With the modern, 24-hour news cycle — especially within the comparatively niche realm of “entertainment news” — it’s inevitable, if not understandable, that news outlets will occasionally get things wrong. Sometimes it’s an April Fool’s Day joke that goes over people’s heads, sometimes it’s a juicy bit of gossip that gets repeated as fact. Sometimes it’s just an honest mistake mixed with sloppy reporting.
This is how, for instance, I excitedly told everybody I met that Marvel was buying out Fox… three years before it actually happened. This is how Morgan Freeman seems to die every April 1st. If it’s something you expect to happen — even want to happen — mixed with a thin veneer of respectability, it makes the rounds until somebody savvier than the errant reporter who spread the (pardon the phrase) fake news realizes the mistake and makes the arduous, uphill climb to set the record straight.
The latest such mistaken reporting was just bizarre, though: by any standard. Instead of wishing him a happy birthday, Rotten Tomatoes reported that horror director John Carpenter had died: gone the way of such greats as George Romero, Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper. Thankfully, however, he was alive and well and took to Twitter to correct the error. He — very much alive and kicking — announced “to Rotten Tomatoes, despite how it appears, I’m actually not dead.”
Although best known for his 1978 horror film Halloween — which ushered in the modern era of the Slasher — John Carpenter is one of the most talented and versatile directors still around. In addition to Halloween, he has been responsible for directing The Fog, Escape from New York, The Thing and Assault on Precinct 13. He created two of the most iconic episodes of the horror anthology Masters of Horror, including what is, for my money, that series’ crowning achievement: Cigarette Burns.
Carpenter has directed a feature length adaptation of the Stephen King story Christine and, just last year, a dialog-less short of the same property. He’s done everything from genre-redefining classics to subversive parodies to bizarre cult classics: all while maintaining a fiercely original style and immaculate standard of quality.
These last two years have been so impossibly hard to bear — especially when it’s come to beloved entertainers leaving us just when their unique vision of the world was needed the most — it would have seemed par for the course. Thankfully this is one filmmaker who’s still got a few more ghost stories in him.