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Carpenter's masterpiece
Cujo1082 August 2010
John Carpenter's masterpiece about a priest enlisting the help of a physics professor and his students in preventing the coming of the Anti-God. Yep, I said masterpiece. I consider this to be Carpenter's crowning achievement. Said priest (played by the impeccable Donald Pleasance) discovers a large vat of green fluid in the basement of an old church near downtown Los Angeles. He comes to realize that the liquid in the container is the very essence of Satan himself, and that a sect known as "The Brotherhood of Sleep" has kept it a secret all these years. The secret can no longer be kept, however, as the apocalypse is brewing and the vat of liquid Satan is the over-sized coffee pot.

Carpenter really struck gold with the script for Prince of Darkness. I find it to be Carpenter's most intelligent and thought-provoking. I love all of the theoretical, scientific and religious discussion in this film. He takes all of these wonderful ideas and forms them into one of the most intriguing story lines the genre has ever seen. It all makes for a very engaging viewing experience, especially if this sort of material fascinates you as much as it does me.

The film is slow-burning, yet intensely unnerving. The overall mood, the creepy street people, the church itself and the eerie occurrences caused by the Anti-God's growing power all make for an unsettling watch. Perhaps the most effective scene in the film for me is Wyndham saying hello in that garbled voice followed by "Pray for death." I also must make mention of the recurring dream projections via tachyons. A brilliant idea that adds an even deeper level to the film's frightening nature. The imagery in these dreams is truly the stuff nightmares are made of!

As far as the cast goes, this is my favorite ensemble in a Carpenter film, even more so than the one we get in The Thing. They all do fine jobs, especially Pleasance and Victor Wong. I love the interaction between these two. I also really enjoy Jameson Parker in the lead, and Dennis Dun is the rare case of comedy relief that actually works. He is amusing, likable, and his antics don't overshadow or ruin the mood that the film has built up.

The atmosphere? Perfect. So is the dread-inducing score, which is an uncanny fit for the material. In the same way that I see Prince of Darkness as Carpenter's best film, the haunting music throughout makes for his best work as a composer. I love the score as much as I love the film itself. The sense of hopeless isolation Carpenter is able to convey despite the church being in L.A. is yet another impressive accomplishment in a film that never fails to impress.

Definitely an underrated classic. Carpenter's wonderful ideas are realized to fascinating effect in the film, and for me, the execution is flawless. It's a rare case when I have nothing bad to say about a movie, but this is one of those instances. The music, the atmosphere, the apocalyptic tone, the marvelous ending... it all works beautifully. It's a gem that Carpenter has never bettered. I'm in the minority regarding that statement, but I'm sticking to it.
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Krug Stillo11 November 2003
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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Greatly underrated. One of Carpenter's best!
mpainter15 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I remember working as an usher when this movie came out. The look on the faces in the audience after the movie ended was priceless. Most were either truly disturbed or confused as hell.

I thought the premise was unique. It's always been said that the existence of God can't be proven. Here we have several scientists and students trying, not only to prove that the Devil exists, but that they have him trapped in a jar in a church basement.

The movie is so full of sub-atomic theory that you would swear it was written by Michio Kaku, not John Carpenter. (Yeah, don't let the credits fool you. Carpenter wrote this film under a pseudonym)

Took my girlfriend to see this when it came out. She's now my wife and to this day, she's still a little afraid of mirrors because of this film.

Loved it.
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An absolutely Carpenter's apocalypse supernatural classic!
ivo-cobra810 November 2015
Prince of Darkness (1987) is John Carpenter underrated absolutely apocalypse classic supernatural horror flick! I know I should choose The Fog above Prince of Darkness but after watching this film for the first time. I absolutely love it so damn much. It is actually about an apocalypse that means the end of the world.

A group of college students with a priest and a college professor finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world. It containing a swirling green liquid that spits in the students and makes them possessed by the entity, which uses them against the others. The fight for survival and rescue has begun. Starring: Donald Pleasence from Halloween (1978), Escape from New York (1981) Victor Wong and Dennis Dun from Big Trouble in Little China (1986) Jameson Parker from Simon & Simon (1981 - 1995) and Thom Bray from Riptide (1984 - 1986). I love this film to death alongside with The Thing (1982) is the second installment in what Carpenter calls his "Apocalypse Trilogy", which began with The Thing (1982).

