John Carpenter and Halloween

How a film was saved with a composition created in two weeks blind.

Discipline: Film

John Carpenter, the creator of numerous cult classics, had limited time and budget to make Halloween. Carpenter had roughly three weeks of pre-production planning, twenty days of shooting and a couple of months in post-production and editing. He screened the final cut for a young executive from 20th Century-Fox minus the sound and music. The film didn’t scare the executive at all. This was when Carpenter became determined to “save it with the music.” (1)

They had two weeks to score the movie and produce the soundtrack. Instead of calling for outside help John Carpenter took it upon himself to score the movie with collaborator Dan Wyman. Wyman taught electronic music at USC and had his own equipment. As Carpenter put it. “I was the fastest and cheapest I could get.” (3)

They worked in the studio on the spot to compose the score without reference to the actual picture or ability to synchronize. Carpenter referred to this method as “double-blind mode.” The soundtrack added the depth and atmosphere that was needed to create the experience. (4) It took some serious intuition to be able to pull this off. Carpenter’s ability to write, direct and score his works epitomizes working with what you got.

References

1. Carpenter, John. “Halloween Soundtrack.” The Official John Carpenter. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2017. <http://www.theofficialjohncarpenter.com/halloween-soundtrack/>.

2. Yanick, Joe. “We Asked John Carpenter (Almost) Every Question You Could Think of About His Career.” Noisey. Vice, 26 July 2014. Web. 08 July 2017. <https://noisey.vice.com/en_us/article/69pw5r/we-asked-john-carpenter-almost-every-question-you-could-think-of-about-his-career>.

3. Sorcinelli, Gino. “John Carpenter Created the Entire.” Medium. Micro-Chop, 04 Nov. 2016. Web. 08 July 2017. <https://medium.com/micro-chop/john-carpenter-created-the-entire-halloween-score-in-two-weeks-d7457bbd45ae>.

4. Carpenter, John. “Halloween Soundtrack.” The Official John Carpenter. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2017. <http://www.theofficialjohncarpenter.com/halloween-soundtrack/>.


Originally published at blog.viktorbezic.com.