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Beyond Halloween: Five Horror Films by John Carpenter

October 26–28

"I think the universe is claustrophobic. Life is claustrophobic. Things are pressing in [...] it's a view that you come away from childhood with [...] I fear absorption by other people, of my personality. This goes way back to childhood. It's sort of like 'the thing.' I don't want to be absorbed by anyone." —John Carpenter, in a 2014 conversation with Post Script's Ric Gentry

The world is always beginning to end in John Carpenter's horror films. What might come across as a feeling, or vague possibility, in others’ films, materializes as a slowly dawning reality in Carpenter's. His protagonists all struggle to make sense of otherwise unfathomable scenarios, where societal rules and natural laws are being lethally rewritten before our eyes. Prized possessions no longer belong to us, roads traveled no longer lead to where we thought they would, and those we thought we knew no longer resemble themselves.

This series highlights five Carpenter horror films, all of which are rich with his signature gallows’ humor and pragmatic humanism. Each film finds a new and unnerving way to ask a question that Carpenter's post-Halloween chillers have all posed: What does Evil look like and how do you survive it? Inevitably, the answers to that question reflect Carpenter's need to remain true to himself. The names above the marquee may vary, but all five films bear John Carpenter's signature.

Organized by guest curator Simon Abrams