It is one of my all time favorite supernatural horror flick from the 80's. I got it now, why is underrated you have to be very smart about it. I always can enjoy this film from John Carpenter and it is a classic film for me! A lot of people don't understand this movie but I love it and the soundtrack is amazing. The special effect this horror film had on young teenagers (14 minus), they were truly scared. It really worked and it had some interesting ideas. Lisa Blount was so beautiful in here and she was so outstanding her role as Catherine Danforth! This movie is truly amazing!!!! I am so glad that Victor Wong and Donald Pleasence return in the John Carpenter horror film. The both worked in the past 70's and 80's with John Carpenter on his awesome horror film Halloween (1978) and Big Trouble in Little China (1986). They are both classic films, just I don't like Halloween (1978) I am probably the only who hate this film, but in to Prince of Darkness I can get too, I just love this film to death!!!!

The visual after Catherine (Lisa Blunt) pushes the possessed Kelly through the mirror of the light fading out as she falls into darkness is stunning and unforgettable. Lisa Blunt kicks ass in this movie!!!!!!! I just love to death how Catherine sacrifice her self to prevent apocalypse in our world, that is so outstanding! Lisa Blount did the most outstanding performance in this movie I just love her so much, movies that are pure crap are getting Oscar nominates, this movie did not got nothing, Lisa Blount is awesome!!!! RIP to Donald Pleasence, Victor Wong, and Lisa Blount. May should all rest in peace!

This movie has a real story to it and is not a gore for the sake of gore movie or a hack and slash movie. John Carpenter was great in the 80s. He did a great job directing this movie along side with The Fog (1980) I think this movie is his masterpiece. I like the artwork on the soundtrack album. Very creepy it is. Sorta like a face melting effect like in the movie The Thing. The voice on the soundtrack from the end of this movie still gives me chills. It's one of the best bits is horror history. One thing I noticed about Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy is a running theme throughout--the fear of infection. In the Thing, it was fear of touching the monster and having your body converted to it. In Prince of Darkness it was the scientists infecting each other with bodily fluids, and in In the Mouth of Madness, it was fear of Sutter Cane's book being widely spread throughout the world, infecting those who read it with madness. It's interesting that this movie trilogy started up about the same time as AIDs was discovered. There was a huge panic about the disease being spread by blood and other fluids and it would have been foremost in the public mind. No doubt it inspired Carpenter a bit.

The film isn't fast paced, but it's not slow either, gradually building tension to the very end that's peppered with a mild "scares" throughout to assist. There are enough twists and turns to maintain an edge to the very end, with one final twist. The movie's entirely different concept of Good and Evil is developed in a very unique and unusual manner, while maintaining excellent credibility. Visual and Special effects along with the stunt work are done quite well, surprisingly so given the film's budget. There is some graphic blood and gore, and it's very definitely "R" rated, but it's not as much by contemporary hard-core horror film standards (e.g. Saw, Hostel, or The Crazies remake). Carpenter makes use of some very creepy and revolting effects in lieu of it. Overall, it's an excellent supernatural horror thriller and IMHO it's one of Carpenter's better films.

Master of horror John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) directs this terrifying battle between humankind and ultimate evil. It is one of my favorite John Carpenter best films! I am giving this movie 10/10 because this movie deserves it and it doesn't need to be hated for it.
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Lovecraftian horror... very good
An old priest who belonged to a cryptic sect passes away. A new priest is assigned to the church and he discovers a bizarre basement with an even more bizarre object in its center - a big vat of green moving liquid. He summons the help of some investigators and the ensuing field study reveals some very frightening revelations about the liquid - it is the essence of Satan. Then the liquid leaks out of the canister...

After a few films in the studio system, most notably "Big Trouble in Little China," which undeservedly flopped, Carpenter returned to his roots in small budgeted horror/thriller films. The result was this and it could have hardly been better. The infamous eerie music makes an especially profound effect in this film, which admittedly starts slow, but when it takes of it takes all of your nerves with it.

