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13 Fascinating Facts About Brazil

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Brazil, writer-director Terry Gilliam’s dystopian satire, took a while to become the cult classic it is today. But in 1986 it managed to score two Oscar nominations (for Best Original Screenplay and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration). Set in a retro-futuristic time period, the movie centers on Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), who lives in a bureaucratic world of nonsense. In February of 1985, Brazil was released in Europe without any issues. But when Gilliam tried to get it released in the U.S., it ran into trouble. Eventually Universal Studios acquiesced to Gilliam’s demands, and it opened in select cities on December 18, 1985. Budgeted at $15 million, the film grossed just $9 million domestically, but 30 years later it remains an influential film.

1. ACCORDING TO TERRY GILLIAM, BRAZIL DIDN’T PREDICT THE PRESENT WORLD.

When Terry Gilliam released his latest film, 2013’s The Zero Theorem, critics saw a resemblance to Brazil. “Those films are not really about the future,” he told Esquire, which offered up how much Brazil supposedly predicted our current times. “I think both films were really about the present, which I tried to disguise with some future elements. There are many elements in The Zero Theorem that I thought would be in the near future, but by the time we were shooting the film they were already in existence.” He also said a similar thing to Rolling Stone: “It’s just easier for me to put something outside of a contemporary time, because then I can amend things.” He further emphasized his non-soothsayer status to The New York Times. “People think I am a prophet and that Brazil described the world we’re living in now a few years ago,” he said. “But we were living in that world then; people just weren’t paying attention the way they do now.”

2. KATHERINE HELMOND GOT BLISTERS FROM HER MAKEUP.

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Katherine Helmond previously worked with Gilliam on Time Bandits. He called her up to play the part of Sam’s mother, who is really into plastic surgery. In an interview with Emmy TV Legends, Helmond recollected the grueling process of shooting the film in England and having to wear a glued-on mask for 10 hours a day. “I broke out from the glue and had all sorts of blisters on my face and they had to postpone my shooting, and I had to come back to the States and go to a doctor to clear up my face,” she recalled. “And the doctor said, ‘Don’t ever do this again,’ but I went back and had one more scene to do, and they glued my face again, and I broke out again. I think, ultimately, it was worth it because the character had such a fabulous look to it.”

3. BRAZIL’S THEME SONG BECAME U.S. PROPAGANDA.

In 1939, Ary Barroso wrote the samba song “Aquarela do Brasil”, which translates to “watercolor of Brazil.” Before Geoff Muldaur and Michael Kamen reworked it for Brazil, the song landed in the U.S. in 1942, in the Disney film Saludos Amigos. Walt Disney had heard the song while visiting Brazil, as part of FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy, which involved Brazil’s president Getúlio Vargas wanting to “regard America as a friend,” according to a BBC article. The song and Disney film aimed to portray South America in a better light than just as “feckless Latinos.” Since then, the song has been covered by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, Kate Bush, and Arcade Fire. “Its appeal transcends genre as well as politics—few songs with such political baggage have such a strong melody, or are quite as danceable,” read the BBC article.

4. GILLIAM WAGED A SUCCESSFUL WAR AGAINST UNIVERSAL STUDIOS.

It’s well-documented that Universal, which released the film in the U.S. (Fox released it overseas), refused to release the film in America with Gilliam’s original ending. The studio re-cut the film to portray a happy ending, a.k.a. the “Love Conquers All” ending, where Sam gets the girl instead of descending into insanity. In order to get the film released, Gilliam took out a full-page ad in Variety, directed at the head of Universal, Sid Sheinberg. Gilliam corralled L.A. film critics to watch the film in clandestine screenings, even though there was an embargo in showing people the film. The movie won three L.A. Critics awards, and Universal decided to release the film. “They [Universal] were in such a flap—they immediately released it in New York and Los Angeles, and they had no posters,” Gilliam told The Believer. “They had nothing—they had a Xeroxed copy of the artwork they were going to eventually make a poster of. That’s all they had. And it did proceed to do the most business per theater of any film at that time.”

