Horror Wasn't The Genre John Carpenter Set Out To Direct

Perhaps most famously known for his genre defining 1978 film, "Halloween," John Carpenter is a horror maestro. It's almost impossible to talk about horror without mentioning his name. He's created so many phenomenal gems for the genre that it's hard to imagine horror without his contributions. Along with the "Halloween" franchise, films like "The Thing," "They Live," and "Escape from New York" have all gone on to become classics, and rightfully so. I mean, who doesn't want to "chew bubblegum and kick ass" after watching a Carpenter film? 

Not only are Carpenter's films impressive for the stories alone, but they are also unique because Carpenter himself often contributes the score. That iconic piano riff in "Halloween?" All Carpenter. He is extremely involved in his projects which makes it all the more perplexing to find out that he doesn't really consider himself to be a horror director in the first place. It turns out that even though the majority of his projects have a decidedly horror bend, the genre is not what a young Carpenter initially set out to direct.

Not really a genre kind of guy

If you ask John Carpenter what makes a horror movie, he might tell you that, "horror is a reaction; it's not a genre." At least, that's what he told Dave Portner in a conversation for Interview. But if horror is merely a reaction to something, then just what exactly has Carpenter been doing all of these years? It turns out, he doesn't really have a direct answer, but he does know that he didn't get in the business to make horror films. He tells Interview, "Horror found me, man. I got into the movie business to make westerns," but westerns were quickly becoming a thing of the past. "They'd already died out as a genre," says Carpenter. "So I made 'Halloween' and everyone came running because it made money. That's the only reason why."

Lucky for Carpenter, his stint as a horror director worked, because "Halloween" went on to launch his career as one of the greatest names synonymous with the horror genre. When pressed about whether or not he actually even likes horror Carpenter says, "I was a big fan of horror movies when I was a kid — and of cinema in general. I didn't really know literature that well, but that interest came along as I got older." Clearly, a love for horror is there for Carpenter, even if it wasn't his original genre of choice. And lucky for all of us too, because we get to experience some of the greatest horror stories cinema has ever seen.