Unlike many horror popular films this film focuses very heavily on conversation. Atmosphere is of course put first, but the dialog is very interesting and makes for a film that is frightening on a thinking level. There are a well timed moments of violence, but it is on a intellectual level where this film scares the crap out of you. Carpenter must have done a good amount of research as the characters try to use various scientific concepts and terms to describe what they are slowly falling victim to. The dialog very heavily resembles H.P. Lovecraft's writing, who was unrelenting in providing the rational and thought-out narration of his protagonist. One can bet that it is this element that made it necessary for this film to be made independently. The shock isn't visceral, but no less effective.

The only downside are a few really goofy moments ("I said a rich doctor!"), but they are ultimately forgivable and are not as sorely out of place as you might think. 8/10

Rated R: horror violence
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Carpenter's best work . . .
brother_d_7330 October 2004
John Carpenter's made some great horror films, and Prince of Darkness is my hands-down favorite Carpenter flick. First and foremost, the music does it for me every time. Sometimes Carpenter's score do miss their mark, but this time, the music is dead on perfect. Beyond this, the movie overall is wonderful. The opening title sequence (which does extend quite a bit into the film itself) does a great job of setting up the characters and the beginning of the drama at hand. Once the film picks up, it really doesn't let you go until the end, and even then, to the very last shot, the film reminds you that, for the briefest of moments, it had you. Oh, it had you. Alice Cooper makes his first theatrical film appearance with this film, but he appears briefly. Instead, the film centers mostly around Brian Marsh, a grad student brought in as part of a group of collegiate-types to investigate something dark and sinister in the basement of an old church. A lot of people I know pan his performance, but I felt Jameson (TV's "Simon & Simon") Parker's performance was solid and that look of confusion he wears throughout a bulk of the picture seems appropriate to the events unfolding around his character. Donald Pleasance's presence as a Catholic priest who begrudgingly recruits the team of college students and professors, scientists and theorists, adds a sense of credibility to the threat involved, as well as the film itself. And Victor Wong - he's just fun to watch. I love this movie.
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One of Carpenter's most underrated and best! **** out of *****
pumpkinhead_lance9 October 2005
The great thing about John Carpenter's films is that almost all of them feature a great sense of doom throughout the picture. Think about it... HalloweeN, The Fog, Escape From New York, In The Mouth of Madness... pure doom and gloom. And they are all accompanied by equally brooding soundtracks.

Prince of Darkness has all of the elements of a classic Carpenter flick. I think it's finally getting the recognition it deserves and is gaining a small cult following.

The acting for the most part is really good. There are some very memorable lines of dialog and I think the script is very well written. Again music is key here. The music helps with the feel of the movie which is very unsettling.

Also, Alice Cooper has a very small but memorable roll. His song 'Prince of Darkness' from the album 'Raise Your Fist and Yell' can be heard during an incredible suspense scene.

A must see for the Carpenter fan. In my opinion it's in his top five.
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The green goo
macabro35714 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I missed this one the first time around back in the 80s, and despite what all the critics say, I didn't think it that bad at all.

Ok some of it's pretty silly and Jameson Parker and Lisa Blount were about as wooden as two totem poles, but the story did keep my attention without me having to reach up and change the channel. Plus, I really dug the tension filled pulsating synth soundtrack by Alan Howarth.

A group of graduate students & scientists are called upon by Father Loomis (Donald Plesance) to investigate a mysterious canister filled with green goo that is stored in the basement of an abandoned church. Right after they get there, all kinds of strange things begin to occur such as the homeless (led by a pale-faced Alice Cooper) going around, zombie-like, killing people outside the church, earthworms and ants clustering on window panes in strange patterns, and machines and equipment moving on their own.

When the team begin to translate an ancient document that was also stored in the basement, they find out that the canister contains the energy of the son of Satan who was banished to the darkside, eons ago. This supposedly occurred in ancient Middle Eastern times but how it got to L.A. is never explained.

One by one, each of the students are either killed off or possessed by the entity that is slowly growing around them. The scene where thousands of beetles eat away at the guy in the church parking lot is cool. It looks pretty funny when his hands and then his head falls off, rolling around on the ground. Hilarious.

