John Carpenter hasn’t directed a movie since 2010’s The Ward, and in recent years has shifted his creative output almost entirely towards his musical career. It’s not an entirely unexpected swerve, especially considering that he composed the scores to many of his very best movies (including, of course, Halloween), but it is very, very delightful. And today he, of course, announced a new album called Lost Themes III: Alive After Death (composed, once again, with Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies), which will be out via Sacred Bones Records on February 5, 2021. But don’t worry, this being Halloween and all, the gang has released a new single, “Weeping Ghost,” to put you in the super-spooky mood.
If you’ve never listened to one of Carpenter’s albums, you really should. The initial Lost Themes album came out in 2015 and is absolutely wonderful; it definitely conjures vibes of his old film scores but with modern flourishes that are undoubtedly courtesy of his son and godson’s contributions. With songs like “Abyss” and “Purgatory,” it leaned into its horror movie roots and created a singular, unquestionably seductive vibe. Lost Themes II followed a year later and was more of the macabre, synth-laden same (in the best way possible). And since then, the trio did their spin on a handful of Carpenter’s classic themes for 2017’s Anthology: Movie Themes 1974 – 1998 and composed the score for director David Gordon Green’s Halloween reboot/legacy sequel in 2018 (“The Shape Hunts Allyson” is easily one of the best, most bone-chilling cues in the entire 40-year franchise). They also regularly toured; I saw them a few Halloweens ago in Los Angeles and it was a total blast, with Carpenter (who turned 72 this year) growling things at the crowd like, “When you’re driving home tonight, be careful, Christine is on the road!” And then launching into an updated suite from his 1983 masterpiece, while clips from the movie played behind him. (Remember going to concerts?)
Needless to say, we are very excited about this new album. “Skeleton” was a banger and “Weeping Ghost” is even better (you can listen below). Oddly, “Skeleton’s” grade-A B-side “Unclean Spirit” is not included in the album proper but is, and it cannot be overstated, still amazing. Any and all Carpenter music is required Halloween-time listening – and beyond.