Boo! It’s Halloween! Throughout October, HollywoodLife is on the go The sound of Halloween, where some of your favorite friends from music, movies, television and pop culture pick songs that should be on your Halloween 2022 playlist. Today it is the legendary director and composer John Carpenterthe man behind the original Halloween film and the score to the latest installment, Halloween ends.
“So we have the ‘Monster Mash,’ we have ‘Thriller.’ It’s obvious, right?” John Carpenter tell Hollywood Life when discussing song choices for The sound of Halloween playlist. As a filmmaker, Carpenter helped revolutionize the horror genre with the original Halloween film in 1978 and subsequent horror/sci-fi classics such as The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and In the mouth of madness. Carpenter is also known as a film composer, creating iconic themes and soundtracks that still send shivers up and down our spines.
The soundtracks that Carpenter made for films — from The fog on Escape from New York on Christine to the recent Halloween trilogy of films – are as memorable as the scenes that flash on the screen. Although he is not behind the camera for the David Gordon Green-aimed Halloween endsCarpenter’s presence is felt throughout, thanks to the original score he made with his son, Cody Carpenterand godson, Daniel Davis.
“I work with my son and godson, which is just incredible,” he says Hollywood Life. “We do albums together, we’ve toured together, we do scores together. And it’s like the second act in my life. My first love is directing – never get over it. Some of the luggage that goes into it is a little rough, but now I’m happy. It’s wonderful. The greatest, man. I didn’t expect that.”
So it makes sense that John would be the ideal person to consult about making a Halloween playlist.
“I got it,” he says Hollywood Life after considering his options. “The perfect Halloween song is ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ by Blue oyster cult. In fact, it is in the new Halloween,” he says, referring to Halloween endsthe latest – and possibly last – entry in the Halloween franchise, one that Carpenter himself achieved. “I love that song,” he says of the BOC hit. “I heard that song in ’77, I believe. And I thought, ‘That’s the scariest song I’ve ever heard in my life. Wow!’ Even though the Blue Oyster Cult guys claim it wasn’t [scary.].”
Although BOC songwriter Bob Dharma said it’s a love song, Carpenter isn’t buying it. “It’s such a little horse,” he says with the wisdom of a man who’s been around the block. “But anyway, never mind. All good.”
Another song floating around the ether when Carpenter heard “Don’t Fear The Reaper” was “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon. In earlier interviews, Carpenter said this Peter Fonda Zevon introduced to the party and that the songwriter revealed he initially did it for the Everly Brothers, who passed it on. “Now you’re talking,” he said HL. “’Wolves of London’ is great. The lyrics are hilarious. My god, it’s so amazing.”
But no Halloween playlist would be complete without a John Carpenter song. The original “Halloween” theme is in heavy rotation this time of year, but when asked what to add to 2022’s The sound of Halloweenhe pointed to the new one Halloween ends score, out today (Oct 14).
“Any song you want to pick – I think we have our second single out today called ‘The Junk Yard.’ I’d say it’s a good representation,” says John Carpenter. “Or the first single, which is ‘The Procession’. Either the one.”
Halloween ends aims to do just that: bring closure to the story of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers started in 1978. With this being the end of their saga, did John Carpenter feel any sentimentality in the telling of this film? “No, there wasn’t one,” he says matter-of-factly. “You see, for me, the end of Lori Strode’s story happened in 1978. It has been raised by myself and others, but it is not the first one. The first one was the one I loved, but this one is really awesome. Really.”
The same can be said for John’s musical partners, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davis. “They’re happy about the pay, but it’s a job,” says John Carpenter. “We work hard. That’s what it’s all about. We go through the movie — that’s our job and we try to please the director. I personally try – I don’t want to have an emotional attachment to what I do. I want to provide what is needed to make the movie better, improve the images and improve the characters. So this is the job I have.”
“You see, one of our jobs, and nobody told me this when I started, is to keep the shine at all times,” says the veteran filmmaker. “Makes everything shiny, but it’s not true. … I know I know. I let everyone down, but I couldn’t. There is nothing glamorous about it. Look, I was sitting on a glacier in the middle of the night waiting for the explosion [in The Thing]. It was freezing cold. The snow fell on me and I thought, ‘what am I doing? There is nothing glamorous about it.”
“It’s hard work,” he adds. “All art I think is. The music is nice, but it’s also hard work.” Carpenter says that he does “love the process and I do it – all that’s great, but come on. I mean, every job is a job.”
When not working, John Carpenter enjoys life as an avid video gamer and watching the NBA. “Well, I have two teams. My main team is the Golden State Warriors, and my second favorite team is the Milwaukee Bucks,” he says. Unfortunately, the Warriors aren’t scheduled to play on October 31st (they do play the next day, taking on the Miami Heat.) If they were to play on Halloween, what song would Carpenter want the team to come out to?
“Well, ‘Halloween,'” he says. “That would be great. That’s what Kobe Bryant used to listen to. Do you know this story? Before games, he would listen to the Halloween theme over and over and focus. He wanted to be like Michael Myers. Just a basketball machine. And that’s what he was – like scared!”
Although Halloween comes to an end with this new movie, John Carpenter will continue to make music. Maybe there is a Alice Cooper cooperation in the future? John worked with Alice The Prince of Darknessand while Mr. Cooper not a song for a Halloween movie, he did write a famous song for another slasher icon – Jason Voorhees of the Friday the 13th franchise. Cooper wrote “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” for Friday The VI: Jason Lives.
When John Carpenter came up with the idea of collaborating with Alice Cooper for a musical project, John Carpenter seemed open to the idea. “I didn’t even think about it,” he says. I have to reconsider. This is a good idea. No, I haven’t spoken to Alice in a while, but he’s still going away, I think. Well, nice guy. I like him very much.”
John Carpenter’s Halloween ends score is today, 14 Oct. Halloween ends is also available on Peacock.