Every John Carpenter Horror Movie, Ranked (According to IMDb)

Many of John Carpenter’s best horror films are counted as some of the best horror films of all time. From Halloween to me livethe director’s heyday saw him create one of the most important genres of filmmaking only for his career to decline.


A look at each of John Carpenter’s horror films and its scores on IMDb shows the ups and downs of one of the most widely respected film directors of the 20th century and how even the masters of the genre can have a few duds to their name.

Today display

11/11 Mars Ghost (2001) – 4.9

Available to stream on Tubi

Melanie leads the charge in Ghosts of Mars

Mars ghosts It is John Carpenter’s worst horror film and his worst film overall, according to IMDb voters. While the bottom end of Carpenter’s movie can be rated in different ways by fans, it should come as no surprise that this one ended up in last place on IMDb.

Related: 10 Underrated John Carpenter Movies, According to Reddit

The film’s plot and production design are intrinsically low-budget sci-fi fare, however Mars ghosts It sadly lacks enough of the finesse and charm that make films like Carpenter’s Escape from New York so lovely. The story is confusingly framed, the world it’s set in is underdeveloped, and despite a great cast, the characters fail to make an impression. Ice Cube has a lot of charisma as an actor, but he fails to transform into the Snake Plissken type for this movie. Likewise, Carpenter was known for his filmmaking skills, but he couldn’t quite fit the mix of noir, action, horror, sci-fi, and Western tropes required for this story about cops and outlaws fighting possessed colonists on Mars.

10/11 Wing (2010) – 5.5

Available for rent on Google Play

Amber Heard in The Ward (2010)

John Carpenter’s last film to date, and the only one he has directed after critical and box office failure Mars ghostsIt wasn’t as poorly received as the director’s previous film but it wasn’t the return to form his fans had always hoped for.

Set almost entirely within a women’s ward of a 1960s psychiatric hospital, the film is an interesting parallel to Carpenter’s thingBecause it is the only film in his filmography with a predominantly female cast. However, with none of the kind of grotesque, grotesque ideas that made his previous films famous and a somewhat conventional twist, The Haunted Suite’s psychological horror fails to compel even longtime fans of the director’s films.

9/11 Village of the Damned (1995) – 5.6

Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video

The Glowing-Eyed Children of the Village of the Damned 1995

While the original 1960’s adaptation of John Wyndham’s novel Midwich Cuckoo It’s rated extremely highly on IMDb, but John Carpenter’s new film isn’t, which is unfortunate given its strong film roots, the fact that it was the last theatrical release of Christopher Reeve’s career, and Carpenter’s film from the previous year was only rated as one of the best. what he has at all.

The classic story sees a town fall under the control of a group of creepy kids, who were mysteriously born with psychic powers. Alas, like the wardIt had too few of Carpenter’s hallmarks to feel like one of his best films.

8/11 Vampires (1998) – 6.1

Available to stream on Netflix

The Vampire Hunters (1998)

A rare blow to Carpenter’s later directing career, Vampires It stars James Woods as the leader of a group of vampire hunters who must hunt down and defeat a powerful opponent who has killed most of his team.

Related: 10 John Carpenter Horror Movies, Ranked

Although the characters lack the kind of originality seen in John Carpenter’s best films, there is plenty of gore to keep the audience entertained throughout, and the film was well received enough to spawn a direct-to-video sequel.

7/11 Christine (1983) – 6.7

Available to stream on Pluto TV and Hulu

Keith Gordon sits in Christine's car

Adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name, Christine It’s not one of the most famous works by any of the horror icons, but it’s considered one of the best movies based on King’s work.

The titular Cursed Vehicle captures the eye of a bullied young man as he longs to mature into someone close to his own. Her dark influence on his development makes for an interesting character, but the real source of horror comes when Christine actually comes back to life and kills herself. Making a car intimidating is no easy feat, and Carpenter’s skill at atmosphere isn’t in vain here.

