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Prince of Darkness (1987)

R | | Horror | 23 October 1987 (USA)
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ON DISC
A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.

Director:

John Carpenter

Writer:

John Carpenter (as Martin Quatermass)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Pleasence ... Priest
Jameson Parker ... Brian Marsh
Victor Wong ... Prof. Howard Birack
Lisa Blount ... Catherine Danforth
Dennis Dun ... Walter
Susan Blanchard ... Kelly
Anne Marie Howard ... Susan Cabot (as Anne Howard)
Ann Yen ... Lisa
Ken Wright Ken Wright ... Lomax
Dirk Blocker ... Mullins
Jessie Lawrence Ferguson ... Calder
Peter Jason ... Dr. Paul Leahy
Robert Grasmere Robert Grasmere ... Frank Wyndham
Thom Bray ... Etchinson
Joanna Merlin ... Bag Lady
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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

Taglines:

Before man walked the earth... it slept for centuries. It is evil. It is real. It is awakening. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

23 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness See more »

Filming Locations:

Long Beach, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,657,401, 25 October 1987, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,182,492
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo | 4-Track Stereo (Psycho Dynamism Sound) (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Donald Pleasence's character, Father Loomis, is named after the character he played in the Halloween movies. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Catherine: [after learning what they're up against] What are we supposed to do? Just go back to work?
Kelly: What would you rather have? A wreath of garlic? A benediction? A crucifix?
Catherine: Then it really is Old Scratch knocking at the door.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits last for nine minutes. See more »

Alternate Versions

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
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shakedown (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Stands among carpenter's best
29 December 2017 | by NateWatchesCoolMoviesSee all my reviews

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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