Then one of the females has all the green fluid from the canister flow into her mouth and eyes from the ceiling in a reverse matte shot. That looks pretty cool, too. While she's lying on the cot, her stomach starts to expand and she starts to decompose as this thing is growing inside her. It seems the Prince of Darkness is going to use her as an incubator to grow his fetus.

The scene at the end with the mirror leading into an alternative universe and Satan's arm being outstretched towards the woman was fairly impressive. It sort of looked like it existed in some kind of clear, oily fluid that had the consistency of cooking oil.

All in all, I think this is a pretty entertaining John Carpenter flick to watch on a Saturday night and I consider it light years above his recent mess, GHOSTS OF MARS.

7 out of 10.
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I've got a message for you, and you're not going to like it....
strosstrup31 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers

What a creepy flick, with a unique plot. Satan, with all of his malevolence, returns in a liquid form to conquer mankind and turn ordinary citizens into disciples of death. Disturbing sequences, good acting, and, none other than Alice Cooper, combine to make this a fright fest. A cerebral masterpiece.
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So original that I wished I could say I loved it
gothic_a6665 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I am not sure why I have this movie on my thin DVD collection. I suspect I bought it because it was a Carpenter movie and I also suspect that is the main reason why most people bothered to watch it, in the first place.

It is hard to comment this movie. Overall, I would say it is flawed, on many levels. The characters mean precious little and only half way through the action do they seem to care much about the evil green container. ***spoiler*** As a result, caring for any of them is nigh impossible, which completely spoils all the effect the final "sacrifice" might have had. ***end spoiler***

As for the green is there, as a medium through which the ultimate evil is transmitted from person to person. Which may seem like an original idea but cannot be efficiently translated in terms of imagery.

Reading the plot, this seems to be a killer, it contains all the ingredients of an amazing horror movie: the suspense, the fear of the unknown, the desperate struggle to survive and the looming presence of evil coming ever closer.

Sadly, all this falls flat on its face as soon as it hits the screen. There is no suspense. Characters go from room to room, half bored, then scared, but hardly ever driven by any tension. They eventually round up to ward off the zombie like creatures but by the time they do so, we can no longer care. The impression that evil is biding its time is never achieved and surely not handled with any degree of pathos.

The endings tries to scramble all the data we already had, which is supposed to make us re-think what we just saw, yet it fails to be interesting or even convincing.

A few scenes were very good, though. ***spoiler*** such as the strange pregnancy-like state of comatose semi death which affects one of the characters and the subsequent make-up effects that reveal a rotten zombie-ish countenance worthy of Mr. Savini; the cockroach scene, in which a man completely dissolves into a mass of scampering roaches; the mirror scene, with Catherine eerily floating through the darkness, almost like a modern Ophelia; pretty much all Alice Copper scenes ****end spoiler***

And one thing must be said about this movie, the premise is extremely original and it is a very odd piece of cinema. I honestly wish I had liked it more, but, alas, I did not.
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claudio_carvalho23 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When the guardian priest of an abandoned church in Los Angeles dies, Father Loomis (Donald Pleasance) finds a diary and a key, opens the door of the basement and finds a cylinder with a gruesome green fluid. The priest contacts Professor Howard Birack (Victor Wong) in the local university and he invites a team of students to research the findings and translate manuscripts. The group discovers that the liquid is the essence of evil, actually Satan's remains, and has been kept locked in the church for centuries. Their research awakes the son of the Devil and when the student Susan Cabot (Anne Marie Howard) gets close to the container, she drinks a jet of the green liquid, transforming in a living dead. Susan spreads the liquid among her friends, increasing the army of evil zombies. While the group is attacked inside the church by the zombies, derelicts surround the church trapping them inside, and Satan tries to bring his father to the world.

