Prince Of Darkness (1987)

DVD Cover (Universal)
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Overall Rating 68%
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Ranked #2,226
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A sinister secret has been kept in the basement of an abandoned Los Angeles church for many years. With the death of a priest belonging to a mysterious sect, another priest opens the door to the basement and discovers a vat containing a green liquid. The priest contacts a group of physics graduate students to investigate it. Unfortunately, they discover that the liquid contains the essence of Satan himself, and they also discover that he will release HIS father - an all-powerful Anti-God! The liquid later comes to life itself, turning some of the students into zombies as the Devil comes forward to release his father. Will these students be able to stop him? --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 20, 2006
When asked to name their favorite John Carpenter film, the most traditional answer is "Halloween", though sometimes "The Thing" and "The Fog" get their mentions as well. When I am asked that question (and when I teach my Horror Psychology class, I am asked that quite a bit), my answer is always the same - "Prince of Darkness". Released in 1987, "Prince of Darkness" was definitely a new kind of horror film. It was abstract in a way that Dario Argento was abstract, or in a way that David Lynch was abstract - it was something that most horror fans hadn't seen before, and it was coming from the man who perfected the genre. What makes "Prince of Darkness" work on so many levels is this sense of dread that follows the film throughout - this sense that something is off, and that at any moment, something could walk out of the shadows and tear you apart.

The film centers around a Los Angeles church, and a large cylinder that is found beneath it, containing a bright green fluid that seems to have a mind of its own. A college professor (Victor Wong), along with a group of his students and a priest (Donald Pleasance), descend to the church, where they plan to conduct scientific research on the cylinder. What they discover is that the cylinder contains the essence of Satan himself, and when they unwittingly unleash the evil, the Dark Lord begins preparing his entrance into the world. Most of the film takes place inside the church. The homeless are the first affected and they begin guarding the church, not letting anyone out or anyone inside. They just stand there - staring into nothing - as if they have been brainwashed. Slowly (very much like the theatre goers in "Demons"), the people inside the church are transformed into the legions of Satan, with only a few people able to attempt to fight off the invasion.

This is one hell of a creepy film. From the music by John Carpenter that adds so much to the pacing of the film, to scenes when one of the girls is giving birth to the Antichrist - every scene in this film makes sense and every scene in this film has a purpose. John Carpenter truly outdid himself with this one and really revitalized the genre once more. The film was a moderate success at the box office, but has found quite a cult following on VHS and DVD. "Prince of Darkness" is the most unusual film John Carpenter has given us, in that it really doesn't follow any patterns or rules. It is one of the most brilliantly crafted horror films ever, and it is very high in my top ten. 10/10.
Zombieboy #1: Zombieboy - added 12/30/2008, 11:46 AM
This is an excellent film. Not just horror film, but film. Smart, well done, and you need a handy little helping of a few different disciplines of physics to really understand it which I felt was very brave. One of my all time favorites. I never touch mirrors!
Chad #2: Chad - added 08/30/2009, 08:07 PM
Not a perfect movie nor is it even a particularly great one, but I can't say that it's a bad one either. I will say this though: the movie itself certainly wasn't Carpenter's best, but it does feature one of his better soundtracks. I think a 7/10 sounds about right.
Jack Desmond #3: Jack Desmond - added 06/25/2013, 12:38 PM
Agree, Chad. Not one of Carpenter's best by any means. No idea how Bluemeanie could rate this a 10. Too bad. Carpenter developed a really unique premise with the whole science/physics approach to evil--only let it dissolve in the final reel to possessed people barfing green junk on other people to turn them into possessed folks. Like a lot of Carpenter's post-Thing work, a movie that started off well and by the end the wheels fall off.
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