6.7/10
37,485
275 user 199 critic

Prince of Darkness (1987)

R | | Horror | 23 October 1987 (USA)
Trailer
1:51 | Trailer
A group of graduate students and scientists uncover an ancient canister in an abandoned church, but when they open the container, they inadvertently unleash a strange liquid and an evil force on all humanity.

Director:

John Carpenter

Writer:

John Carpenter (as Martin Quatermass)
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Popularity
4,408 ( 535)
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 ... 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was budgeted at $3 million, shot in about thirty days, and was Carpenter's "return to horror" after Starman and Big Trouble in Little China. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Professor Edward Birack: Suppose what your faith has said is essentially correct. Suppose there is a universal mind controlling everything, a god willing the behavior of every subatomic particle. Well, every particle has an anti-particle, its mirror image, its negative side. Maybe this universal mind resides in the mirror image instead of in our universe as we wanted to believe. Maybe he's anti-god, bringing darkness instead of light
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits last for nine minutes. See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK 15-rated Universal video version released by 4-Front is edited slightly to avoid an 18 rating. 42 secs of cuts include a shorter bike-stabbing sequence, the removal of some swearing and a brief cut to 'soften' the scene where Calder cuts his throat with a splinter (in the case of this cut there is a noticeable jump in the soundtrack). 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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User Reviews

Eerie
11 November 2003 | by Krug StilloSee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Peacock

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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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