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on February 1, 2012
This has to be my favorite J Carpenter film as it deals with the basic age old dilemma of good vs evil, science vs religion. The twist to this confrontation is an existing cylindrical ooze swirling filled chamber located in the sub terranean level beneath a Catholic Church (apparently a secret to all except a monk-like order who has guarded it for thousands of years and whomever happens to be the priest du jour).

Long story short, the information falls into the hands of Donald Pleasance (Catholic Clergyman) who in turn turns to an old friend, who happens to teach theoretical science at a local university, for help. Students of various specialties are recruited to aid in the study of this cylinder.

Biblical external warnings are subtle and not so subtle at times. There are catatonic homeless surrounding the church (Alice Cooper playing more than a cameo role as one of the homeless), who seem to resent the presence of the clergy as well as those of science in the church, I wont be a spoiler and mention the other warnings.

The Cylindrical Chamber is discovered to be a prison....and as expected its prisoner has escaped. The film concentrates on the effects the escaped "prisoner" has on each character. Also who the prisoner is and what lengths are gone to to free it permanently are clever and unique.
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on September 26, 2017
Extremely rare director's commentary.
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on April 8, 2000
First let say that i am delighted to see so many other positive reviews by just everyday movie watchers as myself.The critics just seem to love to tear up horror films and they didn't make any acceptions with this one.I am happy to say that i disagree with them-AGAIN!.The cinematography is great ,the mood music is really creepy and the acting is pretty good also.The director made an honest attempt to make you sympathize with the characters and really begin to root for them during the movie. I found myself even liking the characters that were suppose to be the doubting thomases of the group.The special effects are great and of course there is plenty of gore to go around.I love the strong female leads that carried the story along and felt that it kind of helped playdown the characteristic role of the weaker sex shown in other movies where the hero always had to come to her rescue and of course having her faint dead away into his arms-very romantic but not very realistic.I really liked this movie and would have given it five stars but had to subtract one for kind of a weak story line.Other than that i highly recommend this as another excellant piece of work by John Carpenter.Remember to keep those lights on while watching this one!
I purchased the blue ray version and glad i did. They did a really good job cleaning up the video and audio and besides you get some extra's(which is the main reason i bought this version.I have watched it several times on the regular dvd but really liked the interviews on the extra's especially. You get to listen to Alice Cooper(getting older has been rough on the dude),also John Carpenter and also the guy who said that famous line- spoiler coming up if you have never seen the movie "I have a message for you and your not going to like it!" Also a tour of some of the shot locations with a dude guide.
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on November 16, 2016
If you're a Carpenter fan, this is a must-see. If you don't know who John Carpenter is, but love cheesy 80's horror that links Ol' Scratch with floppy disks, you will love this film. It's just a bunch of kitschy fun. And who doesn't love Donald Pleasance, the Phil Collins of cinema?
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on October 8, 2015
THE STORY: A small group of college students & their professors are cryptically invited to spend the weekend in an abandoned rundown church, tasked with analyzing an ages-old container of gooey green glop discovered in the church's catacombs. These eggheads end up battling Ultimate Evil because, you see, the funky substance swirling within the corroded vessel is apparently the Devil himself - albeit in liquid form?!? Will anyone survive this supernatural confrontation?

THOUGHTS: The script for PoD was in need of some minor conceptual changes and major re-writes before filming began, IMHO. Confusing tale of the nature of evil is a disjointed journey into sort-of terror. Normally on-the-money director John Carpenter fumbles the ball with this head-scratching mess. Lots of good actors on hand who turn in decent performances, but the situation isn't explained well enough nor is it very believable, even on its own terms. For a John Carpenter-directed horror movie about The Church vs. Satan, this mish-mash is a discouraging misfire. There are some great horror moments, but your overall enjoyment will be directly tied to how big a fan you are of either the genre OR the director (or both). I love John Carpenter, unfortunately I just could not get into this film. Like I said, the script (by Carpenter, writing under the amusing pseudonym of Martin Quatermass) is a barrage of wildly diverse ideas that just doesn't gel. For me, Carpenter's earlier works remain his best.

THE BLU-RAY: The good news is that fans of this film are treated to a very nice Blu-ray release from Shout!Factory. Really solid picture with strong blacks and no pixelation or overuse of DNR. Good old film grain is evident, too. All of which is a big positive since much of this film takes place in dimly-lit hallways, murky subterranean chambers and outside after sundown. The soundmix is strong & steady. A healthy dose of bonus features have been included to help up the value here as well, so if you own a BR player and are a fan of PRINCE OF DARKNESS then buying this Blu-ray is an easy recommendation. Others may wish to rent first. I can only barely give it a modest 3 STARS. I much prefer HALLOWEEN or THE THING for my Carpenter horror fix.
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on May 12, 2015
For the diehard fans out there of John Carpenter and of particularly PRINCE OF DARKNESS, this review is for you. Chances are, this is as good as it is going to get for this film. Germany and Japan have had their own blu-rays, and neither seem to actually stand up to this. Remembering that this was (As they themselves said) Scream!Factory's most requested title, let't take a look.

