Written & Directed by John Carpenter
A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.
Prince of Darkness is one of those movies I saw as a kid that left some indelible images stored away in my brain. This isn’t Carpenter’s crown jewel, but it is a solid 80′s horror movie that deserves some recognition. This film involves Carpenter, Donald Pleasence, and Satan. Consider me sold on the idea.
A priest (Pleasence), makes an ominous discovery in the basement of a church; a swirling dark green liquid resides within a corroded and ages-old container. He contacts a friend at the local university and some real life ghost hunting courtesy of the physics department begins. Religion and science come to a head when the container is opened; things don’t go well for the researchers. Who knew the essence of Satan was in the hidden container? It’s a bad scene. Prince of Darkness has some elements of time travel woven into the plot as well.
The first half of this movie is just pure horror gold. Ambient lighting, a tremendously creepy score, and a real sense of gloom and dread paint the backdrop for the slower second act and the ultimate climax. The researchers uncover a hidden, repeating code within the container: “I LIVE!” It’s about this time that we find out Satan means to release his essence in an all-powerful anti-god. The thing that I love about this movie is that the core of it is about the ultimate horror topic, a Satanic conspiracy to raise Satan’s Father himself.
There are some flimsy parts in this film. My biggest beef is that the build up is nearly better than the climatic third act. The mood of the film is what really sold me. The sense of doom is oppressive and the backdrop of Satan makes it that much more bad ass.
The acting is very good at times. Carpenter gave his actors some great dialogue to work with. The end isn’t as predictable as you would think. All in all, Prince of Darkness is one of my favorite horror films. The mood is just so terribly dark.
If you like Satanic horror flicks written and directed by John Carpenter, I find it hard to believe you won’t enjoy this one. Alice Cooper plays a bit parts as a gross, homeless minion. Another great thing about this flick. An evil this old and dark draws the bugs out to the flame. The end result of the homeless people surrounding the church is really effective. I think I even remember some media drama about using mentally stunted homeless people as Satanic minions. It’s a horror movie about the devil…get over it, kids.
Pick this one up. Instant cult classic.