**/**** Image A- Sound B+
starring Kurt Russell, Stacy Keach, Steve Buscemi, Cliff Robertson
screenplay by John Carpenter & Debra Hill & Kurt Russell
directed by John Carpenter
by Bryant Frazer The 1990s were unkind to John Carpenter: The stock market was booming, there was a Democrat in the White House, and the American horror film was at a low ebb. That was the decade when Carpenter--arguably the best B-movie auteur in the world during the 1980s and certainly the most audacious--lost his mojo. Exhausted from the experience of making two genre classics (They Live and Prince of Darkness) back to back, Carpenter took a couple of years off from filmmaking. When he was ready to work again, he considered making The Exorcist III but eventually settled on an ill-fated Chevy Chase vehicle, the $40 million sci-fi adaptation Memoirs of an Invisible Man, that torpedoed his attempted return to big-budget filmmaking. Carpenter tore through three more projects in the next three years--the Showtime horror anthology Body Bags, the Lovecraft riff In the Mouth of Madness, and a Village of the Damned remake--before deciding to pillage his own back catalogue with a sequel to the dystopian Escape from New York.