5. SID SHEINBERG HAD MORE PROBLEMS WITH BRAZIL THAN JUST ITS ENDING AND RUNNING TIME.

The big problem with the film at first not being released in the U.S. came down to a contract dispute over the length of Brazil. Gilliam delivered a film 17 minutes over what he was contracted to do (over the two-hours-and-five-minutes limit) so the studio chopped it down to 94 minutes. But Sheinberg told the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t want a happy ending; I want a satisfying ending,” and he said that 52 percent of viewers responded negatively to test screenings.

Sheinberg also felt that Gilliam, who had only directed three films at this point, didn’t have the clout to be so demanding over final cut. “If Steven Spielberg brought me a movie four hours long and said, ‘It has to go out this way,’ I guarantee you that’s the way it would go out,” Sheinberg said. “But Terry Gilliam is not Steven Spielberg.” At one point Sheinberg contemplated selling the film for half price, and Gilliam was willing to do whatever he could to salvage the film. Well, almost. “I will talk to Sid, I will get in a Jacuzzi and drink wine with Sid,” Gilliam told the Los Angeles Times. “I will do anything to get this film released, except get in the editing room with him.”

6. JACK LINT BECAME MORE SINISTER DURING A RESHOOT.

Robert De Niro wanted to play the part of villain Jack Lint, but Gilliam said fellow Monty Python member Michael Palin needed to play the role. In the scene where Lint meets Sam at his office, Palin didn’t feel good with the way it initially turned out, so they went back and reshot it. “A little voice in the back of my mind said, ‘You know, this could be better,’” Palin told Wide Angle/Closeup. “So I was actually quite relieved when after a month or so, maybe longer, Terry said, ‘You know, there are some problems, it might be worth it trying this scene again.’ And after I got over the feelings of hurt pride—couldn’t get it right the first time—I realized yes, well there were things wrong, and maybe we’d be able to improve on it.”

The second time around they added more of a family element, integrating Lint’s young daughter, played by Gilliam’s real-life daughter. “I enjoyed having Holly there,” Palin said. “It gave me something to do which enabled the sort of jargon and the sinister side of what Jack is saying to come out as though he’s just sort of playing with his girl, playing with his family at the same time he says these things about, ‘Well, you have to be destroyed, you’d have to wipe him out,’ and all that sort of thing.”

7. GILLIAM THINKS FALLING IN LOVE IS A BAD IDEA.

The director told The Believer what he felt the movie was about: “To me, the heart of Brazil is responsibility, is involvement—you can’t just let the world go on doing what it’s doing without getting involved. And of course what [Sam] does is he falls in love, so he falls vulnerable and his whole world starts falling apart. Never fall in love.”

8. GILLIAM CONSIDERS HIMSELF AN OPTIMIST.

Gilliam admitted that he’s “terribly optimistic about things,” which comes through in the film’s ending. “I have a theory about Brazil in that it was a very difficult film for a pessimist to watch but it was okay for an optimist to watch it,” he told Wide Angle/Closeup. “For a pessimist it just confirms his worst fears; an optimist could somehow find a grain of hope in the ending. Cynicism bothers me because cynicism is, in a way, an admission of defeat, whereas skepticism is fairly healthy, and also it implies that there is the possibility of change.”

9. THE LOCATION WHERE SAM WAS TORTURED IS NOW AN IKEA.

The torture scene at the end of the movie was filmed in a former coal- and gas-fired power station in Croydon, England. In 1991, everything but two chimneys was demolished. In a strange turn of events, IKEA opened a storefront where the plant used to be, causing shoppers to engage in capitalism.

10. WHEN BRAZIL WAS RELEASED, PEOPLE WALKED OUT OF THEATERS.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gilliam said “Brazil's going to be on my gravestone,” but he also finds it funny that people revere it so much today. “What people don’t remember is half the audience would walk out. Now it’s held as a classic, blah, blah, blah—bulls--t! They were walking out. So I’m used to some of my films not being appreciated at the time.”

11. GILLIAM OFFICIALLY RENOUNCED HIS U.S. CITIZENSHIP IN 2006 BECAUSE OF GEORGE W. BUSH.

Gilliam was born in America but has spent most of his life living in England. In 2006, after George W. Bush was reelected, he finally gave up his American citizenship. In an interview with The Economist, Gilliam joked about Bush: “The situation today is depressing because we kind of predicted it in Brazil back in 1985. A couple of years ago I was considering suing Bush and [Dick] Cheney for infringement of copyright! The best way to control people is to keep them scared.”

