USC’s secret scary archives

the University of Southern California (USC) is one of the most prominent colleges in the US. recently, it was added to the list of schools with horror movies in their libraries (scroll back to the March 15 post about Yale University’s collection of cheesy 80’s Horror flicks for more information), thanks to USC Archivist Dino Everett. when he took over the archive in 2009, Mr. Everett, who is a fan of schlocky sci-fi and horror films (these are usually the best kind, because they’re so awful-yet-ridiculously hysterical), wanted to see if any famous alumni had left anything behind upon graduation…and sure enough, he found what he was looking for!


among USC’s distinguished alumni, two names stand out: John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon (1946-2009). the former is known for spooky classics like HalloweenThe Thing, and the surprisingly sensitive Starman. the latter is responsible for bringing audiences one of the most memorable scenes from Alien (which inspired an equally memorable spoof in Spaceballs), as well as penning the screenplay for Total Recall (1990). their early works are housed in the basement of USC’s campus, along with hundreds of other archives dating back to 125 years ago when cinema was just getting started. the discovery of Mr. O’Bannon’s student films is particularly of interest, since he was often overlooked during his lengthy career. but thanks to the preservation and restoration skills of Mr. Everett and the devoted fan-bases of Messieurs Carpenter and O’Bannon, these works will continue to scare up a new crop of film majors for years to come.


Dan O’Bannon on the set of Alien during the late 1970’s


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