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
Alice Cooper believes the film is ripe for a sequel, claiming he wants to see more than just the anti-God's hand but the whole thing. See more »
We see the new moon very close to the sun (though showing far too much crescent for such a small angle). A few scenes later, Brian Marsh is looking at a full moon, then a few more scenes later, we see the new moon again near the sun. That night, we see the full moon again. See more »
The opening credits last for nine minutes. See more »
Television version is slightly reedited, suggesting that all that takes place in the film is just a dream that Jameson Parker's having:
after the opening credits there a new shot showing Parker's house from the outside (the theatrical version opens with a shot of Parker trying to perform a card trick).
at the beginning, after Parker watches on TV a program reporting the discovery of a new supernova, the narration goes on talking about the death of a millionaire and the discovery of a religious book in his library
all mentions of the dead priest, member of the Brotherhood of Sleep who took care of the church where the evil liquid is kept hidden, are deleted;
during the whole film, there are new inserted sequences showing Parker sleeping/dreaming in his bed
I agree with regular J.C. actor Kurt Russell on a point he made about the director: If you want to make a cheap movie but make it look slick and expensive, Mr. Carpenter is your man. Like HALLOWEEN this was made for very little money but appears to have been made on a modest budget.
After the box office failure of the underrated Big Trouble in Little China, Carpenter left the studio system and returned to independent and horror filmmaking. The soundtrack is constant synth, the acting average, the tension constantly increasing and widescreen lens used to perfection, all combined scream Carpenter's name from the lengthy opening credits scene. PRINCE OF DARKNESS sits among the most eerie and interesting of Carpenter's work. Defects are it isn't very exciting and divulges a lot of unnecessary quantum physics jargon that seem pompous on the writer's behalf (sorry J.C. but 'Martin Quatermass'? your devotees know you love Nigel Kneale's work!). Despite a few scenes of action, which seem thrown in to gather momentum, the film just moves along.
Basically PRINCE OF DARKNESS combines ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 with THE THING. A character driven story concerning isolated individuals and one by one falling victim/possessed to/by an alien foe. Priest, Donald Pleasence (HALLOWEEN) hires University Professor, Victor Wong (Big Trouble in Little China) to investigate an ominous cylinder. The green ooze inside this cannister, hidden for centuries by the 'Brotherhood of Sleep', is the 'anti God' who will end the world if the secrets of its origin remain unsolved.
This is the second part in Carpenter's 'apocalypse trilogy' that began with THE THING and concluded with IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS. PRINCE OF DARKNESS is a must for all J.C. fans, but is the slowest of the trilogy.
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