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This movie mixes a typical revenge plot with the classic horror theme of
devil on earth and the eccentric attitudes of movie people, especially
directors and screenwriters. Lamberto Bava adds some dark humor and cites a
few horror classics (e.g. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" in at least two
sequences) to make the film as a whole a surprisingly pleasant and
entertaining experience. Also a big plus are Tomas Arana ("La Chiesa") and
David Brandon ("Stagefright") in the male leading roles, and Simon
simplistic but very effective sound track. There are also a bunch of quite
gory scenes that make one wonder if this really is a TV production (but
Italians never had problems with gory TV films, as, e.g., Lucio Fulci's "La
Casa nel Tempo" proves), especially one nasty knock out by a golf ball
(Oops... it went right through the eye...). Lamberto Bava keeps the pace
fast throughout the movie, which also adds to the viewing
Probably Bava's best of his eight TV movies he directed from 1987 to 1990, and certainly the goriest. The only letdown is that this unique film is extremely rare to find with no official home video release ever yet and none in sight.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Prince of Terror is one of the more obscure films in the
filmography of Italian director Lamberto Bava. During the decade of the
80's he made all the films that made his name, several of which are
among the best of Italian horror from this period. But he also made a
series of far less well known genre films that were made for
television. Of the ones of this type that I have seen, I reckon that
this one is the best. The story revolves around a famous horror
director known as the 'Prince of Terror' who is subjected to a house
invasion one night in which he and his family are terrorised by an
unhinged screenwriter who was recently fired by our friend, the
What makes this one work well is that it is wilfully ridiculous at regular intervals, while it is also pretty violent for a TV movie. Even with his bigger budgeted feature films, Bava was a director who never shied away from excess and nonsense, so it's perhaps no surprise that The Prince of Terror has these two aspects in abundance. Perhaps its best scene is also its most ridiculous; it involves a security guard who makes a personal check on the director's house on the fateful night only to suddenly and shockingly start to bloodily combust, with his ribcage bursting out of his chest and blood flowing from his head. All the while he appears disturbingly blasé about this. It turns out he is a specially designed robot! Its moments like this which makes this film memorable. Similarly, the finale crescendos in a scene of epic stupidity that is so heroically ludicrous you just have to applaud the film-makers for putting it on screen. It involves the final downfall of the house invaders, who up to this point have been vicious criminals not to be messed around with under any circumstances. How are they defeated? Our hero starts hitting golf balls at them from the vantage point of his living room of course. An unusual form of crazy golf if you will. One of the villains even loses an eyeball as a result of one particularly expertly delivered wedge shot, driven slap bang into the middle of his coupon. If you think all of this is insanity, there's a twist ending that follows this that takes things in yet another bizarre direction.
This one benefits from a spirited performance from David Brandon who appeared in Michele Soavi's impressive debut film Stagefright the previous year. He plays the screenwriter with the chip on his shoulder and seems to be having some fun in doing so. There's also an enjoyable synth score from Simon Boswell, who contributed to the likes of Dario Argento's Phenomena (1985). And we also have some impressive effects work from Sergio Stivaletti who worked on a bunch of Italian horror flicks including Bava's own cult classic 'Demons' movies. Aside from the robot security guard, there's a skinned doggy and the crazed finale for him to sink his teeth into. Overall, this is a pretty enjoyably silly horror flick from Bava and one which certainly deserves to be far better known.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With having found Lamberto Bava's Gialli films to be fun,easy-going
titles,I was pleasantly caught by surprise,when a kind friend recently
sent me a DVD of Bava taking on the Home Invasion genre,which led to me
getting ready to find out who the prince of darkness really is.
Unhappy with the quality of his latest film,highly praised "autur" Horror director Vincent Omen decides to fire his long serving screenwriter,and shut down production of the movie,so that he can have a chance to re-write the screenplay.
A few days later:
Talking to his wife and daughter about his desperation to avoid any outrageous Horror movie clichés in his revised screenplay as they sit down for dinner,the Omen's meal is interrupted by a golf ball smashing their glass door and landing on the table,which leads to Vincent fearing that a "Horror" may be about to invade his home.
View on the film:
Basing the film entirely in the Omen's house,the screenplay by Dardano Sacchetti sadly fails to build any feelings of the family's relationship to each other,and also the terror that they experience with an "invader" entering their house,due to Sacchetti seeming to be more focused on including as many under-written homages as he possibly can.
Covering the movie in a blue mist,director Lamberto Bava does very well at creating a feeling of the Omen's being trapped in their house,with no where to run.Whilst Sacchetti's screenplay suffers from a heavy emphasis on homages,Bava shows a gleeful eye for the movies enjoyable set pieces,which go from a dangerous use of golf balls, (which appear to have been "borrored" from Bava's terrific Giallo A Blade in the Dark) to a security guard showing "the prince of terror" that the appearance of terror can be very deceiving.
"The Prince of Terror" was never officially released on VHS and DVD.It's available only on third-generation bootleg copies.It's a crying shame,because it's certainly one of the best Bava's horror movies made in late 80's.The film tells the story of an infamous Romanian horror director named Vincent Omen,who calls himself The Prince of Terror.During the filming of his latest horror movie Vincent fires his scriptwriter and a former friend,who plans cruel and bloody revenge on Omen and his family.After family's dinner the blood begins to flow...Pretty entertaining and gory Lamberto Bava's home invasion movie with gruesome decapitation,skinned dog,a hand impaling and a killer golf ball doing some juicy eyeball mutilation.The gore effects by Sergio Stivaletti are great as is Simon Boswell's score.Check out this silly flick.7 out of 10.
Life imitates art when a famous horror director and his family are terrorized by the screenwriter he recently fired. The screenwriter is out to prove his lame scenarios really are scary but if this teleplay is any indication, he deserved the ax. There's only one (half-way decent, at least) kill and a twist ending but that's not enough to recommend it, especially in light of the awful '80s hairdos and decor on display. God, what an ugly decade that was. Lamberto isn't the director his dad, "Maestro Of The Macabre" Mario Bava, was but, hey, it's only a TV movie that falls somewhere between a time waster and a waste of time.
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