Prince of Darkness Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
With everything kind of grinding to a halt, and a fair amount of free time on my hands. Decided to sit back and try and catch up on some horror movie gems that I have been meaning to watch and just haven’t done so at this point. Where better than the master storyteller himself, John Carpenter, and the second entry in the Apocalyptic Trilogy, Prince of Darkness. It’s been on my watch list way, longer than it should have been and found myself pretty excited to finally turn it on, and now that I have finally watched. Let’s dive in and discuss shall we.
The movie starts out relatively slow. Panning through the characters we will be seeing throughout the movie. Revealing the death of a Priest and Donald Pleasence Priest character starts investigating why he was in town, and found something troubling in the basement of the former brotherhood of sleep church. A mysterious green ooze, spiraling in a giant locked cylinder, and a book he can not decipher. He calls in a Quantum Physicist Professor Howard Birack, to get a scientific study done, to prove that it is, more of less, Satan. Who brings in his students and a few other experts in the field to find out what this could be. Meanwhile, we see how Catherine gets along with everyone, and a budding relationship with fellow student Brian Marsh. As they all begin to show up. Notice the homeless beginning to show up outside. Standing there and watching the church. Except for one, who greets Pleasence, and rubs her face on his hand. Seeing maggots in her food dish. As everyone sees it and begins to run experiments. Coming up with their own theories and worry sets in. When one student goes to leave, is killed by the homeless people, in gory fashion. Inside, while Lisa is reading what she transcribed from the book and Pleasance talks about how ths was kept secret so long. Downstair, Susan, the one in radiation, is examining a sound coming from the cylinder, and is sprayed in the face by some of the ooze that sept out of the top. Possessing her and she begins to infect the others. While chaos and dissension going across the survivors, as they not only try to survive, but figure out what is going on and that this really is the essence of Satan, and we will leave it there for now.
I really enjoyed the story they were telling. The fact the Priest, while he believed it from the get go. Wanted them to prove it scientifically. Which kind of made him a stronger character, because while he was raving. Not crazy about it. It was a slow burn of a story with depth and while they tried to be scientific in their studies. Didn’t back away from the religious connotations or try to find a reasonable explanation for it all. Just let it all unfolded as hell breaking loose and works better for it.
As per usual for John Carpenter, the gore was great. Had some fun kills with the bike to the gut, chopstick to the eye, and the woman stabbing the guy with scissors. The fact when the people were possessed, they went light on the liquid. Would have been easy for them to go heavy, but felt different by being light on the fluid. Most of all, loved watching Kelly’s transformation. Watching her go from normal to skin peeling off and and withered away to nothing. Beautiful prosthetic work.
Casting wise they were pretty solid. It was a blast to watch the back and forth between Donald Pleasence and Victor Wong. Sort of wish they had some more time toward the end to talk when everything gets going. as strange as that may sound. Lisa Blount played an interesting Catherine, made better by the way this ended. Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard, and Jameson Parker were all good, but the one who really stood out to me, was Anne Howard. The first one possessed and she did spectacular. Doing everything with a blank, emotionless state, and she made it work really well. Every scene with her was disturbing and creepy. Mostly, because you didn’t know what she was going to do. From her standing and watching the one being stabbed to death and than infecting Lisa. Her presence commanded attention. In the same vein, Ann Yen was effective as a possessed one as well, and kind of a shame we didn’t get more from her. And lest we forget, the talented Alice Cooper. Who did tremendous job as the leader of the Homeless People keeping them trapt in the church.
Now onto the negatives and one of the big ones that I didn’t like, was the dream sequence. They were menacing and unnerving, but they do very little for the story in my opinion. They address them, like it is a big deal, but haven’t got the slightest clue why. The figure isn’t the Anti-God, nor is it Kelly and never really say who the guy is. All seems like an elaborate set up for the ending. Which brings us to the next slight negative.
The love most of the ending. Trying not to say to much for anyone who haven’t watched. It all works up until after they get out of the church. Had the credits just started rolling with the dream sequence don’t think I would have had a problem, but with Brian waking up and the jumpscare and looking into the mirror. Just seemed like a weak way to end a relatively good, fun movie.
And that really sums up Prince of Darkness. Not one of Carpenter’s best, in my opinion. Slow Burn film, that builds up a suspenseful, fun ride. Gladly suggest checking it out, if you haven’t. Final Grade: B+
I hope you enjoyed and as always….
Thank You For Reading.