"Prince of Darkness" is one of the creepiest movies of John Carpenter. The claustrophobic tale is original, with a dark atmosphere and even twenty years later is still very impressive. The special effects and make-up are scary and the music score of his authorship is also excellent. Alice Cooper is amazing in the role of an insane homeless killer. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Príncipe das Sombras" ("Prince of Darkness")
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Prince of Fear
steben30 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I remember this as one of my scariest pieces of movie experience, although this may have much to do with my Catholic background. The basic premise that there is a certain Satan locked in a crate in the basement was not the thing that got to me; it was the evil, evil revelation, which seems to have escaped most of the other reviews here, that sets this movie apart from all that Exorcist stuff... right, real SPOILER following:

There is nothing to Exorcise WITH. There is no good Force. The father of Satan is the Creator of our world, an immeasurably evil, insane being, which was somehow locked outside our world, and the Church has covered that fact by inventing some nice Jesus pap to dull the masses. There is nothing waiting at the end of our history, except for black insanity, as the world was made to be devoured. There is no nice God, no greater Power that somehow ensures there would be a universal happy end to everything. And all this got wrapped into a thrilling story with some nasty Carpenter horror effects to boot. Boy, I was not just scared, if you have the right mindset, this movie makes you think... and then think again. Thoroughly recommended to all Inquisition and Stomp-the-Heretic College students as the first tape to burn.
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john carpenter kicks a$$ again with "PRINCE OF DARKNESS"
Allentoker15 May 2007
This is John Carpenter's most complex and underrated film.Prince of Darkness is an eerie, atmospheric, Lucio Fulci/HP Lovecraft style piece of Gothic horror that can hold it's own against any piece of sh*t horror movie that comes out now days about biblical horror (People who try now days usually come up with mindless Exocist 4:the Beginning bullsh*t).

The story revolves around a priest and a group of scientists gather in an old church and try to solve mystery behind a vat of some green goo that just happens to be concentrated evil.Meanwhile, Alice Cooper and a whole sh*tload of homeless people stakeout outside the church and kill everyone who steps outside, and everyone inside is being turned into zombies.Donald Pleasance gives a phenomenal performance, and Victor Wong gives an equally good performance.John Carpenter's writing (under a pseudonym)is top notch this round,with a social commentary on the catholic religion that's equally as powerful as the commentary on 80s materialism in They Live.The only thing wrong with it is the real crappy make-up efx by Mark Shostram(except for the Satan b*tch,who looked pretty bad a$$).

I remember when I used to read about this movie when I was a kid and how horrible reviews were on it. Everybody made it out to be one of the worst movies ever made.Every review I read was all about how crappy the movie was.But they also said the same about The Thing, and that's considered to be one of the greatest horror films ever made.Maybe Prince of Darkness is just to intellectual for the American public.But after reading the reviews for it on this website, sounds like some people just don't understand the commentary and the complexity of the story,unless they're a true hardcore fan of John Carpenter like me.It's one of my absolute favorite John Carpenter movies and I'm telling you now,don't skip this movie,it's f*cking incredible.
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One of Carpenter's best
zetes17 October 2010
You don't hear too much about this one when people talk about John Carpenter, but, in my mind, it's easily one of his best films. It's very original, well paced and damned frightening. Donald Pleasance is a Catholic priest who recruits his friend, Victor Wong, a physics professor (Victor Wong, of Big Trouble in Little China), to draft a bunch of his best grad students to study a large vial of green liquid that is supposedly an ancient relic. The grad students, being people of science, find the assignment very silly, but it's definitely weird and has some unexplainable stuff going around it. On the base of the vial there is a Latin inscription that claims that the liquid is the essence of Satan, which will someday be used to bring back Satan's father to rule the Earth. Soon enough, the liquid finds its ways into the mouths of a few of the students, who become possessed. Dennis Dun of Big Trouble in Little China appears as one of the students. Highly recommended for fans of the director, and horror fans in general.
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An Apocalyptic Horror
sugar_daddyo24 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It has been more than 10 years since I have seen this movie, but it is clear from reading the user comments that no one understands the basic plot. It is a little heavy and presupposes some basic knowledge of physics, so I will do my best to explain it even though it has been 10+ years.

In a plot similar to the Da Vinci Code, Satan or Evil, unbeknownst to everyone, has been locked up and carefully guarded for millenia. However, the forces are starting to stir in an unusual manner, so the priest guarding the presence summons some scientists to study it setting in motion a chain of events that eventually bring about the return of ultimate evil to our world. We are gradually made aware of this because the scientists upon arriving at the church begin having unusual dreams. The dreams are messages from the future accomplished by tachyons which are particles that travel faster than the speed of light. A well known property of physics dictates that time slows to zero for particles that approach the speed of light and theoretically time goes backward if the particles "break" the speed of light. So we are to believe that humans in the future have developed tachyon transmissions to warn humans in the past (i.e. the present) and prevent an apocalyptic event. Unfortunately the transmission is jammed for some reason and never completed so the scientists do not know how to interpret the dream or in this case message.

