The Fog (John Carpenter, 1980)The many forms that evil can take, the many places in which it can appear, the infinite ways in which it can announce itself, the ease with which it can blend into the rhythms and atmospheres of everyday life – this is Carpenter’s focus, and the moral clarity that he brings to that focus is what makes him a great director. Adrienne Barbeau’s slow walk down the stairs to her lighthouse radio station, with its odd sensation of reality peeling away its skin, in The Fog; a reanimated zombie standing before a mirror, in Prince of Darkness, and shivering with a nameless, inarticulate longing for what lies on the other side; the world suddenly turning blue at the will and ease of a demonic novelist, in In the Mouth of Madness – these are moments unlike any others in American cinema, where the balance between legibility and fluidity, between the real and the ir-real, is perfectly achieved and held.
—Kent Jones, “American Movie Classic: John Carpenter" Film Comment (Jan/Feb 1999)
"Simplicity! Greater and greater simplicity—that will be the keynote of the new films. Our whole effort must be bent toward ridding motion pictures of all that does not belong to them, of all that is unnecessary and trivial and drawn from other sources—all the tricks, gags, ‘business’ not of the cinema, but of the stage and the written book. That is what has been accomplished when certain films reached the level of great art. That is what I tried to do in The Last Laugh. We must try for more and more simplicity and devotion to pure motion picture technique and material.”
December 28, 1888 — March 11, 1931