Prince Of Darkness (1987)

In the early 1980’s, director John Carpenter was nearly unstoppable. He worked constantly, churning out one classic after another, after bursting onto the scene in 1979 with Halloween.
He followed that game-changer up with The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing, Christine, Starman, and Big Trouble in Little China in quick succession, becoming an underdog box office champion.
In 1987, he down-shifted from big stars and grand adventures to produce today’s creepy classic from the 1980’s, Prince Of Darkness.

This is a film that asks many more questions than it bothers to answer.
For the introductory half hour, the audience as well as the main characters have no idea what is going on. We are thrown into a situation where a group of (thirty-something) college physics majors have been volunteered to spend the weekend in the basement of an abandoned church in Los Angeles. The group arrives and sets up equipment, joined by their lazy-eyed professor and a priest played by Dr. Loomis himself (!), Donald Pleasance.

Carpenter takes his time with this one, slowly building from the initial confusion and cranking up the weirdness factor step by step.
Lots of bugs, worms crawling up windows, strange noises, and a creepy group of homeless people with staring problems led by Alice Cooper are only a few examples of what these confused yet professional students are up against.

When the group finally learns that the reason they are gathered here is because a 7,000,000-year-old container of green slime containing the sentient supreme force of evil, an “Anti-God” bound by some combination of anti-matter and ancient Latin texts, well, that is when shit gets real.

With no way of escaping the church from hell, the students succumb to the evil green slime one by one, in various ways. I love how Carpenter just cuts loose in this portion of the film. After such a slow and careful build-up, he just lets the film go a little wild and creatively weird at this point.

There are so many cool ideas introduced in this film, that in the end it kind of turns into a mess. Plot lines are picked up and left dangling, characters behave ridiculously, and the whole point of the movie actually becomes cloudy.
One of the coolest ideas that the film presents, in my opinion, involves the fact that every person staying in the church begins having the same exact dream — a shadowy image in the doorway of the cathedral with a message transmitted from the future.

Mr. Carpenter himself considers this film to be the middle part of his “Apocalypse Trilogy” which begain in 1982 with The Thing, and came full-circle in 1996 with the great “In The Mouth Of Madness”.
Prince Of Darkness is one of those 80s Babies that I remember watching as a younger man that really stuck with me as being genuinely creepy. Although it is definitely not perfect, you can make much worse movie choices that this one from a modern master of horror made in his heyday!
Check it out on Netflix streaming or order the DVD right here.
Enjoy, freaks!

 
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