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I have to come right out and say it: Whoever doesn’t love John Carpenter can go to hell. Hell. Hmm… interesting, because Prince of Darkness has lots to do with hell, which is obvious in the title. Now that I think about it, how does one become the Prince of Darkness? Is there a ceremony? If Satan is the Prince of Darkness, then who is the King of Darkness? Jerry Lewis? Val Kilmer? I didn’t realize Hell was a Monarchy. And if that’s the case, does that mean all the countries like Canada, England and Australia are going to Hell, while the good ol’ USA goes to Heaven? Yeah! Score one for ‘Merica!
With my trusty, ice cold, watery beer(s) at my side, I fight for Good and attempt to put Prince of Darkness in its place… my DVD player.
So, right away we see some old Priest doing what old people do, die, as he lets go of a box. But what’s in it? This is when we meet our cast of characters who are suppose to be students at a college, but they look more like the parents of the students. Just how old are these supposed ‘kids’? But, the main character, Brian (Jameson Parker), really bothers me. It’s not his acting or anything. It’s that his mustache is uneven. Seriously, just look at it! Every time he is on screen, I just stare at it and stop paying attention to what is going on. I got off topic there for a second. I would blame the booze, but… look at the thing when you watch this. Anyway, they are taught by Professor Howard Birack played by Victor Wong, and I think he teaches some sort of Physics class when they are approached by a John Carpenter regular Donald Pleasance playing a Priest trying to protect the world from evil… a role I’m sure we’re all familiar seeing Donald Pleasance in. The Priest, Father Loomis (I guess he gave up being a doctor and became a father) is seeking their help to investigate this room and a mysterious cylinder in the basement of the derelict Los Angeles church. The cylinder looks a lot like this thing I bought from Spencer’s Gifts, but it’s no toy. It is, as they later find out after a theology student, Lisa, translates some text from the old book, the Devil. Yes, the Devil is a weird swirling green, gooey thing. Who knew? I always thought he was like some dude with long hair and a coat or a beast of some kind, but nope. Turns out, he’s a nothing more than a party favor a stoner buys to stare at for hours.
In a well paced manner, bizarre things begin to happen and people start to die. This is when the movie starts to get creepy. One character gets impaled with a unicycle by a homeless Alice Cooper (imagine having that engraved on your tombstone) and another is stabbed to death with scissors by a homeless Adrianne Barbeau. Not to mention, this student also comes back from the dead to deliver a message in the most nightmarish vision: His voice is distorted as he tells them to “Pray for Death,” then falls to pieces as little black bugs scatter everywhere! Not only that, Satan in his liquid form, sprays a few of the students in the mouth (mostly by one of the students regurgitating the liquid in to each other’s mouths) to possess them. When they are possessed, they literally stand around and just stare blankly. It freaks me out, their expressionless faces. Another one of the students, Kelly, forms a bruise which is actually a marking. She eventually becomes host to Satan, and as the group discovers, whose goal is to bring forth an ‘Anti-God’…something more powerful than Satan! My guess is that it would be Charlie Sheen.
By now you’re probably wondering why they don’t leave the church. It’s because Satan has himself an Army of crazy homeless people on guard twenty four hours surrounding the place! It seems like Satan has himself a better army than Canada.
While all this is going on, the remaining survivors are having weird dreams that are just down right unnerving. They play like old school VHS tapes as a distorted voice warns them of the impending doom, hoping that they will be able to alter the events and prevent the Apocalypse. But do these kids (again they seem so young and not at all like they are 30 year olds), their professor and Donald Pleasance have what it takes to stop the Devil from bringing the Anti-God into our world and prevent the end of everything as we know it? Well, since it’s a John Carpenter movie and it’s the second movie in his “Apocalypse Trilogy”…
It disappointed me to find out that when this movie first came out in theaters, it bombed. Critics and fans disliked it, but luckily in the past decade, it has a newfound appreciation and some even say it’s almost as suspenseful as The Thing, which I believe it is. The pacing in this movie is very well done and it never feels like there is a dull moment. The atmosphere and the possessed characters are truly unnerving and frightening and you get a sense of isolation (again, much like The Thing) since they are trapped inside a church. Even the concept of Satan in liquid form is pretty cool. May not be the best interpretation of him, but it’s pretty creative. Prince of Darkness is a good example of why I love John Carpenter’s work. He gets horror. The only thing I would have changed is that friggin’ mustache on Jameson Parker’s face.
Check out the trailer from “The Prince of Darkness”