Film

Games: Horror legend John Carpenter happier behind the console than the camera these days

Neil McGreevy

NEVER happier than when directing a gory action sequence with one hand while the other tinkles the score out of an old synthesizer, John Carpenter is a stone-cold horror legend - but it's his love of videogames that has Twitter chattering.

Setting the template for slasher flicks with 1978's Halloween, 1980's The Fog kicked off the most successful decade of Carpentry. Things went downhill after '88's They Live, though, and it's safe to say the horror maestro's best years are behind him (what 74-year-old's aren't?).

Semi-retired from movies these days, Carpenter prefers to tour with his music in a mash-up of synth-noodling and dad dancing - yet it seems his sunset years are wedded to videogames.

The horror legend famously loves Sonic the Hedgehog, and in 2001 claimed that playing Destiny 2 kept him "out of trouble".

Carpenter regularly lets fans know what's tickling his elderly fancy on Twitter, and recently said: "Halo Infinite is a fun shooter. Immense, beautiful production design. Best of the Halo series."

This pleased the developers no end, and their founder replied, "Wow. Thank you for spending your creative time in our world."

Other Carpenter tweets include, "Assassin's Creed Valhalla is a return to excellence in the franchise. Massive open world, beautifully designed, with great gameplay. Incredible game."

He called Dishonored "fabulous" and 2017's Prey "an engrossing, somewhat complex sci-fi action game. Really fun to play, it drags you in and doesn't really let go."

A man of taste, Carpenter's take on my game of the year for 2014, Alien Isolation, was: "Fun game. Lots of hiding from the alien and out of control androids. Sweet."

Of course, some of his movies have suffered the videogame treatment. Earlier titles released to little fanfare, from 1983's Halloween for the Atari 2600 to 1987's Commodore and Spectrum effort, Big Trouble in Little China.

More successful was The Thing. The pant-soiling tale of a shape-shifting alien run amok on an Antarctic base hit PlayStation and Xbox in 2002, complete with a Carpenter cameo. The stomach-churning creepfest tapped into the isolation and paranoia that made the film so memorable, with fans begging for a remake.

In 2011, Carpenter narrated creepy blaster FEAR 3 while consulting on its storyline and directing cut-scenes.

But even games that Carpenter had nowt to do with bear his stamp. Raiden, one of the original Mortal Kombat characters, is based on the straw-hatted baddies from Big Trouble in Little China while Solid Snake, star of the Metal Gear Solid Series, is an obvious take on Kurt Russell's gruff, eye-patched Snake Plissken from Escape From New York.

While he no longer spends much time behind a movie camera, thanks to Twitter, gamers can at least enjoy the ramblings of the greatest Carpenter since Jesus.

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