Prince of Darkness (1987) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A sinister secret has been kept in the basement of an abandoned Los Angeles church for many years. With the death of a priest belonging to a mysterious sect, another priest opens the door to the basement and discovers a vat containing a green liquid. The priest contacts a group of physics graduate… Runtime: 102 min Release Date: 23 Oct 1987
Greatly underrated. One of Carpenter's best! (by mpainter)
I remember working as an usher when this movie came out. The look on the faces in the audience after the movie ended was priceless. Most were either truly disturbed or confused as hell.I thought the premise was unique. It's always been said that the existence of God can't be proven. Here we have several scientists and students trying, not only to prove that the Devil exists, but that they have him trapped in a jar in a church basement.The movie is so full of sub-atomic theory that you would swear it was written by Michio Kaku, not John Carpenter. Yeah, don't let the credits fool <more>
you. Carpenter wrote this film under a pseudonym Took my girlfriend to see this when it came out. She's now my wife and to this day, she's still a little afraid of mirrors because of this film.Loved it.
John Carpenter's masterpiece about a priest enlisting the help of a physics professor and his students in preventing the coming of the Anti-God. Yep, I said masterpiece. I consider this to be Carpenter's crowning achievement. Said priest played by the impeccable Donald Pleasance discovers a large vat of green fluid in the basement of an old church near downtown Los Angeles. He comes to realize that the liquid in the container is the very essence of Satan himself, and that a sect known as "The Brotherhood of Sleep" has kept it a secret all these years. The secret can no <more>
longer be kept, however, as the apocalypse is brewing and the vat of liquid Satan is the over-sized coffee pot.Carpenter really struck gold with the script for Prince of Darkness. I find it to be Carpenter's most intelligent and thought-provoking. I love all of the theoretical, scientific and religious discussion in this film. He takes all of these wonderful ideas and forms them into one of the most intriguing story lines the genre has ever seen. It all makes for a very engaging viewing experience, especially if this sort of material fascinates you as much as it does me.The film is slow-burning, yet intensely unnerving. The overall mood, the creepy street people, the church itself and the eerie occurrences caused by the Anti-God's growing power all make for an unsettling watch. Perhaps the most effective scene in the film for me is Wyndham saying hello in that garbled voice followed by "Pray for death." I also must make mention of the recurring dream projections via tachyons. A brilliant idea that adds an even deeper level to the film's frightening nature. The imagery in these dreams is truly the stuff nightmares are made of!As far as the cast goes, this is my favorite ensemble in a Carpenter film, even more so than the one we get in The Thing. They all do fine jobs, especially Pleasance and Victor Wong. I love the interaction between these two. I also really enjoy Jameson Parker in the lead, and Dennis Dun is the rare case of comedy relief that actually works. He is amusing, likable, and his antics don't overshadow or ruin the mood that the film has built up.The atmosphere? Perfect. So is the dread-inducing score, which is an uncanny fit for the material. In the same way that I see Prince of Darkness as Carpenter's best film, the haunting music throughout makes for his best work as a composer. I love the score as much as I love the film itself. The sense of hopeless isolation Carpenter is able to convey despite the church being in L.A. is yet another impressive accomplishment in a film that never fails to impress.Definitely an underrated classic. Carpenter's wonderful ideas are realized to fascinating effect in the film, and for me, the execution is flawless. It's a rare case when I have nothing bad to say about a movie, but this is one of those instances. The music, the atmosphere, the apocalyptic tone, the marvelous ending... it all works beautifully. It's a gem that Carpenter has never bettered. I'm in the minority regarding that statement, but I'm sticking to it.
I happened to enjoy this film greatly. (by Carnivorax-Pejoratus)
This is certainly more of an intellectual movie than the usual horror fare. Much like "The Thing" sort of the same plot development even. the implications of the concepts in the film are what make it deeply disturbing. I haven't completely trusted a mirror since I saw this film, I doubt I ever will again.
