Prince of Darkness

Man, my idea for a Halloween Satan-a-thon just totally fell through, didn’t it? I’m truly sorry about that. The last month has been one of those cases where my work life has interfered way more than I ever wanted it to with my fun life. I will be going on vacation next week so maybe I can screen some more Devilicious movies. I hope this review makes up for it because I really liked this movie, the 1987 John Carpenter picture Prince of Darkness.
Donald Pleasence stars as Father Loomis (I see what you did there, Mr. Carpenter, I see), a priest whose colleague dies and leaves him a journal and a key that belongs in an abandoned church.
Turns out the dead priest was a member of the Brotherhood of Sleep and his journal entries are about something evil stirring. Meanwhile, Catherine Danforth (Lisa Blount) is a physics grad student.
Father Loomis reaches out to her professor, Professor Howard Birack (Victor Wong). Father Loomis shows Birack what the key unlocks, a secret room full of crucifixes, candles, and a creepy canister of green ooze.
There’s another book, with writing on top of writing on top of writing that says that the canister contains something worse than the devil, it’s the devil’s father. Birack’s curiosity is piqued enough that he assembles a group of grad students and professors to stay at the church and study whatever the heck is going on with the green ooze. Sadly, there will be no pizza-loving Chelonii. Just a swarm of homeless people acting oddly, led by a street schizo played by Alice Cooper.
This movie isn’t like The Thing, where people have to stay in one location or succumb to the elements. People are free to go but the large church starts to feel claustrophobic and students start abandoning the project. When Susan (Anne Howard), a radiologist, is sprayed in the mouth with goo leaking up from the canister, you know that shit just got real. And yeah, I didn’t make a mistake, the canister leaks and the ooze goes up and forms a pool against the ceiling.
People start to disappear and succumb to the goo’s will, which is malicious, because when is mysterious goo ever good? The goo’s will is pretty much to act creepy and kill the normies. Susan and the linguist, Lisa (Ann Yen) serve the canister. The street people in the neighborhood assemble outside and keep the students trapped inside and kill anyone who tries to escape..
The computers all start to go crazy and, adding to the creep factor, everyone starts to have the same dream–grainy footage of the church with someone telling them that they’re overriding their neural circuits and that they’re broadcasting from the year one nine nine nine (The old future.) Birack theorizes that the ooze isn’t the literal father of the devil, it’s more like an ancient evil that’s essential to the nature of the universe because it’s tied to antimatter and antiparticles. Further, the dreams are being caused by tachyons, a hypothetical faster-than-light particle. If tachyons existed they could cause all kinds of causality problems–if they were large enough to see, you would simultaneously see one arriving at and departing at the same time since it goes faster than light. Anyway, that could be how the people of the future are warning the students through their dreams.
In a final moment of creepiness, Kelly (Susan Blanchard) has a creepy, growing bruise and seems to be pretty pregnant after being sprayed by the canister.
Yup, it looks like the ooze wants to manifest physically so it can pull its Anti-Matter father from wherever it lives. This physical transformation leaves Kelly with a bad case of pizza face.
I’m not telling you the ending because it’s cool and I like it. Who cares if this movie is twenty-five years old and you can Google what happens? Google is just a fad.
This movie really seems to polarize people. Critics hated it when it came out and fans either seem to love it or hate it. I liked the movie a lot. How can you go wrong with Prince of Darkness? You have John Carpenter Staple Actors. There’s the amazing, creepy score. I like the writings of Lovecraft (Just not his racism which is creepy even for the time he lived) so I really like the idea of an indifferent universe tied to an evil as old as the universe itself. Plus, there’s the fact that you can never, ever defeat this evil. Every particle has an anti-particle and if this evil is tied into the anti-particles then you basically can’t eliminate the evil without eliminating the world. This is so much bigger than any theology and I think that’s why the movie’s so creepy. There’s the fact that it’s basically unresolved.
The movie reminds me of The Thing or The Fog because there’s a real emphasis on how the characters are under siege and can’t leave. The cinematography emphasizes this sense of claustrophobia.
There are lots of long but closed off hallways and dark rooms.
Scream Factory has just released a collector’s edition of this movie and I highly recommend picking it up. This is the copy I own and I can say that the artwork is good and I can’t wait to play with the special features.
Don’t listen to the haters! This movie is especially good if you like demonic or exorcism related movies but aren’t into theology.

This post is dedicated to Jack, the devil dog, who died last week after living for 15 years of mischief.  R.I.P, baby boy.

