November 9, 2011

John Carpenter Emerges from the Archives

Legendary Horror Director’s Student Film Found

All SCA students know John Carpenter’s canonical horror film Halloween. A masked man descends on a quiet, suburban home to kill his former babysitter. In the coming years, thanks to the efforts of SCA’s archivists, future generations will know John Carpenter’s first student film Captain Voyeur which features a masked man following his co-worker home to spy on her.

A screenshot from Captain Voyeur
SCA archivist Dino Everett recently discovered a print of the student film in the Hugh M. Hefner Motion Picture Archives.
“There’s been a rumor that John Carpenter took his films which is why we didn’t have a record of them,” said Everett. “I knew there was no way it was true because he’s such a professional but it probably became a legend because he directs horror films. I didn’t believe it at all so I went digging.”
“I found the first clue in the equipment receipts of all things. I found a film called Captain Voyeur with the name Carpenter on it.”
Everett went to Iron Mountain, the company that stores the archived films for SCA. At first it seemed like Captain Voyeur was going to be a class exercise with no title cards to identify it as Carpenter’s work but, eventually, a hand written title card came up.
“About a third of the way though the film, there was this hand written, ‘Written and Directed by John Carpenter,’” continued Everett. “You couldn’t ask for a better representation of a first student film.”
Captain Voyeur has many of the themes as Carpenter’s later work including masked faces, obsession and even comedic set pieces.
“In my head I hoped it would be a magical tie to Halloween,” said Everett. “He’s not a killer but he’s a voyeur. In a sense, it shows what Michael Myers was in the beginning of Halloween. The two films make a natural line.”
For more information, please read the Hollywood Reporter’s Coverage at: