Quentin Tarantino Reveals Which Of His Films Was Influenced By A John Carpenter Classic

Quentin Tarantino
Director Quentin Tarantino, 2018. © Juno Films / courtesy Everett Collection

John Carpenter is the greatest of all time. Few filmmakers, horror or otherwise, can match Carpenter’s frankly astonishing body of work. I even think The Ward, Carpenter’s last directorial effort as of this writing, has its merits in a crowded horror space. His influence is profound, shaping everything from body horror to slashers with ease. Few filmmakers can deftly balance genre as well as he can, and I’m not the only one who seems to think so.

As reported by FarOutMagazine via an interview with Premiére Magazine to promote The Hateful Eight (a great movie, by the way), filmmaker Quentin Tarantino espoused the virtues of Carpenter’s The Thing, arguably the great sci-fi/horror movie of all time. Tarantino noted, “If there’s one movie that is most similar in its own way, in terms of the mise en scene and the tone, then it would probably be The Thing.”

Tarantino remarked on the snowbound setting, of course, though additionally went into detail on how both The Thing and The Hateful Eight are, at their core “studies of paranoia,” further explaining how “none of the characters can trust the other characters, yet they’re trapped together.”

In The Hateful Eight, eight strangers (including The Thing’s Kurt Russell) seek refuge from a storm. Over the course of the night, disparate intentions come to light, leading to a tense, classically Western (and classically Tarantino-violent) showdown. In the same interview, Tarantino explained that Carpenter’s influence goes much deeper than just The Hateful Eight, however. He similarly noted influence on Reservoir Dogs, remarking how he hoped to harness The Thing’s “thick” paranoia and transmit it “into the audience.” Having seen The Hateful Eight, I can say he did so successfully.

What do you think of Quentin Tarantino’s comments? Where else have you seen John Carpenter’s perennial influence beyond the horror space? Let me know over on Twitter @Chadiscollins, and to combat the summer heat, consider that it might be time for a The Thing rewatch.

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