Four ’80s favourites from the cult director are coming to 4K UHD in April, featuring striking new artwork by UK graphic designer and pop culture artist Matt Ferguson. STACK asked him about this dream project.

What was your reaction when you were first approached by StudioCanal to work on the John Carpenter project?

I was very young when I started drawing, probably around about 7 or 8. I went on holiday with my family and saw an artist drawing and painting views from a beach. I was hooked and I have never looked back. I work nearly 100 per cent digital nowadays, but when I was younger I liked to sketch with pencil and pen.

What was your reaction when you were first approached by StudioCanal to work on the John Carpenter project?

 I was elated! John Carpenter is my favourite director so I instantly said yes. His classic films are all so well made and his compositions are second to none.

How long did the project take from conception to completion?

It was a couple of months’ work with lots of back and forth. Unlike a usual job where I would just produce a poster, for this one I had to create all the DVD and Blu-ray packaging and also reformat the posters to different sizes and languages for different countries.

What’s your favourite John Carpenter film, and why?

 My favourite Carpenter film is Escape from New York. For two reasons. Firstly, it was the first of his films I ever saw, and secondly, I just love the worldbuilding in that film. Every element from story to casting to music, is so well thought out. It’s a really stripped-back and effective film.

How did you conceptualise each of the four designs – what elements from the films resonate most strongly with you?

THE FOG
I wanted to use the lighthouse for sure, and I felt I could go abstract and have the pirates looming out of the fog as it felt way more menacing.

ESCAPE FROM New York
This one was all about the setting, so I wanted to make the most out of that and have Snake placed within the confines of the city.

PRINCE OF DARKNESS
In a similar way to The Fog, I had a large character and the iconic location from the film. Although with this one it was the hero of the piece, being Donald Pleasance’s character. So it’s him squaring off against the evil in the church.

THEY LIVE
They Live is all about the subliminal billboards and the aliens mixed in with the crowd. I pared back the crowds to show how it’s just a mass of people who are oblivious to the alien threat, with our heroes in the middle of the street being the main focus..

Did you receive any feedback from Carpenter himself on the designs?

 I didn’t, sadly. I know someone who had them signed by him and they said he really liked them.

How do the new 4K restorations look, and is there a standout title in terms of video and audio?

 They look awesome! I went to see Escape from New York in the theatre and it’s never looked better. The standout for me in terms of picture quality is They Live. The stark black and white scenes look incredible on the remaster.

Do you have an all-time favourite movie poster?

 My favourite movie poster artist is John Alvin, and out of his work my absolute favourite is probably his classic E.T. poster. It’s so simple and elegant.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Prepare for an Escape From New York remake.

As is the way with Hollywood, a remake of John Carpenter’s masterful Escape from New York is being planned. But there’s some good news.

Melbourne’s Leigh Whannell, who’s been responsible for the Saw and Insidious franchises, as well as the fab Upgrade, has signed on to write the thing. There’s no word as yet as to whether he’ll also direct, but apparently it could happen.

Stepping into the shoes of Carpenter is a big ask, and one that we’re sure many would rather just not happen. But at least it looks like there’ll be somebody adapting it who’s got suss. Also, Carpenter will be involved in an executive producer capacity.

Not surprisingly, there’s no potential casting news as yet.

According to THR, who first broke the story, “one of Whannell’s goals is to avoid the bloated tentpole remake path that afflicted the reboots of other 1980s-era movies such as Robocop and Total Recall.”

Phew!

Whannell is set to be one busy bloke, as word hit just last week that he’ll be bringing us a remake of classic horror flick The Invisible Man.

Delve into Leigh Whannell’s movie history at JB Hi-Fi.