12. WITH BRAZIL, GILLIAM POSSIBLY POPULARIZED STEAMPUNK.

The definition of steampunk is taking designs from the 19th-century Victorian era and infusing them with the retro-future, which is basically what Gilliam did with Brazil’s production design. Anna Froula, who co-edited the book The Cinema of Terry Gilliam: It’s a Mad World, attributes the invention of steampunk to the director. “His anarchic ability to make absurdist art on the cheap and expose the guts of any system—often literally through the guts of a cartoon human or plumbing system—informs the playful DIY at the heart of steampunk,” she said. “Just look at the weird cut-outs in his Monty Python animations: the way he would trace classical and Renaissance art in the British library and then combine the illustrations with ducts, images from Edison's early films, and Victorian and World War I imagery to create absurdist humor has developed one way or another in all of his films."

13. COLOR SCHEMES AND THE 1930S PLAYED IMPORTANT ROLES IN THE MOVIE’S DESIGN.

Norman Garwood, Brazil's production designer, purposefully had certain sets be enveloped in grays—such as Sam’s workplace—whereas other moments were filled with colors. “The characters like Sam’s mom, that’s where the beautiful bursts of colors would come insomuch as that was the difference between her life and the other poor people who were in this very colorless bureaucracy,” he explained to Wide Angle/Closeup. Her life was full of color, and I tried to emphasize that with her apartment. The bedroom where [Sam and Jill] finally make out together was just again very beautiful and colorful, but Sam's apartment was again a gray world which was attached to the world in which he worked.”

In developing the look of the film, Garwood took inspiration from magazines of the 1930s and 1940s. “It was these inventions that you would find in the ’30s books, it was almost like ‘the shape of the world to come,’ what people thought armored vehicles would look like in the 21st century, and what airplanes would look like,” Garwood said. “And then it was just taking that and building upon that.”

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25 Dapper Outfit Choices for Fashionable Pets
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Lavishing your furry friends with adorable attire is a benefit of pet ownership that they don't mention on the adoption forms. Whether you prefer practical clothing like sweaters and jackets or statement pieces like bow ties and tutus, these dapper duds are perfect for a howl-iday or "gotcha day" gift, or simply for saying, "Who's the cutest little pupper in pajamas? You are!"

1. CASHMERE DOG SWEATER; FROM $165

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Canine Styles

This classic cable-knit cashmere sweater is a sophisticated look for Fido or Finn. Get it from Canine Styles, a luxury dog emporium in New York City that has plenty of posh and preppy outfits.

Find It: Canine Styles

2. TOGGLE DOG COAT; $85

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Canine Styles

This toggle coat (available in orange, navy, and tan) is as fashionable as it is warm. Made of Melton wool, it has Velcro closures to make getting dressed easy. It's great for long walks in the country.

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3. DOG TUXEDO; FROM $90

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This satin tuxedo is perfect for the canine members of your wedding party, though it will brighten up any other occasion as well. The custom, handmade outfit comes complete with a snappy bow tie.

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4. DOG BELLE DRESS; FROM $45

Dog Belle Dress
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The queen of your castle can feel like a Disney princess in her very own version of Belle's iconic yellow dress from Beauty and the Beast. This ball gown is made from yellow crepe satin with chiffon overlay on the bodice and features hand-painted gold detailing on the skirt. Enchanted rose not included.

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5. POODLE SKIRT OUTFIT FOR DOGS; $26

Rubies Pink Fifties Girl Pet Costume
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What if you could buy a 1950s poodle skirt for your poodle? This retro dress is comprised of a pink poodle skirt, striped bodice, and sequined belt, and comes with a bow headband.

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6. RIBBED CROCHET BUNNY SWEATER; $25

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Your snuggle-bunny will look like a little fancy-pants in this ribbed crochet sweater. Choose from seven colors, including this dashing deep red.

