We're about half way through the Underrated Series and have finally reached one of the big genres. I'm expecting lots…
Prince of Darkness
Before man walked the earth...it slept for centuries. It is evil. It is real. It is awakening.
A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.
Finally, John Carpenter’s most underrated and atmospheric film is now available in high-definition. The long and patient wait for a Blu-Ray release was worth it as not only is The Scream Factory’s release excellent but the film is as wonderfully creepy as it ever has been.
Prince of Darkness is Carpenter’s unjustly forgotten minor-classic. Produced in-between the delightfully batty duo of Big Trouble in Little China and They Live, this moody horror film is closer in style to his earlier attention-grabbing genre hits. Only now beginning to receive the attention it deserves, this eerie throwback (a strange amalgamation of Carpenter’s own cinematic obsessions) is a wonderful blend of horror and science-fiction as religion and science come together to repel the…
Whenever I hear the synth-heavy compositions of Carpenter it always feels like meeting an old friend. One you, more often than not, get along with really well.
Prince of Darkness is an odd beast of a horror film and, after this rewatch with a gap of some 15 years preceding it, one I can easily rank among Carpenter's best. This film's scope is a lot bigger than I'm used to from him and it actually has a very clever script, deftly touching upon some quasi philosophical issues without getting heavy handed or making an ass out of itself.
In a film that expertly uses the tropes of both the slasher and the zombie genre, Carpenter pits science versus religion, but…
Director: John Carpenter (Final Film)
First and foremost, Prince of Darkness is very, very good. The score as usual is sublime and, with me resisting the urge to heap excessive praise on the film, manages to be comfortably among (of what I've seen) Carpenter's best.
Many preconceived notions of what many consider the criteria which make a great film involve, and include that it have great characters. This film doesn't have particularly interesting characters, nor are they really memorable. But what it does have is memorable ideas and a protean aesthetic with a heavy atmosphere and a strong enough screenplay (most of the time) in which to carry this atmosphere, with these aspects, the film manages to be…
Simon without the Major. Dr. Loomis in a robe. Some of Jack's friends. That damn x-ray tech. What's her name again? Alice Cooper and his bicycle. The beautiful Lisa Blount (R.I.P.). One of the Horror Master's best and by far underrated films. Another reason why Carpenter is king.
80s hairstyle, synth-music, old school effects, a ghost story, an episode of Scooby Doo, end of the world, jump scares, false alarms, zombie-like people staring and shit... these are the kind of stuff one can expect to find in usual 80s horror flicks and these are the things that we notice at first. But only few Horror masters like John Carpenter know how to amalgamate all these cliches into a delicious concoction resulting into a fascinating, thrilling, atmospheric, creepy and extremely entertaining movie. And it's really awesome how sexy a Priest can look while holding an axe!
Whilst the film had a very mediocre beginning, hysterical performances, some annoying science mumbo jumbo and a particularly irritating Chinese dude who was…
John Carpenter is a people person.
He likes the camaraderie of a big group. He likes to isolate these groups in a large singular environment where they can bond and grow as people and as friends.
Then he likes to turn the lights off, crank up the volume of his choral synth keyboards and scare the fuck right out of them.
It took a good 45 minutes if not more for Prince of Darkness to convince me it was a great Carpenter flick. The group here is too vast to begin with. They were more like speakers of exposition than actual characters but finally, once the villain of the piece (some green spinning goo) starts possessing their bodies, it becomes an entertaining, frightfully fun 80's horror movie in that joyous throwback way that only John Carpenter can make work.
To see where i've ranked it in Carpenter's filmography, click
I wasn't altogether impressed with the movie tbh. I did really like the score though. Before watching, I didn't know much about it except that it was directed by John Carpenter. I think I was expecting a completely different type of story. I'm sure that if i watch this again i'll like it a lot more now that I know what to expect.
this movie throws the fuck down. carpenter's surreal, religious cousin to THE THING. great imagery and scares.
SIDE NOTE- this is the fourth carpenter film i've seen that has extensively filmed at USC in a creative way. he is by far our most under-valued alum.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Brief Thoughts: There’s no doubt that ‘Prince of Darkness’ has good ideas to burn and plenty of balls to go with it. Hell, this is a movie with the chutzpah to present the Catholic Church as a two-thousand year-old conspiracy dedicated to concealing the fact that Jesus Christ and his Satanic counterpart - a long, tall drink of green goo, no less - are alien beings (that is what the film’s saying, isn’t it…?) and that everything that we might perceive as divine or miraculous is down to ‘simple’ quantum mechanics. (It also asks us to believe that Jameson Parker’s moustache wouldn’t immediately send any female in the near vicinity running screaming from the building - there’s 'suspension of disbelief',…
Up there with In the Mouth of Madness as Carpenter's most underrated movie. It's also probably his strangest, containing the goofiness (Alice Cooper Stabbing People With Bikes, Green Goo With a Mind of Its Own) later found in Ghosts of Mars and moments that absolutely terrified me (Camcorder Dream, A Woman Reaching Out From Underwater Hell to a Dying Light) as much as Halloween. Carpenter's style is lean, mean, and wholly effective, cutting off the fat to leave a slow-burn style of horror that truly stays with me after it's gone. Once you get on his wavelength, there's nothing better.
Structurally similar to The Thing, in that an ethnically diverse group of characters in an isolated location is picked off one-by-one and turned into figurative zombies by a supernatural creature that science can only partially explain, but it's far weirder and much goofier. Some great horror imagery throughout, especially the body made out of bugs, and a not-so-subtle feeling of black comedy underlines the entire thing; Dennis Dun, in particular, has some great one-liners.
Scientists discover that Satan is an alien and was trapped by the Varican to ensure the human race survive. Now Satan is waking up and a group of college scientists are the last ones between the Prince of Darkness and the entirety of humanity. As fun as the plot is, it really serves as a reason for Carpenter to make a paranormal themed Assualt on Precicnt 13. Gory and full of action, this is a fun watch if you like 80s action/horror.
Of the 1-2 punch between this and They Live, the latter alien invasion movie has proved the better flick, Carpenter's last masterpiece. Prince is loads of fun, the sort of film that all low budget b-movies should aspire to - nifty effects and scares, a full-on commitment to a ludicrous premise, and an homage to the horror/sci-fi mumbo jumbo that Carpenter has a soft spot for (i.e., his use of Quatermass as his writing credit). The idea of Satan being some sort of green and slimy physical manifestation (complete with sub-undergrad discussions on theoretical physics) is a neat one, and Carpenter conjures a few wonderfully creepy and unsettling moments, a shout-back to his earlier (and much more inventive) earlier flicks…
"...you are receiving this broadcast as a dream...pray for death."
Oh nononononoo, people. Do not mistake this for a sci-fi horror film. This is fantasy horror thinly veiled by purely expositional, sophomore, philosophical academic dialogue and machines scattered everywhere that are meant to parallel anything with an institutional background to religion. And yet as much as I wasn't supposed to take this seriously, I liked how they used it to frame what we had already seen happening while they only get hints of it. Science here is purely diagnostic, incapable of actual premonition or foreshadowing. The priestly religious figure, meanwhile, is fully divested of his religion's meaning and yet still self-entitling. Well, whatever Carpenter loved about Donald Pleasence, I love it too.
But I emphasize, if you're watching a movie…
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