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Prince of Darkness (1987)

R  |   |  Horror  |  23 October 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 22,499 users   Metascore: 50/100
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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 »




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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
See  »

Did You Know?


(at around 34 mins) Peter Jason came up with the idea for the mouth trumpet routine. See more »


When Lisa gets into bed, her shoes are off. However, after she becomes possessed and is walking around, her shoes are back on. See more »


Walter: Why is everybody looking at me that way?
Brian: Because you're being asshole-ish.
Walter: Well, it's very asshole-ish of you to say so!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits last for nine minutes. See more »


References The Stone Tape (1972) See more »


Heavenly Puss
by Scott Bradley
Use courtesy of SBK Records Catalog Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

An Excellent,Scary,Atmospheric Underrated Horror Film. Carpenter At His Best.
3 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Prince Of Darkness is a scary,effective Horror film and is truly underrated. Filled with great direction,a wonderful cast,a creepy score and great special effects,Prince Of Darkness is John Carpenter at his best.

Prince Of Darkness tells the of priest Father Loomis(Donald Pleasence)who has discovered a secret that has been hidden in a church for many years:a green container that is holding a green liquid that represents the Father of Satan,an Anti-God that is pure evil. Now with the help of Physics teacher Professor Howard Birack(Victor Wong),his students and others Father Loomis has to stop the Anti-God or it will be doom for the world.

Prince Of Darkness is a great solid Underrated Horror film that not only marked the return of John Carpenter to the Horror genre but to his low budget roots as well. After the unfortunate box office failure of the excellent and brilliant classic the big budgeted Action Comedy Martial Arts Kung Fu film Big Trouble In Little China,Carpenter return to low budget films with two films the first film being Prince Of Darkness and the other film the Sci-Fi/Action classic They Live. Prince Of Darkess is the second film in Carpenter's great Apocalypse Trilogy beginning with The Thing and ending with In The Mouth Of Madness and right from the opening credits Prince Of Darkness pulls you into a horrifying nightmare that gives you a sense of dread and such impending doom a scary movie that scares you with the feel of fright and death all around. Carpenter with the ominous opening is telling us that nothing is going to be alright. POD at times feels like you are watching a dream(in fact there are several dream sequences in the film)where things are distorted and confusing and you're not sure of what is going on. What I also love about POD is the style and tone of the film because I look at the film POD has the style of an Italian Horror film mostly like the films of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci because like Italian Horror films POD has frightening and disturbing imagines that will put viewers on edge because you don't know what they are or what they're about. The tension and suspense in the film is like a tightrope and as the film goes on the tension and suspense starts to become scarier and more frightening. Carpenter is a master of claustrophobia and isolation whether it is The Thing,Halloween or Assault On Precinct 13 and POD is no exception and is truly filled with claustrophobia and isolation where the film's main characters are trapped on the inside and want to get out but are surrounded by evil. In many ways Carpenter has used the same story as Assault On Precinct 13 but instead of a police station and gangs it's a church and possess homeless people. With POD Carpenter asks a thought-provoking question what if a demon not just the Devil himself but an Anti-God,not God the creator of Heaven and Earth,but an evil God were to come into our world and brought evil onto our world with darkness and evil. Carpenter asks these questions with the characters mixing subjects of Religion,Science and physics. But pure evil can never ever be truly explained by anyone no matter what not by Religion,Science or Physics. POD also addresses the issues and conflicts between Science and Religion represented by the characters Father Loomis and Professor Birack but the issue in POD is handled really well and done with amazing intelligence,great writing and imagination. The pace of the film will bother some people where some people will think the film is slow but I love the pace of POD because like many Horror films of the 70s and 80s POD builds up the film with tension and atmosphere and when the Horror starts it never stops. The films main characters in the film are not always likable but at the same time they are not like slasher victims waiting to get killed off and you feel sorrow and sympathy for them when things go bad. The violence and gore is simple but effective and disturbing and fits in with the grim tone of this film. The ending of the film is classic Carpenter. It's a truly scary and shocking conclusion that's very bleak and like many Carpenter endings it ends on a cliffhanger. A great ending.

The cast does great jobs in their roles. Donald Pleasence is brilliant as Father Loomis,with Pleasence bring depth and sympathy to the role. Jameson Parker is great as Brian Marsh,one of Birack's students. Victor Wong is fantastic as Professor. Howard Birack and has great scenes with Pleasence. Lisa Blount is excellent and sexy as Catherine,Brian's love interest. Dennis Dun is wonderful as Walter,with Dun bringing Humor to the film. Alice Cooper is creepy in a non speaking role as Street Schizo. Susan Blanchard(Lisa)Peter Jason(Dr. Paul Leahy),Jesse Lawrence Ferguson(Caulder),Dirk Blocker(Mullins),Ann Yen(Lisa)and Anne Howard(Susan)give good performances as well.

The direction by John Carpenter is brilliant,with Carpenter always moving the camera while using great angles and giving the film a dark and creepy atmosphere. Great direction by Carpenter.

The score by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth is amazing,scary,intense and dark and fits the frightening tone of the film. There is also the great song Prince Of Darkness heard briefly in the film by Alice Cooper.

The special effects make-up by Frank Carrisosa is great,realistic and disturbing. Wonderful make-up effects by Carrisosa.

In final word,if you love John Carpenter or Horror films,you will love Prince Of Darkness,a scary and frightening Horror that is very underrated and is Carpenter at his best. Highly Recommended. 10/10.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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