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7. BESPOKE MONOGRAM DOG SWEATER; FROM $155

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Bespoke clothing isn't just for humans: British luxury dog clothing brand Ruby Rufus will make your pooch a custom monogram sweater made with 100 percent Italian cashmere. You can even order it in your dog's favorite color.

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8. HOT PINK DOG TUTU; $17

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Tutus look absolutely adorable on tiny humans and animals alike. If your pooch wants to get in touch with its inner ballerina, then grab this hot pink number from Etsy. Rave reviews are a sure thing.

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9. PINK DOG POLO SHIRT; $35

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This pink polo shirt is perfect for your preppy fur baby. It features not one but a veritable multitude of crocodiles. They'll be the most dapper dog at the country club.

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10. DOG BARN COAT WITH BROWN CORDUROY COLLAR; $85

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When it's time for a walk, your dog will look effortlessly chic in this fancy barn coat. It comes in navy, cranberry, orange, hot pink, and loden and features convenient pockets for anyone with opposable thumbs.

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11. WHITE PET NECK RUFF; $26

Pet Neck Ruff
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Your canine or kitty will look like their painting belongs in London's National Portrait Gallery with this Elizabethan neck ruff.

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12. CHICKEN SWEATER; $25

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Chickens can get cold when they're strutting around outside. A sweater (well, more like sweater vest) for your bird can also help prevent feather picking during molting season. Or, it can simply keep them warm while they stare pensively across a snowy landscape.

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13. PET CIRCLE SCARF; $15

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An infinity scarf is a perfect burst of color on a dreary early morning walk. The proprietor of Mitten Made on Etsy originally designed this wool snood for her miniature Dachshund to help keep her warm during the long, cold winters in Michigan.

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14. FAB DOG TRAVEL RAINCOAT; FROM $18

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This timeless yellow rain slicker will look great on any puppy when it's raining cats and dogs. It's made of 100 percent waterproof nylon shell that keeps fur dry. Bonus: It's perfect for an It Halloween costume.

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15. LACE CAT OR DOG COLLAR; FROM $10

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This handmade, white lace collar is a must-have for fancy felines. It's also embellished with a large rhinestone.

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16. FITWARM PENGUIN PAJAMAS FOR DOGS; FROM $10

Fitwarm Cute Penguin Xmas Dog Pajamas
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Keep your pupper warm on cold winter nights with these penguin PJs. They're great for doggie sleepovers or lazy weekends on the couch watching Netflix.

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17. PLAID CASHMERE DOG COAT; FROM $225

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Your dog will look like a proper gentleman in this smart plaid peacoat. This fine garment is made of cashmere with a faux fur lining and leather buttons, and is a perfect shield against chill and fog.

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18. SATIN PET BOW TIE; FROM $8

Satin Bow Tie for Dog
Etsy

This satin doggie bow tie is perfect for any occasion. It comes in several colors and features a Velcro fastener that makes it easy to attach to a collar. Plus, 10 percent of every sale goes to charity: specifically to SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and Feeding Pets of the Homeless.

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19. RED DOG DRESS; FROM $34

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Your good boy or girl will look red carpet-ready in this elegant gown. The voluminous tulle skirt is to die for, and each bow is embellished with beads. Custom orders are also available.

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20. DOG TIE; FROM $13

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Your pooch will be ready to stun at any black tie event. This tie is designed like a collar, making it easy to dress your four-legged friend. This Etsy store gives back: 10 perfect of all sales are donated to an animal protection association.

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21. NAUTICAL DOG DRESS WITH MATCHING LEASH; $20

Dog sailor dress
BaxterBoo

Perfect for a day on the town or setting sail in a schooner, this is the sailor outfit you never knew your best furry friend needed. This vintage throwback also comes with a matching leash.

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22. TARTAN FLANNEL PET BOW TIE; $5.50

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Your dog or cat will turn heads in this flannel tartan bow tie. It has a convenient elastic loop that slides over your pup's collar.

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23. PUCCI DOG SHIRT; $23

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Only the fanciest dogs wear, err, Pucci. Grab this punny "designer" t-shirt for your pup. This high-quality cotton statement piece is perfect for small breeds.

