The Show, Channel 4, February 15th 1997.

JC recently appeared on CH4's trendy new chat show THE SHOW, but only just. He was originally dropped in favour of Julie Goodyear and then Adam Faith. When neither could come JC was asked if he could still come. When JC found out who he was dropped for he was understandably ticked off and gave the producers a hard time. The producers also got hassle from CH4 bosses moaning about the "weak" line up. They obviously havn't got a clue what they are doing.

JC and Show Secretary in dressing room :

JC: Who did you drop me for?
SS: First of all we had ... obviously you were our guest for a while and then we had Adam Faith, do you know him? He's a kind of chorus line, he's a presenter.
JC: You dropped me for him?
SS: Yeah.
JC: I came all the way from Hollywood and you dropped me for him?
SS: Uh, yeah, and then we had Julie Goodyear, do you know her?
JC: Aaah!

JC + 2 Producers in corridor :

JC: So I got dropped for a British soap opera star is hat the idea?
P1: It was a ...
P2: You were always up there and, um, ...
JC: I don't belive you for a second, not a second.
P1: It has been a bit of a week John but we are very grateful that you came along.

The Show :

Interviewer: My next guest is the mastermind behind some of the greatest Hollywood movies of the last three decades. His horror flick Halloween redefined the phrase 'scared shitless'. Will you please welcome Mr John Carpenter.
I: How are you? Nice to see you. What are you doing? You are over here for the Howard Hawks...
JC: I'm here to give a masterclass on Howard Hawks in the National Film Theatre.
I: Ok. Howard Hawks, the greatest American director?
JC: In my opinion the greatest American director. A lot of people don't realise he is but he's made a great movie in every single genre. He made comedies, he made action films, he made science fiction films, he did it all.
I: Very much like yourself in fact.
JC: No.
I: Yes you are, cos you've kind of moved around.
JC: I would love to be able to say that I was ... something rubbed off from Howard Hawks to me, but not really.
I: Did you ever meet him?
JC: Yes I did.
I: When did you meet him?
JC: 1970, I was a film student at USC. I came up to him and said 'Mr Hawks you're my favourite director.' He looked at me and my long hair and said 'Uh-huh.' He was a great director, it was wonderful to meet him and he's inspired my entore career.
I: So let's talk about John Carpenter. When did you start, what did you do?
JC: I came out of film school, I made a student film, I thought as soon ans I made it I would get right into Hollywood, the limo would pull up, I would get right out onto the sound stage. It didn't work that way.
I: What was the film?
JC: Dark Star.
I: No, the one before that.
JC: Oh, Resurrection of Bronco Billy. Yeah, that was a movie that won an Academy Award.
I: There you go, when you're a student you won an Academy Award.
JC: Didn't mean anything.
I: Really?
JC: No, no one cared. I had to write my way into the business in terms of screenplays and finally I raised enough money to do a movie called Halloween and that put me on the map.
I: So how did Halloween come about?
JC: The producer came to me and said 'I want to you to make a film about baby sitters getting murdered' and I said 'Ok, if I can have complete control I'll do it' and we decided to call it Halloween.
I: Ok, and it cost something ridicolous?
JC: $300,000.
I: Which is nothing.
JC: Made 75 million.
I: Wow! And did you get a little cut of that?
JC: I did, yeah.
I: Fine, ok. And the other thing you did was to introduce us to Jamie Lee Curtis.
JC: She was 19 years old, she was gorgeous, and still is.
I: So Halloween worked and you thought 'right, I like this, I like this kind of scary, spooky...'
JC: I like it, but you know I got stereotyoed into it. I think the toughest thing to deal with in Hollywood is being successful, it's not failing. So I didn't quite know what to do, so I kept making fantasy and horror films, and I got really lucky, had a great career.
I: Was there a point after Halloween where you said 'I'd quite like to do a nice little romantic comedy' and presumably you go 'yeah, ok, when do they get killed'?
JC: Well basically I get offered movies where zombies come up and eat flesh.
I: Where do you start from?
JC: Well basically you start from the idea fear. Cos you're making movies about fear, and fear is a universal thing. Everybody's frightened of the same things. We're all frightened of death, being mutilated, death of a loved one. Everybody in the world is afraid of the same thing. Fear is the oldest and strongest emotion we have, so it crosses all boundaries. So what you basically want to do is put the audience in suspense and fear and thrills for an hour and a half or two hours.
I: What frightens you? What movies do you think 'Ooh, that's scary'?
JC: Movies don't really scare me, I'm like a plumber, I know what the plumbing is like, so I know how it works. But real life scares me a lot.
I: Where do you live?
JC: Hollywood, California.
I: Is that a scary city?
JC: No, it's a great city.
I: Is it?
JC: Yeah, you can't be a wimp to live there, it's a tough city. You got earthquakes, you got riots, you got drive-by shootings ...
I: Sounds like a barrel of laughs, like a lovely seaside village! So by that you mean that if you got a movie you say 'I see where blood came from'?
JC: Exactly.
I: But in real life ...
JC: No, it's tough, but we've replaced New York as the baddest city in the United States.
I: There is a school of thought that says that the reason the streets of the world are so dangerous today is because people have watched movies like Halloween. Is there a link?
JC: This debate has been going on ever since they first put on plays back in ancient Greece. Aristopheles had to rewrite his plays of they were too violent or too sexy or too political. Shakespeare had the same problems, we all have the same problems because I think people are frightened of real life and what they want to do is limit their freedoms to make them feel better. It's a perception that we have that the world is dangerous. But movies arn't causing it, and the problems are tough. How do you deal with poverty? How do you deal with child abuse? What do you do about it? I don't have the answers for that.
I: Do you think films are an easy target then?
JC: There are a lot of easy targets, films is one of them. Television is anothere.
I: So what do you feel about censorship, how is it in the USA?
JC: It's on its way, it's coming to us in a big time way. I think that you're going to see a big change in the movies now. I think it's going to go back to a more puritanical straightforward kind of thing because I think people are very frightened. They're worried about the future. They're worried about the year 2000. They're worried about their jobs and all this goes right into attacking the movies.
I: It's been a great pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, John Carpenter!

Copyright, The Show, Channel 4, February 15th 1997.

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