One of Carpenter's best (by zetes)
You don't hear too much about this one when people talk about John Carpenter, but, in my mind, it's easily one of his best films. It's very original, well paced and damned frightening. Donald Pleasance is a Catholic priest who recruits his friend, Victor Wong, a physics professor Victor Wong, of Big Trouble in Little China , to draft a bunch of his best grad students to study a large vial of green liquid that is supposedly an ancient relic. The grad students, being people of science, find the assignment very silly, but it's definitely weird and has some unexplainable stuff <more>
going around it. On the base of the vial there is a Latin inscription that claims that the liquid is the essence of Satan, which will someday be used to bring back Satan's father to rule the Earth. Soon enough, the liquid finds its ways into the mouths of a few of the students, who become possessed. Dennis Dun of Big Trouble in Little China appears as one of the students. Highly recommended for fans of the director, and horror fans in general.
The Cinema of John Carpenter: The Second chapter of the Apocalyptic Trilogy. (by Captain_Couth)
Prince of Darkness 1987 was another dark and depressing film from John Carpenter. It's also the second part of his unofficial trilogy of Apocalyptic films. A group of scientists, grad students and theologians gather inside an old cathedral. In the basement of the building is a mysterious jar containing some liquefied remains. The people who were choosing for this experiment must stay the night inside the cathedral. A few of the reluctant students don't want to waste their time looking at a giant jar. A priest is concerned about what dwells inside the goo and knows that there's a <more>
certain mind link between those that were chosen.What is inside the metal and glass container? The scientists' equipment starts to blink out. A lot of strange mathematical equations begin to come from the jar. The priest knows whats inside but nobody will believe him. Outside the homeless are starting gather around the church. This mindless bunch of schizos are the type of vermin that evil attracts. What's ever inside the jar is drawing all sorts of attention. But we know one thing. It's going to be a long night for those inside the church.An hour after sunset, the entity in the container breaks free. The evil being inside has broken the seal and his using it's power to possess people. It's wants to release it's hellish father from limbo. A few people try to leave the church. But they're greeted by a mob of psycho-bums led by Alice Cooper. He impales an unlucky dude with his bicycle. Those who stay will either die a nasty death or they'll join the legion of the undead. Whenever they try to sleep during this ordeal, they receive a message from the Brotherhood of Sleep warning them about the end-of-the-world from a demonic anti-Christ near the turn-of-the-century. The survivors inside the church have no choice but to destroy the evil entity before it brings hell on earth!A handful of survivors fight their way until day break. The leader of the possessed inside the church wants to break it's "father" out of limbo. It needs a mirror to create a portal to the "Other Side". The entity finds a perfect doorway. But before they could bring this nasty creature from limbo, one of the survivors sacrifices herself to stop this being from ever seeing the light of day. Before the woman could be pulled out of limbo from certain damnation, the priest destroys the mirror, leaving her trapped on the "far side" forever. Earth has been saved from a Apocalyptic nightmare. No one outside the church will ever know. The bums leave, no longer under the "Dark Master's' spell. Days later, the boyfriend of the woman who was left behind in limbo starts to have the same dream from the "Brotherhood of Sleep", this time an anti-Christ demonic figure can be seen emerging from the ruins, it's HER. The lonely dude looks into his own bathroom mirror and ponders about reaching into it....Another dark classic from John Carpenter. It's more of a psychological horror then a straight out gore fest. There's nothing cooler than a interesting psychological thriller. The final part of the Trilogy of the Apocalypse was made eight years later in the H.P. Lovecraft influenced IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS.Highly recommended.
The set-up could be ludicrous: a tub of liquid Satan is discovered in an old church in LA and a group of college students, led by their physics prof, attempt to stop it from escaping into the world and bringing about the Apocalypse.Let me tell you, this movie is NOT ludicrous, its creepy as hell ! This is John Carpenter working at the top of his game. PRINCE OF DARKNESS boasts excellent cinematography nothing new to Carpenter films; they always look fantastic, no matter what great performances from Donald Pleasance, Victor Wong and Jameson Parker dig his reaction shot when Victor Wong <more>
hands him a sheet of paper detailing, in precise scientific terms, the nature of the contents of the cannister and really atmospheric music.Although critics had already started eviscerating John Carpenter's films earlier with the release of THE THING, it was in 1987, with the release of PRINCE OF DARKNESS, that the vitriol really started piling up. Its a mystery because this is one of Carpenter's most intense and interesting films and even more so than usual Carpenter has come up with a compelling and eerie synthesizer score.
