Prep for the Assault on Precinct 13 Blu-ray Release by Counting Down the Top 10 John Carpenter Films

Prep for the Assault on Precinct 13 Blu-ray Release by Counting Down the Top 10 John Carpenter FilmsThe title “Master of Horror” is thrown around quite a bit. Often it’s warranted but sometimes not so much. In the case of filmmaker John Carpenter, however, you cannot heap enough accolades upon him.

Although he is one of the forerunners of the modern slasher sub-genre of horror, Carpenter’s credits go far beyond that. He is not only a true master of horror, but an incredibly diverse and talented filmmaker.

In honor of Scream Factory’s November 19th Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack release of Assault on Precinct 13, we thought we’d sort through his impressive body of work and give you our Top 10 John Carpenter Films.

From celebrating Halloween in Haddonfield to escaping from New York and experiencing big trouble in China, Carpenter’s films are as diverse as they are entertaining. With honorable mentions to his first movie, Dark Star; the enchanting Starman; and anthology film Body Bags (which got its own Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD release earlier this month on the 12th), let’s take a look at some of his finest moments.

Prep for the Assault on Precinct 13 Blu-ray Release by Counting Down the Top 10 John Carpenter Films
John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)

Not necessarily one of the more iconic John Carpenter films but an enjoyable effort nonetheless. Adapted from the John Steakley novel Vampire$, this movie stars James Woods as Jack Crow, a professional vampire hunter. When Crow runs into uber-vamp Jan Valek, all Hell breaks loose. Vampires is more of a Western film disguised as a horror movie, but it performs wonderfully to appease both genres. Also starring Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee and Thomas Ian Griffith as Valek, Vampires is a cool good versus evil story loaded with killer practical effects.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Carpenter would frequently use the same actor repeatedly, and Big Trouble in Little China was the fourth collaboration between the director and star Kurt Russell. This martial arts/comedy film finds Jack Burton (Russell) fighting for his life trying to help his friend in the underworld of Chinatown. Big Trouble in Little China was rushed into production in order to hit theaters before Eddie Murphy’s The Golden Child, which was a similar film. China beat Child by five months but would only gross about $11 million to Child’s nearly $80 million. It was also released just 16 days before the box office juggernaut Aliens, which didn’t help matters either. Fortunately, Big Trouble in Little China would go on to become a cult favorite with big success on home video.

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Marking his first work with long-time collaborator Debra Hill, Carpenter considers Assault on Precinct 13 his first real film as he was shooting on a schedule. Carpenter not only wrote and directed the film, but he scored and even edited it. High on violence and action, Assault on Precinct 13 tells the story of the defense of a police station against a gang of ruthless toughs and ne’er-do-wells. Like Big Trouble in Little China, it was another Carpenter film to struggle originally at the box office, only to grow a cult following later on. Many consider it to be one of the greatest siege films of the 1970’s and beyond.

MORE Top 10 John Carpenter Films on the NEXT page!

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Scott Hallam

We all go a little mad sometimes...haven't you?

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  • nazo

    I haven’t seen everything he’s done, but…

    1. Big Trouble In Little China
    2. The Thing
    3. They Live
    4. Escape From New York
    5. Halloween
    6. Assault on Precinct 13
    7. Christine
    8. The Fog
    9. Prince Of Darkness
    10. In The Mouth Of Madness

  • kiddcapone

    Just because I love lists:

    1: Escape from New York
    2: Halloween
    3: Big Trouble in Little China
    4: The Thing
    5: They Live
    6: Prince of Darkness
    7: The Fog
    8: Vampires
    9: In the Mouth of Madness
    10: Assault on Precinct 13


    my top 10 Carpenter films in this order how Vampires made this top 10 is beyond me?; but to each their own STARMAN is a classic sci fi as well .


    • frank_dracman

      Mouth of Madness above Big Trouble?! Here I thought I was the only one who loves that movie. This is why I hate top 10 lists. I can name my 10 favorite movies, but it’s damn near impossible for me to put one above another. It all depends on my mood, and it just so happens that Carpenter has a movie for every occasion. I can, however, put Ghosts of Mars on the bottom of the list. That movie just plain sucked.

      • MonsterMash

        I hate top ten lists too. For the same reasons. Here’s mine: I love John Carpenter. The End.

  • Chernobyl Kinsman

    Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favourite movies.. I have a huge poster of it and a Pork Chop Express T-shirt. I have seen it probably more than any other film, except maybe Aliens.

    I’d say Assault on Precinct 13, Escape From New York (I *love* the dark synth themes for both those two) and Big Trouble are my favourite Carpenter movies, although I obviously love Halloween a lot and, well, pretty much everything on this list is great stuff – Prince of Darkness is just fucking weird, but spooky weird.


    I was lucky enough to be able to catch most of Carpenters classics in the theater could always count on a new flick coming from him every couple years i miss those days!!!