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Prince of Darkness (1987)

R | | Horror | 23 October 1987 (USA)
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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.

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(as Martin Quatermass)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dennis Dun ...
Susan Blanchard ...
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Susan Cabot (as Anne Howard)
Ann Yen ...
Ken Wright ...
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Jessie Lawrence Ferguson ...
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Robert Grasmere ...
Thom Bray ...
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Storyline

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 (224) »

Taglines:

Where are you...? Christ? See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

|

Release Date:

23 October 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$14,182,492 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While Dennis Dun and Victor Wong worked together with John Carpenter on Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Donald Pleasence worked with Carpenter on Halloween (1978) and Escape from New York (1981). It was the first time Peter Jason worked with Carpenter and would later work together on They Live (1988), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), Village of the Damned (1995), Escape from L.A. (1996), and Ghosts of Mars (2001). See more »

Goofs

(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 »

Quotes

Brian: Faith is a hard thing to come by these days.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits last for nine minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Yes Man (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Lovecraftian horror... very good
2 April 2006 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

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 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. 8/10

Rated R: horror violence


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