John Carpenter Dismisses Connections Between 'Stranger Things' and His Work

Having created some of the most iconic horror and sci-fi films of the '80s, such as The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live, it's easy to see filmmaker John Carpenter's influence on the Netflix series Stranger Things, which takes place during the decade. More specifically, the series' score has drawn many comparisons to Carpenter's films, as he also crafted the scores for his most memorable movies. Despite others drawing those comparisons, Carpenter himself simply doesn't see the connection.

"I saw a preview of Stranger Things — I haven't watched it. It didn't sound anything like me," Carpenter told Rotten Tomatoes of his music inspiring contemporary horror soundtracks. "And I'm not sure which ones people are talking about. As far as I can see, nobody scores movies like I do. They just don't. They don't even try to do it the way I do it, which is fine. If you point out something to me, I'll take a listen to it."

Carpenter's scores lean heavily on synthesizers, which helped define horror movie scores of the '70s and '80s. One of the filmmaker's most iconic scores is for the 1978 slasher Halloween, which reportedly only took him a weekend to create.

"For both Assault [on Precinct 13] and Halloween, I go into a studio and depending on how much time I had, I'd do several pieces," Carpenter shared with Consequence of Sound. "For Assault, I had a day; for Halloween, I had three days."

The film's main theme, arguably the most iconic horror theme in all of cinema, barely ate up any of the filmmaker's time.

"Not the theme, the whole score [took three days]," Carpenter clarified. "That theme was done in like an hour. We moved on."

The filmmaker might not have picked up on his influences on the Stranger Things preview, but the show's creators, Ross and Matt Duffer, have cited the filmmaker as one of their influences.

"We wanted something in the vein of the classic films we loved growing up," Ross shared with IGN. "Obviously the influences are all over the show, whether it's Spielberg's stuff or John Carpenter or the novels of Stephen King. And I think for us looking at it, it's like, 'What is it about these stories that resonated so much with us when we were growing up?' And I think really what it is, what connects all of them even though tonally sometimes they're different -- but what really connects them is that these very ordinary people encountering these very extraordinary things. So I think those were the initial conversations, of can we get back to that style of storytelling?"


Carpenter is rumored to be providing the score to the upcoming Halloween sequel, which is slated to hit theaters on October 19.

[H/T Rotten Tomatoes]