John Carpenter Talks Basketball, #MeToo And His Music


Halloween is in theaters now. Get your tickets here!

Pitch: Re-do ‘70s television mainstay The Partridge Family with John Carpenter, his son Cody Carpenter, and godson Daniel Davies. The Halloween creator seems revitalized lately, and no small part of the credit for his current upswing is due to his current career evolution as a guy who takes music on the road with his family.

Playing live music may seem like a natural leap for a film composer whose scores are as influential as his movies. But at 70, after a long semi-retirement in which basketball and video games became his major pastimes (he’s waiting impatiently for Fallout 76), walking out onto the stage was a leap of faith.

We spoke to the Halloween creator in early August. The bulk of that conversation, focused on the new Halloween and Carpenter’s other film work, is available in the Halloween issue of the Birth.Movies.Death magazine. But our conversation ranged into more topics — here’s Carpenter on making music with family, the stories of #MeToo, and, of course, Los Angeles basketball.

What's the experience been like working with Cody and Daniel, as you've toured and created new music with them?

It's great! There is a lot of trust; each one of us brings a different talent to the mix. We complement each other a great deal. We're telling each other what we think, “well this doesn't work,” and “that works better” and “can you do this?” So it's great. It's great.

You've done a couple of live tours now. Did playing live change your relationship to your own music?

Oh, well, yeah. This all gave me another career late in my life. I'm 70 now. I suppose there are people a lot older, but that's getting up there, and here I am going out and playing music with my kid. It's just unbelievably great. Can't say anything bad about any of that.

Were you surprised by the audience response?

Well, it gratified me. Everybody seems to really dig the show. They dig the music from the movies, and the new music from the Lost Themes album. It all couldn't be better. It's a great time of life right now.


Discussing Laurie Strode in David Gordon Green’s Halloween, Carpenter said, “She's a warrior but she's wounded – talk about #MeToo, she's had it all. She's a survivor.” That prompted this question. 

You mentioned the #MeToo movement. As you've seen these stories come out, have any of those stories connected to things you saw or that you heard about?

No! I mean not really. I was unaware of this stuff. Oh God. Horrible things. I just can't believe some of it went on like that. But no, I didn't know anything like that was going on. Not really. No.

Was that because you were kind of outside of the mainstream most of the time, doing your own thing? Did that insulate you?

It did, and... I don't know, The use of power to coerce is just stunning to me. I still can't figure out what, and why – what is going on there? This predatory behavior, it was stunning. Some of the bad guys have been punished, I don't know that all of them have been. Anyway, that’s a whole other topic.


Finally, I had to ask Carpenter about the current evolution of the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s become more of a Golden State Warriors fan, but with years of Lakers fandom behind him, the idea of LeBron James coming to town was too big not to talk about.

The last thing is also important – I'm really curious to know what LeBron James going to the Lakers means for you.

First of all, right now, LeBron James has become a hero of mine, just in terms of society and what's going on. His school is just unbelievable. I had a few problems with LeBron when he left Cleveland and went to the Heat – pretty rough stuff in there. That was hard to take. Now, he's coming to the Lakers and it's going to be really interesting to see him with these rookies. That'll be fascinating.