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
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 »
[after learning what they're up against]
What are we supposed to do? Just go back to work?
What would you rather have? A wreath of garlic? A benediction? A crucifix?
Then it really is Old Scratch knocking at the door.
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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
Trust John Carpenter to constantly subvert expectations, aim for innovation and simply just please the crowds throughout his career. Prince Of Darkness is, at first glance, a creaky ol' fright fest, and it is that, but there's also a cheeky little irreverent streak to it as well, a borderline atheist flourish that you wouldn't normally find in a flick about summoning up the devil. Carpenter lays the atmosphere on thick, especially with a reliably spooky electronic score and a pace that burns slow and steady. Deep in the crypt of a church there lies a large glass vial containing swirling green matter, a pseudo scientific/spiritual cocktail that contains the "anti god", a denizen composed of backward atoms that wants to break out and raise a little hell. Grim faced priest Donald Pleasence will prevent this at any cost, and hires a team of underpaid undergrads led by a crusty professor (Victor Wong) to research it, camping out in the church for kicks. You can imagine how this goes, and there's a refreshingly old school 'Body Snatchers' vibe as various characters fall victim to the creeping dark forces. There's also mind-stimulating, sci-fi ideas at work too though, including an intriguing time travel prospect and a deft little jab at religion via the story's trickier elements. Carpenter, although hailed as a master of horror, is no simpleton when it comes to ideas, and he flexes his cerebral muscles nicely here. Ambient, gooey, smart, provocative, a terrific little fright fest that leaves you wanting more.
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