Lovecraftian horror... very good (by BroadswordCallinDannyBoy)
An old priest who belonged to a cryptic sect passes away. A new priest is assigned to the church and he discovers a bizarre basement with an even more bizarre object in its center - a big vat of green moving liquid. He summons the help of some investigators and the ensuing field study reveals some very frightening revelations about the liquid - it is the essence of Satan. Then the liquid leaks out of the canister...After a few films in the studio system, most notably "Big Trouble in Little China," which undeservedly flopped, Carpenter returned to his roots in small budgeted <more>
horror/thriller films. The result was this and it could have hardly been better. The infamous eerie music makes an especially profound effect in this film, which admittedly starts slow, but when it takes of it takes all of your nerves with it.Unlike many horror popular films this film focuses very heavily on conversation. Atmosphere is of course put first, but the dialog is very interesting and makes for a film that is frightening on a thinking level. There are a well timed moments of violence, but it is on a intellectual level where this film scares the crap out of you. Carpenter must have done a good amount of research as the characters try to use various scientific concepts and terms to describe what they are slowly falling victim to. The dialog very heavily resembles H.P. Lovecraft's writing, who was unrelenting in providing the rational and thought-out narration of his protagonist. One can bet that it is this element that made it necessary for this film to be made independently. The shock isn't visceral, but no less effective.The only downside are a few really goofy moments "I said a rich doctor!" , but they are ultimately forgivable and are not as sorely out of place as you might think. 8/10Rated R: horror violence
Simple, effective and ingenious horror from John Carpenter! (by Coventry)
John Carpenter can be a very creative and stylish filmmaker when he's working with a small budget and more or less anonymous crews. Yet, it had been since The Fog that he worked under these conditions and therefore `Prince of Darkness' is part of his best achievements, according to me. `The Thing' and `Christine' may be successful and widely praised horror highlights, but they lack Carpenter's typical low-budget charm and his demonic visions are more limited in those, I think. Carpenter's screenplay and scenery for this film is ultra-morbid and relentlessly cruel. Evil <more>
does exist and it's homed in an abandoned church near Los Angeles! When a priest opens the basement door and discovers a vat containing a green liquid. The priest contacts a group of physics graduate students to investigate it. Unfortunately, they discover that the liquid contains the essence of Satan himself. From that moment on, Satan will do whatever it takes to release HIS father, who's an all-powerful Anti-God! When you're a fan of horror, dark aspects of religion or morbidity in general this plot-outline almost sounds like delightful music and it IS!! From start to finish, Prince of Darkness is a slow-driven suspense film with good acting and unbearable tension. Acting legend Donald Pleasance was a brilliant choice to play the priest and there's so much more to discover than a simple good vs. evil battle. Carpenter adds the brilliant idea of `the Brotherhood of the Sleep' This principle causes everyone in the group to dream the same sinister dream! The images of these dreams in which humans are used as some sort of supernatural receiver are truly haunting and nightmarish. John Carpenter never showed his horror talent as clearly as here in my opinion The atmospheric beginning, along with the fluid camera-viewpoints slowly turns into an exiting and bloody climax, filled with obscure violence and nasty make-up effects. Great film and highly recommended as it is one of my favorite late 80's horror entries!
I know more than one person who watched this film, claimed immediately after that it wasn't very scary and then called me a few hours later telling me that they were freaked out.Highlight: For me, the best concept in the film is the video-feed dream sequence. Oh man! It's creepy and exceedingly ominous and the shaky-cam newsreel quality gives it an extra punch.The plot: You don't have to be a genius to understand what is going on in this film, but you do need to pay attention. The supernatural physics is a little nonsensical, of the "Popular science" variety, but the <more>
basic premise is explained in layman terms.The characters: Actually, while the "science" is hocus-pocus, I really liked that the film's characters were mostly grad students. The actors do a great job of portraying annoyed, skeptical science grad students. Horror flicks are filled with numbskull undergrads, and it is nice to see the hidden sector of college life revealed in its nerdy glory.The skinny: I'd describe it as a Biblical/Lovecraft horror film. It's got the whole "evil universe" theme running alongside an effective "Hell breaks loose" plot.