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Prince of Darkness (1987)

R  |   |  Horror  |  23 October 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 23,005 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 199 user | 146 critic | 10 from

A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.



(as Martin Quatermass)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Dun ...
Susan Blanchard ...
Susan Cabot (as Anne Howard)
Ann Yen ...
Ken Wright ...
Thom Bray ...


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 students to investigate it. Unfortunately, they discover that the liquid contains the essence of Satan himself, and they also discover that he will release HIS father - an all-powerful Anti-God! The liquid later comes to life itself, turning some of the students into zombies as the Devil comes forward to release his father. Will these students be able to stop him? Written by Derek O'Cain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

church | priest | student | liquid | devil | See All (132) »


Where are you...? Christ? See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

23 October 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)


$14,182,492 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Carpenter claims to have been fascinated with religion ever since watching the old Hammer horror films and how Holy Water woud destroy vampires. See more »


(at around 38 mins) The student radiologist Susan Cabot says she has been "carbon dating the corrosion on the lid" of the cylinder, and "we're talking about 7 million years". Carbon dating is used to determine the age of materials, usually organic, containing carbon, not metal corrosion substances, and is only useful for about 60,000 years. See more »


Walter: [In the closet hiding from the demonically-possessed Susan and Lisa who stand outside staring at him. Walter comes up with a joke he heard] All right. A Jewish mother goes to the airport to meet her daughter. The daughter steps off the plane with an eight-foot-tall Zulu warrior with a bone through his nose. The mother screams, "You fool! I said a rich doctor!"
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits last for nine minutes. See more »


Referenced in The White Ribbon (2009) See more »


Heavenly Puss
by Scott Bradley
Use courtesy of SBK Records Catalog Inc.
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User Reviews

Highly Underrated Imaginative Horror Piece.
12 October 2003 | by (Erie, Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

Among the many great John Carpenter classics such as Halloween, Escape From New York and The Thing, his 1987 sleeper Prince of Darkness is often forgotten. The film centers around the return of Satan and a wonderfully eclectic group of scientists and religious figures who attempt to battle for the survival of humanity. Wonderfully cast with such John Carpenter screen regulars as Donald Pleaseance and Victor Wong we also get to see Alice Cooper as one of Satan's evil minions. The film fails in the respect that this movie can't possibly be scary or believable to anyone who isn't of Christian faith. Never the less it has great scary moments, witty dialogue and fabulous cinematography for the non-Christian horror film lover as well. Fans of religious based horror films will love finding this "diamond in the rough."

16 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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