John Carpenter Calls Rob Zombie a “Piece of Shit”
WHOA! Did you hear that just now? What was it? An earthquake? An explosion? No: ’twas the sound of Rob Zombie’s heart breaking into a million pieces as one of the greatest horror filmmakers of all time (and presumably one of Zombie’s idols) slams him in public.
Loudwire reports that legendary director/producer/writer/composer John Carpenter recently spoke to students at the New York Film Academy, during which time he had this to say about Zombie:
“He lied about me. He said I was very cold to him when he told me he was going to make it. Nothing could be further from the truth. I said, ‘Make it your own movie, man. This is yours now. Don’t worry about me.’ I was incredibly supportive. Why that piece of shit lied, I don’t know. He had no reason to.”
Which would be insulting enough, but then Carpenter also joined the chorus of voices that think Zombie really fucked up his remake of Halloween (the original of which was Carpenter’s breakthrough film, duh):
“I thought he took away the mystique of the story by explaining too much about [Michael Myers]. I don’t care about that. He’s supposed to be a force of nature, he’s supposed to be almost supernatural, and he was too big.”
Insofar as Carpenter’s critique of Zombie’s Halloween goes, well… yeah. He’s right. I think this is pretty much the accepted thinking at this point. Michael Myers was so scary in the original Halloween because he was an average kid from an average family who turned into a homicidal maniac for no discernible reason. Zombie’s version of the same character comes from an abusive white trash family and kills when he’s tired of being picked on and doesn’t stop explaining himself until his mommy dies (by which point no real further explanation for his motivations is needed). Zombie basically shows a burnt cigarette butt and says, “See, it’s burnt because someone used fire to smoke it!!!” And the audience is like, “Yeah, dude. That’s what happens.” As I said in my recent review of his new movie, 31: Zombie does not really seem to understand the genre he professes to love.
With regards to Carpenter’s assessment of Zombie as a person… well, I don’t know. I’ve never met either of these guys, I have no idea what happened behind the scenes. That being said, Carpenter is about as chill as chill gets when it comes to people remaking his movies. This is Carpenter speaking to Collider in 2011:
“There are two kinds of remakes of my films – the good kind, and the bad kind. They just did a prequel to The Thing. That’s the bad kind because I don’t have any rights in it, so they don’t pay me. If they do Escape from New York or They Live, or any of the other movies that I wrote and have a more primal position in, I get a check. Something that I’ve wanted to do all my life is to make money doing nothing.”
Carpenter has also spoken at length about the joys of being able to sit around smoking weed and playing video games with his son. In other words, he doesn’t seem like the kind of person who gets angry and talks smack about people for no particular reason.
I’ll be curious to see if Zombie issues a retort.