Eventually the series of events climaxes when a possessed student tries to bring the ultimate evil to our world but is stopped by a lady scientist who tackles the possessed student and gets trapped in the alternate dimension, supposedly all is well.

However, the movie concludes when one of the scientists some time later finally receives the full transmission where it is revealed that at some time in the future the ultimate evil emerges from the church in the form of the lady scientist who got trapped.

For me this conclusion provides the thought provoking idea that the message that humans in the future were trying to communicate was that the lady scientist would become the ultimate evil. So we are left to wonder if anything could have been done to prevent the chain of events, tachyons or not! It's a rare horror that follows similar themes as Terminator which I give 7 out of 10.
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An Excellent,Scary,Atmospheric Underrated Horror Film. Carpenter At His Best.
jcbutthead863 June 2013
Prince Of Darkness is a scary,effective Horror film and is truly underrated. Filled with great direction,a wonderful cast,a creepy score and great special effects,Prince Of Darkness is John Carpenter at his best.

Prince Of Darkness tells the of priest Father Loomis(Donald Pleasence)who has discovered a secret that has been hidden in a church for many years:a green container that is holding a green liquid that represents the Father of Satan,an Anti-God that is pure evil. Now with the help of Physics teacher Professor Howard Birack(Victor Wong),his students and others Father Loomis has to stop the Anti-God or it will be doom for the world.

Prince Of Darkness is a great solid Underrated Horror film that not only marked the return of John Carpenter to the Horror genre but to his low budget roots as well. After the unfortunate box office failure of the excellent and brilliant classic the big budgeted Action Comedy Martial Arts Kung Fu film Big Trouble In Little China,Carpenter return to low budget films with two films the first film being Prince Of Darkness and the other film the Sci-Fi/Action classic They Live. Prince Of Darkess is the second film in Carpenter's great Apocalypse Trilogy beginning with The Thing and ending with In The Mouth Of Madness and right from the opening credits Prince Of Darkness pulls you into a horrifying nightmare that gives you a sense of dread and such impending doom a scary movie that scares you with the feel of fright and death all around. Carpenter with the ominous opening is telling us that nothing is going to be alright. POD at times feels like you are watching a dream(in fact there are several dream sequences in the film)where things are distorted and confusing and you're not sure of what is going on. What I also love about POD is the style and tone of the film because I look at the film POD has the style of an Italian Horror film mostly like the films of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci because like Italian Horror films POD has frightening and disturbing imagines that will put viewers on edge because you don't know what they are or what they're about. The tension and suspense in the film is like a tightrope and as the film goes on the tension and suspense starts to become scarier and more frightening. Carpenter is a master of claustrophobia and isolation whether it is The Thing,Halloween or Assault On Precinct 13 and POD is no exception and is truly filled with claustrophobia and isolation where the film's main characters are trapped on the inside and want to get out but are surrounded by evil. In many ways Carpenter has used the same story as Assault On Precinct 13 but instead of a police station and gangs it's a church and possess homeless people. With POD Carpenter asks a thought-provoking question what if a demon not just the Devil himself but an Anti-God,not God the creator of Heaven and Earth,but an evil God were to come into our world and brought evil onto our world with darkness and evil. Carpenter asks these questions with the characters mixing subjects of Religion,Science and physics. But pure evil can never ever be truly explained by anyone no matter what not by Religion,Science or Physics. POD also addresses the issues and conflicts between Science and Religion represented by the characters Father Loomis and Professor Birack but the issue in POD is handled really well and done with amazing intelligence,great writing and imagination. The pace of the film will bother some people where some people will think the film is slow but I love the pace of POD because like many Horror films of the 70s and 80s POD builds up the film with tension and atmosphere and when the Horror starts it never stops. The films main characters in the film are not always likable but at the same time they are not like slasher victims waiting to get killed off and you feel sorrow and sympathy for them when things go bad. The violence and gore is simple but effective and disturbing and fits in with the grim tone of this film. The ending of the film is classic Carpenter. It's a truly scary and shocking conclusion that's very bleak and like many Carpenter endings it ends on a cliffhanger. A great ending.