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24. PINK POLKA DOT AND LACE DOG HARNESS DRESS; $20

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This feminine pink polka dot dress is simply adorable. It features a convenient built-in harness and comes with a matching leash.

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25. PET SWEATER VEST; $6

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Amazon

Your dog or cat will look like an erudite Oxford professor in this sweater vest. Note that the button on the pocket is shaped like a bone.

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20 John Carpenter Quotes About Horror Movies
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Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Though he’s made a variety of movies—from fantasy to science fiction films—John Carpenter will forever be known as a master of horror, thanks in large part to the role he played in reinventing the genre with 1978’s Halloween. To celebrate the award-winning filmmaker’s 70th birthday, we’ve gathered up 20 of his most memorable quotes about Hollywood.

1. ON THE DEFINITION OF HORROR

“Horror is a reaction; it's not a genre.”

—From a 2015 interview with Interview Magazine

2. ON THE RULES OF MOVIEMAKING

“I think the rules of filmmaking are essentially the same as they were since, I guess, The Birth Of A Nation. The way you make movies: long shot, close-up, camera movement, structure—it’s all the same. Not much has changed. But the technology of movies has vastly changed. From 35mm black-and-white to color, from nitrate film to safety film and now into digital—and yet we’re still breaking scenes into master shots and close-ups. The cinema narrative has not changed that much since the silent film.”

—From a 2015 interview with The A.V. Club

3. ON THE TWO TYPES OF HORROR STORIES

“There are two different stories in horror: internal and external. In external horror films, the evil comes from the outside, the other tribe, this thing in the darkness that we don’t understand. Internal is the human heart.”

—From a 2011 interview with Vulture

4. ON THE IMPORTANCE OF NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

“One movie that showed me it was possible to make a low-budget horror movie was Night of the Living Dead (1968). When I saw that, I was like, 'Wow, that's really effective, but it's obviously low budget.' They didn't have any money but they actually made something cool. That was inspirational to me when I was in film school.”

—From a 2015 interview with Interview Magazine

5. ON THE TRUTH ABOUT HOLLYWOOD

“Film buffs who don't live in Hollywood have a fantasy about what it's like to be a director. Movies and the people who make movies have such glamor associated with them. But the truth is, it's not like that. It's very different. It's hard work. If you were suddenly catapulted into that situation—without any training—you would say after it was over: 'Oh, God! You're kidding! You mean, this is what it's like? This is what they put you through?' Yes, as a matter of fact, it is like this—and it's often worse. People have tried to describe the film business, but it's impossible to describe because it's so crazy. You must know your craft inside out and then pick up the rules as you go along.”

—From an essay for Santa Fe Studios

6. ON THE HORROR OF WATCHING HIS OWN MOVIES

“I don't watch my films. I've seen 'em enough after cutting them and putting the music on. I don't ever want to see them again.”

—From a 2012 interview with Entertainment Weekly

7. ON THE EMOTIONAL TOLL MAKING MOVIES CAN TAKE ON A DIRECTOR

“I’ve been feeling old for years and years, and I think the movie business did it to me. At one point I just did movie after movie, and it starts tearing you down physically—emotionally too, if you do one after another. The stress, the emotional exertion of dealing with others. I’ve worked with really great actors and really difficult actors. The difficult ones are no fun. And the style of the movies today have changed a great deal. To me, I’m not a big fan of handheld. That’s just my tastes. That’s a quick fix for low budget. Let the operator direct it! Walk around. That’s how you burn through the pages. And found footage—how many times do we need to do that?”

—From a 2014 interview with Deadline

8. ON WHAT MAKES A GOOD HORROR FILM

“There’s a very specific secret: It should be scary.”

—From a 2015 interview with The A.V. Club

9. ON THE PERCEPTION OF A MOVIEMAKER

“In England, I'm a horror movie director. In Germany, I'm a filmmaker. In the U.S., I'm a bum.”

—From The Films of John Carpenter

10. ON STANDING OUT

“I don't want to be in the mainstream. I don't want to be a part of the demographics. I want to be an individual. I wear each of my films as a badge of pride. That's why I cherish all my bad reviews. If the critics start liking my movies, then I'm in deep trouble.”

