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.
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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