The cast does great jobs in their roles. Donald Pleasence is brilliant as Father Loomis,with Pleasence bring depth and sympathy to the role. Jameson Parker is great as Brian Marsh,one of Birack's students. Victor Wong is fantastic as Professor. Howard Birack and has great scenes with Pleasence. Lisa Blount is excellent and sexy as Catherine,Brian's love interest. Dennis Dun is wonderful as Walter,with Dun bringing Humor to the film. Alice Cooper is creepy in a non speaking role as Street Schizo. Susan Blanchard(Lisa)Peter Jason(Dr. Paul Leahy),Jesse Lawrence Ferguson(Caulder),Dirk Blocker(Mullins),Ann Yen(Lisa)and Anne Howard(Susan)give good performances as well.

The direction by John Carpenter is brilliant,with Carpenter always moving the camera while using great angles and giving the film a dark and creepy atmosphere. Great direction by Carpenter.

The score by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth is amazing,scary,intense and dark and fits the frightening tone of the film. There is also the great song Prince Of Darkness heard briefly in the film by Alice Cooper.

The special effects make-up by Frank Carrisosa is great,realistic and disturbing. Wonderful make-up effects by Carrisosa.

In final word,if you love John Carpenter or Horror films,you will love Prince Of Darkness,a scary and frightening Horror that is very underrated and is Carpenter at his best. Highly Recommended. 10/10.
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I happened to enjoy this film greatly.
Carnivorax-Pejoratus31 January 2004
This is certainly more of an intellectual movie than the usual horror fare. Much like "The Thing" (sort of the same plot development even.) the implications of the concepts in the film are what make it deeply disturbing. I haven't completely trusted a mirror since I saw this film, I doubt I ever will again.
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slow, good, creepy quasi-intellectual horror
clogsdon21 October 2005
I know more than one person who watched this film, claimed immediately after that it wasn't very scary and then called me a few hours later telling me that they were freaked out.

Highlight: For me, the best concept in the film is the video-feed dream sequence. Oh man! It's creepy and exceedingly ominous and the shaky-cam newsreel quality gives it an extra punch.

The plot: You don't have to be a genius to understand what is going on in this film, but you do need to pay attention. The supernatural physics is a little nonsensical, of the "Popular science" variety, but the basic premise is explained in layman terms.

The characters: Actually, while the "science" is hocus-pocus, I really liked that the film's characters were mostly grad students. The actors do a great job of portraying annoyed, skeptical science grad students. Horror flicks are filled with numbskull undergrads, and it is nice to see the hidden sector of college life revealed in its nerdy glory.

The skinny: I'd describe it as a Biblical/Lovecraft horror film. It's got the whole "evil universe" theme running alongside an effective "Hell breaks loose" plot.
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Time and place
mixedblood742 February 2011
OK, let's set a couple things straight before all you PoD hardliners start in on me. I will admit that I just saw PoD for the first time last night, however, I am not a novice. Although I was the target audience when this movie came out, it nevertheless slipped by me. Let me tell you that I like John Carpenter. I think anyone who created films on the caliber of Halloween and The Thing deserve to have their movies watched without any hesitation. Carpenter hit it out of the park with Halloween and followed it up with some classic 80's fare, including The Thing, Escape from New York, and Big Trouble in Little China. However, BTiLC was really the last best work until In the Mouth of Madness came along a decade later. What fell in between was a series of meandering, laborious, Saturday afternoon actor's workshop sessions of which PoD is a prime offender. So let me get to my point already...unless you saw Prince of Darkness at the time it came out and hold a sentimental connection to it, I don't think even a serious Carpenter fan can truly find value in it when compared to his other works.
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NO no noooooooo, this is BORING!!!!
cool_cool_118 February 2006
Prince of Darkness (1987) has to be one of the most boring horror films ever, John Carpenter really fails here, there's nothing good on offer, no excitement, no special effects, no gore, NOTHING!!! Just a bunch of boring characters trying to work out the mystery of this green liquid that possesses the essence of Satan and vows to take over the world and possess everyone, who cares, i couldn't sit through this, i fell asleep at the 40 minute mark...... god knows how i got that far into the film to be honest!!! If your a fan of Carpenter, then do yourself a favour and stick with "The Thing" or "Christine", at least they are exciting horror movies, with good special effects and interesting characters.