—From an essay for Santa Fe Studios

11. ON MAINTAINING CONTROL

“My years in the business have taught me not to worry about what you can’t control.”

—From a 2007 interview with MovieMaker Magazine

12. ON HIS FAVORITE MOVIES

“I have two different categories of favorite films. One is the emotional favorites, which means these are generally films that I saw when I was a kid; anything you see in your formative years is more powerful, because it really stays with you forever. The second category is films that I saw while I was learning the craft of motion pictures.”

—From a 2011 interview with Rotten Tomatoes

13. ON BEING STUCK IN THE 1980S

“Well, They Live was a primal scream against Reaganism of the '80s. And the '80s never went away. They're still with us. That's what makes They Live look so fresh—it's a document of greed and insanity. It's about life in the United States then and now. If anything, things have gotten worse.”

—From a 2012 interview with Entertainment Weekly

14. ON THE IMPORTANCE OF INSTINCT

“I think every director depends primarily on his instincts. That’s what’s got him where he is, what’s going to carry him through the good times and the bad. I generally go with what I instinctually think I can do well.”

—From a 2011 interview with Vulture

15. ON BEING TYPECAST AS A DIRECTOR

“I haven't just made horror. I've made all sorts of movies. There have been fantasy movies, thrillers, horrors, science fiction. In terms of the ultimate reward, listen, man, when I was a kid, when I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a movie director, and I got to be a movie director. I lived my f*cking dream, you can't get better than that. That's the ultimate.”

—From a 2015 interview with Interview Magazine

16. ON THE REALITY OF MONSTERS

“Monsters in movies are us, always us, one way or the other. They’re us with hats on. The zombies in George Romero’s movies are us. They’re hungry. Monsters are us, the dangerous parts of us. The part that wants to destroy; the part of us with the reptile brain. The part of us that’s vicious and cruel. We express these in our stories as these monsters out there.”

—From a 2011 interview with the Buenos Aires Herald

17. ON MOVIES AS A SENSORY EXPERIENCE

“A movie’s not just the pictures. It’s the story and it’s the perspective and it’s the tempo and it’s the silence and it’s the music—it’s all the stuff that’s going on. All the sensory stuff. Sometimes you can get a lot of suspense going in a non-horror film. It all depends. But, look, if there was one secret way of doing a horror movie then everybody would be doing it.”

—From a 2015 interview with The A.V. Club

18. ON THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF HORROR

"Horror is a universal language; we're all afraid. We're born afraid, we're all afraid of things: death, disfigurement, loss of a loved one. Everything that I'm afraid of, you're afraid of and vice versa. So everybody feels fear and suspense. We were little kids once and so it's taking that basic human condition and emotion and just f*cking with it and playing with it. You can invent new horrors."

—From a 2015 interview with Interview Magazine

19. ON THE REMAKE TREND

“It’s a brand new world out there in terms of trying to get advertising. There’s so much going on that if you come up with a movie that people have never heard of they don’t pay attention to it—no matter how good it is. So it becomes, 'Let’s remake something that maybe rings a bell and that you’ve heard of before.' That way, you’re already ahead. I’m flattered, but I understand what’s going on. They’re picking everything to remake. I think they’ve just run down the list of other titles and have finally got to mine.”

—From a 2007 interview with MovieMaker Magazine

20. ON THE LASTING INFLUENCE OF HALLOWEEN

“I didn’t think there was any more story [to Halloween], and I didn’t want to do it again. All of my ideas were for the first Halloween—there shouldn’t have been any more! I’m flattered by the fact that people want to remake them, but they remake everything these days, so it doesn’t make me that special. But Michael Myers was an absence of character. And yet all the sequels are trying to explain that. That’s silliness—it just misses the whole point of the first movie, to me. He’s part person, part supernatural force. The sequels rooted around in motivation. I thought that was a mistake. However, I couldn’t stop them from making sequels. So my agents said, ‘Why don’t you become an executive producer and you can share the revenue?’ But I had to write the second movie, and every night I sat there and wrote with a six-pack of beer trying to get through this thing. And I didn’t do a very good job, but that was it. I couldn’t do any more."

—From a 2014 interview with Deadline

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