This post is dedicated to Jack, the devil dog, who died last week after living for 15 years of mischief. R.I.P, baby boy.


About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 1980's, apocalypse, demons, halloween 2013, possession, supernatural and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Prince of Darkness

  1. backlashcomix says:

    Looks like an interesting one; Pleasence, Carpenter, Cooper, this is clearly a classic. And poor old Jack, a nice looking dog. What breed was he? A Jack Russell?

    • scarina says:

      It’s definitely a classic, awesome movie. It’s funny b/c critics called Carpenter’s movies shallow, then he made this movie, a very cerebral movie, and they call it too cerebral. You can’t win!
      Thanks! Yes, Jack the Nipper was a Jack Russell.

      • backlashcomix says:

        Yea I think those critics need to shut their faces, to put it politely. Carpenter’s movies are may not even hit you straight away, but they kind of hover around the subconscious like B-movies with an unexpected virus. I think that’s partly to do with the music and the general atmosphere. Despite the critics negative reviews when it came out, The Thing’s definitely one that sticks. Like if I’m ever in a cabin fever moment with someone, and we seem to be arguing for no reason, I just think of The Thing and hum the eerie Morricone theme music and it grounds me into realising where we’re at. It’s one of the best claustrophobic movies I’ve seen. And with something like Big Trouble in Little China, if I ever need to stay calm and maintain a relaxed demeanor in a situation where I’m over my head, I can always think of what old Jack Burton would say. On the subject of Carpenter’s other projects, did you ever watch that Masters Of Horror series?

      • scarina says:

        I really hate mainstream critics when they watch horror movies sometimes. They just don’t get it. God, I love “The Thing” so much. It’s such an improvement over the original and is so claustrophobic and gross. And I just about love “They Live” more than anything. I’m slowly working my way through his movies.
        I only saw one episode, I think. This man and woman were arguing in a car and then it crashed and he escaped but the woman was barbecued. She survived but was gross and skinless and telepathic and he stole skin for her.

  2. backlashcomix says:

    Yea They Live’s great, and another one that sticks with you. I was just watching The Masters of Horror when I wrote that comment so that was why I brought it up, I have to say thought, considering it involved some very well known guys I was a little disappointed with many of them.

    • scarina says:

      I love how “They Live” has influenced graffiti culture. That was really unexpected.
      I only saw the one with the burnt woman. I remember it b/c she had these really big boobs & they seemed intact after being burnt. I didn’t think that was realistic. LoL.
      I don’t watch a lot of horror t.v. I only really like “The Walking Dead” and “Hannibal.” So I’ve never really watched “Masters of Horror” or “American Horror story.”

  3. Crypticpsych says:

    I’m so behind on picking up Scream Factory releases. Regardless, I’m glad I have this one in any format. Prince of Darkness is so far ahead of its time on many levels. It’s one of the most sciencey sci-fi horrors ever.

    The thing about mainstream critics is that they have a habit of reviewing things from the perspective of “If I don’t understand it, it must be bad”. Some genres, that works…if I don’t laugh, I must not like a comedy. But just because a horror movie is complex doesn’t make it bad.

    And, for the record, you should look into Carpenter’s first season MOH episode Cigarette Burns. It’s a high watermark for the series. His “Pro-Life”, in the second season, is goofy and heavyhanded political commentary…but hey, Ron Perlman. First season, the standouts to me are Dreams in the Witch House, Cigarette Burns, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, Sick Girl, and Imprint though I find something to like in every episode (even weaker ones like Haeckel’s Tale, Dance of the Dead, or Chocolate). Second season, the entire series has a quality dropoff with the best to me being Sounds Like, The Black Cat, and maybe Pelts, Family, Screwfly Solution…with many others still having good moments..but stay far away from Dream Cruise and the ending of The Damned Thing. The thing with the show that killed it with some fans was that fans have their own definition of “horror”. So on one level, you get the really disturbing eps…on another you get political commentary comedy like Homecoming or lighter eps or Deer Woman or the pure what the heck were they going for of Chocolate. It’s really the openness of one’s definition of horror that colors one’s opinion of the show. I like it, a lot of people don’t, your mileage may vary.

    • scarina says:

      Holy comment bombardment! Welcome back. :]
      You really can’t win with horror. If you do a fluffy slasher then your work lacks depth, if you do something deep then it’s “incomprehensible.”
      I really haven’t watched much of Masters of Horror but I really want to see it. This is part of my pile of things to watch.

  4. Pingback: In the Mouth of Madness | Scarina's Scary Vault of Scariness

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