I don’t but I do know; if the fans of JC would actually take time to read, sometimes they can learn a lot because that’s how I know the answers so a lot of the questions. It’s called “fact checking” and a lot of people don’t do that anymore and would rather hear it from a non-reliable source instead of getting the facts.

    Kinda like your first comment on the whole scenario, instead of watching and listening to everything, you made an assumption of John Carpenter being crotchety and assumed it is a result of his steady decline in the nineties. If you read my last paragraph it basically states everything you decided to take insulting.

    Well, I like to read, actually you can learn a lot from it.

  • tylernolsp

    It was in the phrases “Wow, does anyone read books on John Carpenter?” and “Come on guys”, which appeared to be directed at us. If you intended your statements to be directed at those uninformed individuals such as the audience member in question, then I entirely misinterpreted your rhetoric (it’s easy to do.)

    As for the act of reading, I will say that I spend just about every waking moment reading. I am studying for my B.S. in History (which requires exhaustive reading) and I have an extensive personal library of works in non-fiction, biography, philosophy, economic theory, historical texts and documents, et cetera. I am wholly aware of the power of reading.

  • 1982killingmachine

    Ok this isn’t meant to be a bitching session! Everyone will have there opinions. I was there in person to meet John and ask a question at the Q&A. I think he was great and very miss understood! John has a dry sense of humor and many were taking it the wrong way. The fan that he gave the finger to and told F off was drunk and disrespectful. I had the pleasure to talk to John one on one and its was awesome. He is very blunt and holds nothing back. As for anyone not liking or looking up to him because of this blog again it’s your opinion but this whole post is being taken the wrong way in my own opinion. I still am and always will be a Carpenter fan. If not for him this website wouldn’t even be here and NO Michael Myers so to me Carpenter is the man.

  • kirkmagnum

    My views were all directed at the main focus of this topic/thread/blog…the video of the Q/A, not you or anyone else in this topic/thread/blog! Those people ask the same old, boring questions and you could tell John was annoyed by them.

    If I had the opportunity to talk with John, which I have done several times on the phone, I sure as hell wouldn’t ask him anything on Halloween unless he brought it up…which he did. 🙂

    It just surprises me that a LOT of people admire the man, but don’t read about him; there are plenty of great interviews on him that are short quick reads that pack a TON of info.

  • betelgeuse4721

    I don’t feel like commenting on John Carpenter’s personality because I think it’s a waste of breath, but I just wanted to say thank you for posting this video. Good information and very awesome!!

  • clamman27

    Not for nothing, the guy was an asshole… the fan not John. What the hell has the fan done? He was really disrespectful and I think kudos to John for not being like oh well the budget, the this the that… it’s his work and he has a right to defend it how he wants to.

    The questions people asked… jeez!!!! Did anyone ever listen to a Carpenter commentary or read a single interview? He wasn’t asked a single interesting question and at the end of the day if someone came up to me and said that about my film I would have told him to fuck off.

    If anything, I have more respect for John now and even less for some of his fans.

  • This was very misleading,I found JC’s response appropriate. The fan was ignorant. I don’t see anywhere in the Q&A him being bitter. But thank you for the video.

  • myerstat

    Carpenter told that fan to Fuck Off because he was insulting and asked him to choose which movie HE thought was worse..Ghosts of Mars or Escape From L.A.Anyone who knows the way Carpenter is knows that he is a proud man who has reasons for things he did at certain times of his career.That fan was rude and needed to be told that.I did not think how he reacted was wrong.Go Mr. Carpenter!!!!

  • johnnybisco

    I can see him getting annoyed at being asked the same old crap over and over and over and over then telling that moron off (that deserved it) after reaching a breaking point.

    who likes being asked the same questions for 20+ years?

    when I met Kane Hodder he spent more time talking to me than other fans there because I asked him stuff about House 2 and Hardbodies and not the same Jason questions I’m sure he is sick of hearing that I already knew the answers to anyway

  • strangerathome

    I think John was very justified in his comment, as the poser virtually attacked his work. Nobody sets out to make a bad movie. Nobody. But it is, infact, very difficult to make a decent movie, and Carpenter has proven himself on several occasions. I have much respect for Carpenter, even if he feels “cold” and “disaffected” by his fans. It’s the fault of the fans, really. Like Billy said above, have none of these people read an interview or listened to commentary by the man? This is no doubt why Carpenter doesn’t do a lot of Q&A’s, because everyone asks the same damn questions. Did anyone ask him a question about The Ward???

  • eviloutlawjn

    I dont see any thing wrong with what he did. that disrespectful punk got the answer he deserved.

  • warthrash

    Yeah, Carpenter isn’t the one being the dick. He responded appropriately. If anything the fan is the one being the dick.

  • mrsandman81

    He’s not mean, when he saod “F**k you” the fan asking the question was being a little smart a**. John Carpenter could’ve had a bad day, not feeling good, etc. I’m sure he’s a very nice person, but wouldn’t you get sick of the same questions, over, and over? I would, and so is he. I love Carpenter, he’s the best, baddest, oldest person I know xD (Next to John Wayne)
    -Kris

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