The Price of Beauty is Horror: On the Films of John Carpenter

Episode 100 · June 9th, 2021 · 1 hr 23 mins

About this Episode

Central to the tradition of cosmic horror is the suggestion that the ultimate truth about our universe is at once knowable and unthinkable, such that one learns it only at the cost of one's sanity and soul. John Carpenter is one of a handful of horror directors to have successfully ported this idea from literature to cinema. This episode is an attempt to unearth some of the eldritch symbols buried in a selection of Carpenter's apocalyptic works, including Escape from New York, The Thing, They Live,_ In the Mouth of Madness_, and the little known Cigarette Burns.

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John Carpenter films discussed:
The Thing
Cigarette Burns
In the Mouth of Madness
Prince of Darkness
They Live
Escape from New York
Escape from L.A.
Big Trouble in Little China

Other References:

Pascal Laugier (dir.), Martyrs
Srdjan Spasojevic (dir.), A Serbian Film
Weird Studies, Episode 90 on The Owl in Daylight
Roger Corman, American director
Northrup Frye, Words with Power
J. R. R. Tolkien, forward to The Fellowship of the Ring
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri, “Percept, Affect, and Concept” in What is Philosophy
Weird Studies, Episode 72 on the Castrati
Weird Studies, Episode 46, Thomas Ligotti’s Angel
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”
China Mieville, British author
Karlheinz Stockhausen, comments on 9/11
H. P. Lovecraft, Nyarlothotep
H. P. Lovecraft, “The Haunter of the Dark”
Nick Land, Fanged Noumena
Zack Snyder, American director
Haeccaity and Quiddity, philosophical concepts
Samuel Delaney, Dahlgren
Weird Studies, Episode 98 on Exotica
Quentin Meillasoux, After Finitude
Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies