The master of horror, John Carpenter has been terrifying audiences for over four decades. A triple threat, he possesses the amazing talent of writing, directing and scoring his own films. To the delight of the horror community, he has recently taken to touring his renowned film soundtracks, as well as his original compositions. In October, a black cloud will hang over Manchester’s Albert Hall, as Mr Halloween himself pays us a visit.
Carpenter’s eerie themes have found themselves in the ears of countless people across the world. Instantly recognisable, his soundtracks for movies such as Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), and Escape From New York (1981) are just stunning. Building on the foundation laid by the synth-led progressive artists of the 1970’s, he imbued these kinds of soundscapes with… well… terror.
His secret? Repetition. Carpenter’s seemingly endless looping of his arpeggiated refrains plays a huge part in the tension with which we associate his films. With baited breath we wait for something to change, longing for a release, but it rarely, if ever, comes. Take his famous (infamous) score for Halloween. Arguably the scariest score in cinematic history, it’s surprisingly simple, building unbearable tension through unrelenting loops of a few sparse notes.
Though they are few, these notes instantly flood his fans’ musical memory with images of menacing shapes in the shadows, ghost-filled fog, or a mirror holding the gateway to hell. On his current tour, John Carpenter is playing these themes alongside their relevant movie clips, so you can expect the full horror experience. As well as these spine-tingling classics, you will hear tracks from his recent standalone albums Lost Themes and Lost themes 2, in which the composer’s unchanging aesthetic stands as strong as ever.