Let’s talk about John Carpenter for a second. Yes, I know that I rarely get to write about some of my favorite directors. Sure I got to that with my Hideo Kojima/ Guillermo Del Toro post. Check it out here. But this is something different.
With a slight throwback and an interesting analysis, I will make note of not only John Carpenter’s influence on the Resident Evil franchise. But on the gaming industry in general as well. And on plenty of young talented directors that came after him. But first thing’s first. What prompted this post in the first place?
Resident Evil: Village and the upcoming Resident Evil reboot of course. Well, we do have Resident Evil: Village available. Just click here. And for the upcoming reboot? Scroll down.
John Carpenter & Resident Evil
You’ve probably heard the news. Johannes Roberts, the director of the upcoming Resident Evil reboot Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, revealed a bunch of interesting facts. And about the reboot itself of course. Indeed. In an interview For IGN, Roberts revealed a couple of things about the reboot. First, and foremost he revealed the title of the movie. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. Secondly, that the reboot will have an origin story and last but not least… That the movie is in fact inspired by John Carpenter. That’s right. The man himself.
And according to the interview he did for IGN, the reboot will focus more on the horror aspects of the original video game. While the previous Resident Evil franchise fell under the action-horror genre… And will have plenty of John Carpenter influence. Moreover, his cult movies and his iconic directorial style.
John Carpenter & Resident Evil Village
– “I’m a huge John Carpenter fan and I really took to that. The way he tells these claustrophobic siege movies and I took movies like Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog. Ad these disparate group of characters coming together under siege, and I took that as my film inspiration.” said the director (Johannes Roberts) in his interview.
Which is why I’m here. Hey, that’s awesome news for every John Carpenter fan. Furthermore, I’m glad that his style, themes and movie influences get transferred to the younger generations. But more on that later. I’m here to explore the influence of John Carpenter not just on the RE franchise. But the gaming industry as well.
But first, I believe a word or two is very much needed for the game that started this post. Resident Evil Village. Capcom’s tenth major installment in the Resident Evil series. And the sequel to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. But you can also purchase Resident Evil Village here at IndieGala.
Indeed. The game was released today, on May 7th, and we at IndieGala can’t wait to try it out. How about you? And I already devoted a post about Lady Dumitrescu. The very tall and very scary lady of Resident Evil: Village. But let’s dig deep. And of course, focus on the influence that one man had not just on the Resident Evil franchise. But the entire gaming industry as a whole. The one and only… John Carpenter.
Let’s Start With Metal Gear Solid
It’s the elephant in the room, isn’t it? So, it’s best to start with that. It’s no secret that the MGS franchise is peppered with Escape From New York references. And influences I might add. However, the biggest influence is on the main character of MGS. Solid Snake. You know this character all too well I presume? Well, there’s an interesting story behind it. First and foremost, John Carter didn’t mind Konami’s blatant copying of Snake Pliskin’s likeness. Secondly, Konami and Hideo Kojima almost ended up with a lawsuit because of that. However, it was Carpenter who backed down and said… It’s OK. They can „borrow“ as much as they want. Indeed. CanalPlus, the company with which he owns the rights to Escape to New York, wanted to sue Kojima. But Carpenter intervened and everything was dropped.
-“But I told them not to do that. I know the director of those games. And he’s a nice guy, or at least he’s nice to me.” said John Carpenter.
Yes. Kojima dodged a lawsuit because he’s a nice guy. However, Luc Besson was not so nice. But that’s a topic for a different story I suppose.
Carpenter’s Influence On The RE Franchise
Carpenter’s influence on the character of Solid Snake is obvious and blatant of course. But what about the small details? Well if you noticed the dogs in RE 4 and RE5 then you’ll notice that they’re very similar to the ones in The Thing. And that’s no accident. The entire Capcom team was influenced by the 1982 Carpenter movie. Furthermore, Computer Artwork’s The Thing landed on PlayStation 2, PC, and Xbox 20 years after the movie.
And Resident Evil: Revelations even has this line. “What movie is this; Snow all around; a lonely outpost… and a creature attacking the staff,” a character says in Resident Evil: Revelations. Well, it’s The Thing of course.
What About The Rest?
Well, let’s talk about Big Trouble in Little China for a moment. Another Carpenter 80’s classic. Furthermore, the film got the game treatment in 1986 by developer Activision (under the label Electric Dreams Software). But Big Trouble in Little China went has a huge influence on one of the biggest fighting games of all time. The blood-soaked frenzy is called The Mortal Kombat series. Not to mention, Raiden’s design was based on one of The Three Storms. The deadly servants of the film’s Big Bad Lo Pan. And of course, Mortal Kombat boss Shang Tsung is also based on the aforementioned Chinese sorcerer Lo Pan.
And there’s Halloween of course. Halloween was also adapted into a game by the short-lived Wizard Video Games, and it was pretty scary and gruesome for the time. Yeah, post-Doom and GTA the violence is laughable but for the time it was pretty gnarly. But let’s bookend this section with F.E.A.R. 3. In April 2010, Carpenter announced he will join the F.E.A.R. franchise. He also offered himself as a spokesman and as help direct the cinematic for the game. However, His only official credits on F.E.A.R. 3 were story-line consultant and narrator. There’s no confirmation that he actually did direct the cinematics of the game.
And What About The Influence On Other Directors?
Well, where to begin really? Sam Raimi and Edgar Wright name him as a huge influence in their career. And his recognizable style is easily shown in some of the most iconic (and not so iconic) horror flicks. Regardless if it’s in the visual style or the setting. Or perhaps in the characters and tone. Carpenter is legendary for his geography establishing efforts with long takes. And his use of framing in order to generate fear and suspense. Not to mention the use of humor and cynicism in his leading characters. Oh, and his music is legendary.
Jeremy Saulnier’s debut thriller, Blue Ruin has Carpenter’s style all over it. But also his next movie, Green Room. The 2012 movie Lockout has a similar plot to Escape From New York. Furthermore, The Guest is a full-blown homage to John Carpenter’s Halloween. Oh and James Cameron’s The Terminator as well. Add Quentin Tarantino, Jeff Nichols, James DeMonaco and the Duffer brothers to the mix and you have an entire generation influenced by John Carpenter.
Are You A Fan Of John Carpenter?
Let us know in the comment section. And please share your favorite Carpenter movie with us. We’d love to know all about it.