6/11 Prince of Darkness (1987) – 6.7

Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video

Donald Pleasence and Victor Wong in Prince of Darkness

John Carpenter fused scientific and supernatural themes with this totally unique Siege movie that sees a group of researchers studying what they believe to be the physical manifestation of Satan as they are cornered by an army of people possessed by the entity.

Many of these same themes and ideas would go to Carpenter Mars ghosts Years later and with much less success, but they have endured as really creepy concepts in the Prince of DarknessThanks to the limited scope that Carpenter was still applying to his films at this point in his career. The film was the spiritual successor to thing and the second entry in what would become known as the director’s Apocalypse trilogy, so while it may be the lowest rated of the three, it should still be considered a John Carpenter fan staple.

5/11 The Fog (1980) – 6.8

Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video

A ghost in the fog with glowing eyes in The Fog (1980)

Although John Carpenter did not return to directing Halloween IIHe re-teamed with Jamie Lee Curtis to make one of his landmark films of the 1980s. the fog It tells an original ghost story set in a sleepy California seaside town, about a group of vengeful spirits who only appear in a strange, supernatural mist.

It still uses the low budget approach that made the original Halloween such success, the fog A hit rare in Carpenter’s career it was acclaimed by audiences upon release as well as by subsequent generations who improved its status and turned it into a cult film. A remake of the film was released in 2005 but it was not well received, although it was still financially successful.

4/11 In the Mouth of Madness (1994) – 7.1

Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video

Sam Neill looks at a movie screen in In The Mouth Of Madness (1994)

Voters on IMDb ranked it as the last truly great film in John Carpenter’s career as a director so far, in the mouth of madness It was the final film of the Apocalypse trilogy and lives up to the wild ideas and designs shown in the other entries.

The plot follows an insurance investigator as he searches for a missing horror author and a final manuscript. The Mind-Bending Journey shows clear references to H.P. Lovecraft’s work as well as the horror style popularized by Stephen King, though it doesn’t really mock or comment on these styles, rather it has come to be considered one of John Carpenter’s styles. Best horror movies for their progressive, surreal atmosphere.

3/11 They Live (1988) – 7.2

Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video

And still they live

A biting satire of 1980s consumerism that seems ahead of its time even today, live The film revolves around a conspiracy of aliens in Los Angeles that can only be seen when wearing special sunglasses.

The movie is funny and insightful, and contains one of the best fight scenes in movie history. The fact that the story’s message about the relationship between capitalism and media has become more relevant to everyday life since its release is indicative of Carpenter’s skills as a writer and director.

2/11 Halloween (1978) – 7.7

Available to stream on Redbox

Halloween 1978 Jamie Lee Curtis

One of the most influential horror films of all time and one of the most important in the evolution of the slasher genre, Halloween It not only started a franchise but a bunch of imitators who have long-running franchises of their own.

Related: Where to watch every Halloween movie online

The simple story of an escaped criminal, Michael Myers, and his murder in his old hometown has fascinated audiences since its release thanks to its haunting atmosphere and mysterious killer. Sequels and remakes have been consistent since the early 1980s, with a new sequel trilogy starring the original film’s protagonist, Jamie Lee Curtis, ending in 2022 with The end of Halloween. As is often the case with horror franchises, none of them rank as high as the first film.

1/11 The Thing (1982) – 8.2

Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video

MacReady explores the Norwegian base in The Thing

Critically criticized upon release, John Carpenter thing It has since been widely re-evaluated and is now widely considered one of the best horror films ever made.

The story follows a group of men at a research station in Antarctica as they are slowly captured by an alien being capable of transforming itself into any living thing. Grotesque effects and a cold tone such as the weather contributed to the film’s initial failure but are now considered characteristics of a genre masterpiece.

Next: The 20 Best Sci-Fi Horror Movies (That Mix Genres Perfectly)

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