'Strangers: Prey at Night' Director Shares His Two Biggest John Carpenter Influences

The Strangers is considered by many to be one of the best home invasion movies of all time, with John Carpenter being considered one of the best horror directors of all time. With the filmmaker helping establish the concept of the "slasher" with 1978's Halloween, it wouldn't be hard to imagine Carpenter had an influence on The Strangers: Prey at Night. The film's director, Johannes Roberts, confirmed that Carpenter was an influence, but drew inspiration from unlikely films: The Fog and Christine.

“Those two films really were my lead in terms of atmosphere and pacing and cinematic style. It’s a tricky one in terms of the movie has a very tense slow build. It’s just atmosphere," Roberts shared with Bloody Disgusting. "It’s really building it and then when things go wrong, it’s relentless. It’s a tricky line to balance which is something you discover in the cutting room more because an audience needs to breathe. You can’t just hit them over the head relentlessly. It was a tricky one to get just right.”

In The Fog, a group of restless pirate spirits descends upon a small coastal town, which is quite different from a group of masked killers terrorizing a family in a trailer park. That film's atmosphere was a much bigger influence on this sequel than its narrative.

“We needed to find the right place and we found the right place in terms of I really wanted texture, contours to the landscape to give my camera something to capture. Real depth, anything could be anywhere," Roberts pointed out. "You’ve got the trailers, you’ve got the trees, but the real key to it was to just create that atmosphere. That’s where The Fog influence came in. We just had the fog machines running all the time. It really gave it that Carpenter feel and I think that really helped.”

In Christine, a teenager develops an obsession with an old car, which regularly comes alive to hunt down the teen's bullies. One of the biggest connections that Carpenter film has to The Strangers is an intimidating automobile that almost feels like a character itself.

“It’s certainly one of my favorites. Visually I think it’s incredible," Roberts confessed of Christine. "It was just something I really wanted to play around with but it was something when I met the truck for the first time in real life, I was like yeah, there’s something about the Ford 100. It was just a great looking car and I just thought, ‘F-ck, this is going to be an amazing character in the movie.’ There’s something creepy about empty cars with the radios playing, cars in silhouette. It just became this character in its own right. It just became really fun to play around with that.”

Audiences can see the Carpenter influences come to life when The Strangers: Prey at Night hits theaters this Friday.


What are your thoughts on these Carpenter flicks? Let us know in the comments below!

[H/T Bloody Disgusting]