How The Strangers: Prey At Night Pays Tribute To Halloween And John Carpenter

The Strangers prey at night

The horror genre has an undeniably timeless quality to it, and horror fans tend to have a strong affinity for nostalgia. Now it sounds like horror insiders feel the same way, as The Strangers: Prey at Night seems to show a clear fondness for the memorable work of John Carpenter. In fact, in a recent interview with CinemaBlend, Prey at Night director Johannes Roberts explained that his approach to the indirect sequel was based on the desire to make his own John Carpenter film in the vein of Halloween. Roberts elaborated:

My hero is John Carpenter and I wanted to make a John Carpenter movie. I very much approached the story the way he does. I mean Halloween, it's this guy. Is he real? What is that? Is he supernatural? The end when he disappears. How? All that kind of stuff. To me, that is the way I sort of approach horror. In those terms maybe more than Texas Chainsaw Massacre or maybe slightly those kinds of movies. Last House on the Left. I took my references from Halloween and from Christine and from The Fog. So it's slightly different.

John Carpenter has become known as the master of the horror genre in the years since his most iconic films debuted, and his influence is all over The Strangers: Prey at Night. As Johannes Roberts explained to CinemaBlend with those remarks, Prey at Night plays into the formula pioneered by Carpenter's work on Halloween by keeping an aura of mystery around the three killers. Moreover, the set pieces and overall style of the camerawork is meant to invoke the mysterious, pulpy 1970s cinema that instantly conjures memories of Halloween, Christine, and even Carpenter's more action-oriented work on Assault on Precinct 13.

In fact, both films even employ similar scare tactics. One such example is the method of having the killer stare at the victims. Check out a comparison to Halloween's Michael Myers to see how Prey at Night pays homage to the slasher classic.

The Strangers Halloween michael myers

Of course, none of this means that The Strangers: Prey at Night shies away from some of the gorier and more intense elements of the grounded and brutal films like Wes Craven's Last House on the Left and Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre. When deaths do occur this movie, they're grisly in the way that many modern horror fans have come to expect from the genre. Having said that, the core DNA of Prey at Night still owes the bulk of its existence to the tone and style pioneered by John Carpenter. Carpenter recently admitted that he doesn't watch many modern horror movies, but it sounds like he should give The Strangers: Prey at Night a shot.

The Strangers: Prey at Night is now in theaters, so take a look at CinemaBlend's full review of the horror sequel and check it out for yourself. Looking ahead to the rest of this year, make sure to keep an eye on all of our most anticipated horror movies, and watch out for the latest installment in John Carpenter's horror world when David Gordon Green's Halloween makes its theatrical debut on October 19.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.