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John Carpenter Visits His Past on DVD

12 Aug, 2002 By: John Gaudiosi

Director John Carpenter has been busy lately working on new variations of old projects.

The director has a special edition version of The Fog hitting DVD Aug. 27 and a special edition of Escape From New York (both from MGM Home Entertainment) being readied to launch day and date early in 2003 with Hurricane Entertainment's new “John Carpenter's Snake Plissken” comic book series -- starring Escape's main character.

A feature anime film starring Snake (and featuring the voice of Kurt Russell), novels and a video game franchise also are in the works. In addition, Carpenter's 1982 sci-fi horror film, The Thing, has a video game sequel, also called The Thing, shipping for PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC in late August.

“I'm a huge fan of DVD,” said Carpenter. “It's the best of both worlds. You get to see the crispest version of the movie with the best sound, as well as a disc packed with extra materials. I only wish DVD existed when I was in film school, because these extras allow you to get into the filmmakers' minds and understand where they were coming from when they were making their movies.”

Carpenter provided an introduction to The Fog Special Edition DVD ($19.98) and was involved in the two featurettes: “Tales from the Mist -- Inside The Fog” and “Fear on Film -- Inside The Fog,” the original 1980 documentary. The director also provided audio commentary with producer Debra Hill. Other DVD features include a “storyboard to film” comparison, outtakes, a photo gallery, original advertising, a collectible four-page booklet including liner notes by Carpenter, and digitally enhanced 5.1 audio.

“The documentary that's on the DVD is pretty complicated. It does a good job of giving fans an inside look at how we made the movie,” Carpenter said.

The director is excited about the return of one of his favorite characters, Snake Plisskin, who will return in a new DVD in 2003, which will include cast interviews with everyone but Ernest Borgnine, a director's commentary, deleted scenes and other special features.

“We recently found 10 minutes of the film's intro that we had shot in Atlanta, which we cut from the film and then lost,” said Carpenter. “After we found the three-quarter-inch videocassette and Debra Hill found the sound stems in my storage, we cleaned up the picture and then Kurt Russell and I went in and provided commentary for the scene, which will be on the new DVD as a standalone deleted scene.”

Carpenter has played the new video game sequel, The Thing, which will ship this year, the 20th anniversary of his film.

“The game is very unique because in addition to providing action for the player, there's the constant element of fear and trust that you deal with, just like the characters in the film had to deal with,” Carpenter said.

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