Prince of Darkness is horribly boring and i can only award this film 1/10.
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classic john carpenter
dx4lifexpac26 July 2000
Warning: Spoilers
John Carpenter has made some great movies, and some really bad ones. Prince of Darkness at times was a little slow and i was getting bored but it really picks up big time. there are some good scares and real good suspense. i'm not really into horror films that deal with the devil coming to earth. but this movie was classic i watched this since i am a fan of John Carpenter and Donald Pleasence, and i was happy with what i saw check out Prince of Darkness i give it 8/10
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One of the most underrated movies ever
mrmovie-3003311 September 2016
This Movie will end and you will have one of two opinions 1. It's one of the great movies ever or 2. It's just boring Seriously it's that simple it's not for everyone that's for sure It goes like this okay In a run down cellar in a church, a priest (Donald Pleasence) finds a weird vial That is filled with slime. Confused and frightened the priest Makes a call and brings his discovery to a circle of top scholars and scientists, who eventually learn the secret of the strange liquid and hell is unleashed But can they survive to tell the tale The cast is great carpenter really nails another movie with his directing It has a real classic feel to it I loved it try it
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Film handily shows the skills of a true genius of suspense and horror
General_Woundwort16 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't see this film when it came out in theaters, but caught it on late night television back in the 1990s. I was so enthralled by the concepts in it that I stopped watching it so I could rent the movie on VHS and not miss any of the parts I new television would cut out.To my surprise,there was hardly any violence and no real gore in the movie at all, yet it remains one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen.

There's something special about this movie and I can't quite put my finger on it. It has something to do with the imagery and deep primal questions in our psyche that John Carpenter just seems to have a knack for tapping in to. Fears that we've been deceived by the church for millenia. That there may not be a Heaven as we've envisioned it, and that "Hell" not only exists, but its much, much worse than we feared. That the devil is actually some Sauron-like uber cruel and powerful alien life form from another dimension. These are terrifying concepts, even more so because the film lets your imagination do almost all of the work.

What imagery that is present is truly terrifying for some reason. There is something extremely disturbing about the dream sequence that the team of students keeps having. When the dark figure with the robes finally started coming towards the camera, I about jumped out of my chair. Its nearly impossible to walk by the dresser mirror in your darkened bedroom after seeing this film without at least a chill running down your spine. The special effects are few and far between, and were done on a tiny budget, but all of them are suspenseful and effective looking. Especially the hand in the mirror. Alice Coopers cameo contains one of the most terrifying lines in the movie: "I have a message for you, and you're not going to like it". After this film is over, you realize you've seen hardly anything in the way of monsters, but you've still been imbued with a palpable feeling of hopelessness and fear that will last for several evenings after the viewing.

This film is shinning example of what can be done with a shoestring budget on a film. A good horror film takes a set of absurd postulates, and for a brief moment, makes them seem very real. P.O.D. manages to pull this off....highly recommended if you are a horror and suspense buff. Watch it alone or with your girlfriend in a dark room....I guarantee you she won't want to sleep alone that night.
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Highly Underrated Imaginative Horror Piece.
genrommel12 October 2003
Among the many great John Carpenter classics such as Halloween, Escape From New York and The Thing, his 1987 sleeper Prince of Darkness is often forgotten. The film centers around the return of Satan and a wonderfully eclectic group of scientists and religious figures who attempt to battle for the survival of humanity. Wonderfully cast with such John Carpenter screen regulars as Donald Pleaseance and Victor Wong we also get to see Alice Cooper as one of Satan's evil minions. The film fails in the respect that this movie can't possibly be scary or believable to anyone who isn't of Christian faith. Never the less it has great scary moments, witty dialogue and fabulous cinematography for the non-Christian horror film lover as well. Fans of religious based horror films will love finding this "diamond in the rough."
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A Serious Atmospheric Horror Movie
tabuno18 January 2019
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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