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Prince of Darkness (1987)

R | | Horror | 23 October 1987 (USA)
Trailer
1:51 | Trailer
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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4,837 ( 1,001)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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

Gross USA:

$14,182,492

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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

The mirror gag was accomplished in part using mercury. They drained the poisonous material from their on-set hydraulic dollies and cranes and used it for the bit where the character dips her fingers and hand into the reflective pool. (They returned the mercury to the machinery afterward.) The arm is a prosthetic, which also answers my decades' old question as to why the character's watch didn't fit. The reverse of the shot her fingers poking through into the darkness was shot inside a covered swimming pool. See more »

Goofs

(at around 56 mins) When Susan climbed onto Lisa's bed and sprayed the liquid "evil" into Lisa's mouth, the liquid was obviously sprayed from a tube behind Susan's mouth instead of from inside it. See more »

Quotes

[Birack teaches a class on quantum physics]
Professor Edward Birack: Let's talk about our beliefs, and what we can learn about them. We believe nature is solid, and time a constant. Matter has substance and time a direction. There is truth in flesh and the solid ground. The wind may be invisible, but it's real. Smoke, fire, water, light - they're different! Not as to stone or steel, but they're tangible. And we assume time is narrow because it is as a clock - one second is one second for everyone! Cause precedes effect ...
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

Spoofed in Little Nicky (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Prince of Darkness
Written by Alice Cooper and Kane Roberts
Performed by Alice Cooper
Produced by Michael Wagener
Courtesy of MCA Records
(C) 1987 Ensign Music Corporation, Ezra Music Inc.
Screen Gems Music - EMI Music Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Serious Atmospheric Horror Movie
18 January 2019 | by tabunoSee all my reviews

18 November 2011. John Carpenter continues with this duel strength as director and composer whose musical talents bring a rare atmospheric enhancement as usual to this movie. This solid horror movie askew the typical sexual overtones and begins the movie with a rather unique extended credits cutting to beginning scenes with a resonating opening musical theme presents a confidence presentation of evil without the superficial trappings. The few weaknesses such as the ready acceptance of the religious establishment for a revisionist view of Jesus, the fascinating dream scenes that unfortunately don't seem to offer more than token subplot that can't quite contribute to the main storyline drama, and a few seemingly electronic disconnection to the outer world, keep this movie from being a completely tightly editing and written movie classic. Nevertheless there is a potent haunting relational and emotive storyline as well as a different ending sequence that make this movie memorable and captivatingly satisfying.


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