Throughout the '70s and '80s, John Carpenter delivered audiences some of the most memorable genre films in history, from Halloween to The Fog to They Live, with current audiences looking back on those films' successes as givens. At the time, however, audiences didn't connect as strongly with some of those efforts, with 1982's The Thing notoriously earning poor reviews upon release, only for fans to consider it one of the best sci-fi/horror films of all time. Carpenter recently admitted that, while he tries his best to make an engaging product, he was most surprised by how effective Christine turned out.
"I was surprised, actually. Christine surprised me, I don't know why, but it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be," Carpenter recently shared with Variety. "I needed a job after The Thing because nobody would hire me. So this came along and I took the job and it turned out better than it had a right to."
The film was an adaptation of a Stephen King novel, who was another defining horror figure of the '80s. The story explored a high school student who bought a car for an incredibly cheap price, only to fix it up into a hot rod, with the car having the supernatural ability to kill the student's bullies. Carpenter went on to explain one of the big deviations that he made from the source material.
"We discarded one element of Stephen King's story, which was the owner, the ghost of the owner, would sit in the backseat," Carpenter detailed. "I thought that might be kind of cheesy, but I don't know, I maybe made a mistake. But it turned out okay. It was a fun shoot."
The filmmaker also noted that, given the fractured process of filmmaking, you don't always know if the work you're doing on set will translate to a quality film.
"Nobody wants to make a bad movie, ever. Nobody starts out to make a bad film," Carpenter confessed. "Occasionally, they make a really good film, but usually it's mediocre to poor. Most movies."
As far as whether or not he knows when he's going to have success, Carpenter joked, "No, not a clue. I am clueless. Maybe others do, but I don't know."
Many Carpenter fans consider Christine to be one of his strongest films, leading them to wonder if he would ever be interested in adapting another King story. The filmmaker previously joked that taking on more work wasn't of interest to him.
Stay tuned for details about John Carpenter's upcoming projects.
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