John Carpenter: The Collection (DVD)

Should you for some pathetic reason not own any John Carpenter films on digital disc, then you simply need to buy this set. Featuring seven of the seminal director's classic tales of tongue-in-cheek horror, John Carpenter: The Collection serves as a prime reminder of how iconic a filmmaker the guy was back in the late 70s and early 80s.

John Carpenter CollectionFirst up is Halloween — arguably the finest slasher of all time. Before Freddy and Jason had us wincing with each slice and dice, it was Michael Myers who was making everyone mess their slacks. The timeless tale of a mindless unstoppable killer, the film still resonates with nerve-shredding energy even today. Also in the set is Carpenter's awe-inspiring The Thing. A chilling tale of an alien attack in Antarctica, it plays host to some stunning performances and some nightmarishly good effects — as does the third disc in the set, The Fog. Seeing as the recent remake was so craptacular, you may forget just how amazing Carpenter's original was. The story of a town haunted by malevolent pirate ghosts, it may sound bleeding stupid but between slick camerawork, a haunting score and, again, sound performances, this is about as unnerving as horror gets.

Also featured in the set are the action epics Assault On Precinct 13 and Escape From New York. A pair of complete and utter classics that still hold up well today, they've spawned sequels, remakes and copycats thanks to Johnny C's deft direction and keen sense of vision.

Still, if that wasn't quite enough awesomeness to cram into one measly box, it's lucky that the set also includes They Live. Bolstered by a memorable performance from grappling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, They Live is another entirely memorable cracker thanks to its nutty plot revolving around aliens taking over the world via subliminal messaging. In fact, the only film that really drags the set down in any way is Carpenter's only-okay Prince Of Darkness. Still, it could have been worse — it could have included the awful Vampires. Nevertheless, it's a stunning set that demands attention. Think of it as Eighties Cinema 101.

EXTRAS **** A stunning plethora of extras includes commentaries, featurettes, trailers, deleted scenes, isolated scores, photo galleries, interviews and loads more. Lovely stuff.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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