John Carpenter’s First Film Discovered!

Captain Voyeur is reportedly very similar to his later horror classic, Halloween.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

Fun Fact! The only John Carpenter film to ever win an Academy Award – and one of only two nominations total, the other being Starman's Best Actor nod in 1984 – was a short film called The Resurrection of Broncho Billy, which Carpenter co-wrote, edited and composed the music for (although technically it was directed by James R. Rokos). It won an Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Film in 1970, and like all student films made at The University of Southern California's prestigious film school, the rights are owned by that institution. It turns out that they also own Carpenter's first directorial effort, called Captain Voyeur, which was recently discovered in their vault.

So rare and unknown is Captain Voyeur that it's not even listed on Carpenter's IMDb page, unlike many of his other early short films like Gorgo vs. Godzilla, Terror from Space and Revenge of the Colossal Beasts. Although those last two films were technically shot earlier, Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story, has determined that Captain Voyeur is actually the master of horror's first student film, which makes it quite a find, regardless.

The eight minute-long, black and white short tells the story of a computer programmer who stalks one of his female co-workers, and eventually dons a mask and tries to kill her. Those who have seen the film have acknowledged distinct similarities to his 1978 horror classic Halloween, like the part in which the stalker places his glasses on top of his mask. 

Captain Voyeur is currently being restored by USC which, again owns the rights. There had apparently been rumors that Carpenter had stolen prints of his films from their archives, but either that's not true or he simply missed one of the big ones.

CraveOnline will be back with more news on John Carpenter's student films, because apparently they live!