There has been some talk of edge enhancement. It doesn't seem that bad. Definitely not noticible to me anyway, and I've been watching the Universal DVD for the past eight years. What is noticible is that the increased color range and sharpening make a difference. Details are great, even if the anamorphic lenses used on the film blurred the edges of the frame a bit. But it does effect things like Alice Cooper's make up in the film. He's no longer a pasty white anylonger, more natural fleshtones are apparent. No one has heard, nor did Shout - mention that Carpenter or Gary B. Kibbe supervised this transfer so I guess it's really up to the consumer as to what they want. But such details.

It's great. Noticible differences from previous DVD copies - the scene where the Priest is talking to his superiors in the court yard at the beginning has more audiable sprinkler sounds. Just great stuff. The soundtrack pops well.

This is what we've all come for, right? I really wish I knew what the making of this disc was like. Before this, if you wanted a really good disc of PRINCE OF DARKNESS, you either got the British DVD or if you really wanted the creme de la creme, the Caheirs du Cinema DVD of the film. Not every special feature in the world is included on this blu-ray. Maybe that's a good thing. The introduction and scene analysis features from the French DVD have been said to be lackluster. What Scream! self produced is great. Interestingly enough, Carpenter looks better than he did in other Scream! produced featurettes. And though some of what he says is repeated in the audio commentary (Taken from the European/Studio Cannal release), the repetition comes with greater details to his anecdotes. The Alice Cooper interview kind of sucks, certain questions didn't seem to have been answered, such as his song PRINCE OF DARKNESS - was it written for the film? We hear it in the film and it wasn't released officially on an album until 1988. The Robert Grasmere interview is full of great stuff. He remembers the film fondly and vividly, even bringing with him some props to show. Alan Howarths' interview plays more like an overview of his time working with Carpenter than about the POD score specifically.

To bring this up, the alternate for TV edit of the begining. Yes, it comes with everything that the fabled TV edit is supposed to come with. They don't include things like Donald Pleasance actually reading the diary via ADR over the footage that is already there in the theatrical cut, but it's great stuff. Great stuff.

A trailer is there, but it comes with two radio spots as well. Sweet. A TV spot has surfaced on youtube, but eh, make your own second disc for this release!

Horror's haunted grounds is fun, though not really substantially. A fun piece.

An obvious easter egg is a video from the 25th anniversary screening Q and A. It's okay. Nothing in depth.

If you are a fan and want more, either wait for stuff to pop up on the internet to download or buy this release. And I do suggest you buy it. Sure, it doesn't have a booklet with some well written articles on the film (and they're out there), and it doesn't have the video of the premiere at Universal Studios (which could have been bought by Getty Images for $500), but it's great none the less. Buy it now. Don't need to be an alien from THEY LIVE to tell you that.
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on December 30, 2004
The movie begins with an old priest dying as he clutches a strange little box to his chest. Father Loomis (played by Donald Pleasence) takes the key and discovers the two thousand year old secret hidden beneath the church, strange vat that is now beginning to come alive with green goo.

Loomis goes to Professor Howard Birack (played by Victor Wong) who lectures on parapsychology at the local college, and requests that he and his students join him at the church to study the peculiar icon. Birack brings along his students, Brian, Catherine, and Walter (plus expendables) where they meet Loomis at the church, ready to spend the night there with the radiologists and biologists and other specialists Loomis has lured towards their doom.

John Carpenter has filled `Prince Of Darkness' with as much creeping dread as `The Thing', `Into The Mouth Of Madness', and `Assault On Precinct 13'. The tone of his `Doom-Doom' soundtrack makes even a vat of green goo seem very sinister. And sinister it is. After luring Susan to the basement to take a peek at it, she notices that the goo is dripping upwards, just before our friendly vat gives her a taste. Now Susan wants to share the flavor with everyone else.

The goo wants to spread itself around, and Birack discovers that it is sentient and has a purpose. With the homeless people acting as minions to the goo and trapping the Priest and students inside, they must put their heads together and discover not only what the goo wants from them, but what it is trying to achieve through them.

`Prince Of Darkness' is a creepy, suspenseful horror flick, perfect for those nights alone with no one to cuddle except your plush Cthulhu. Donald Pleasence and Victor Wong give excellent performances, and Dennis Dun (playing Walter) has always been one of my favorite character actors. Suspense, rotting people, crazy bums, Alice Cooper, sinister atmosphere, beetles, zombies, stabbings, senseless spoutings of false wisdom, and green goo. What more could a horror fan wish for?

On a personal humor note, see if you do not find yourself wishing that every time Brian (played by Jameson Parker) looks into the mirror, he will catch onto how horridly ridiculous his moustache is and shave that dang thing off! Enjoy the movie!
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on July 16, 2003
Well Good old John Carpentar is back at with the horror classic Prince of Darkness. John has given the public a great classic horror film that brings the felling of the old time horror films of that time period, combine that with zombie's, bugs, a creppy score, and the devil himself, and you have got a good old fashioned horror film. But with the positives come the negatives, though the movie is good, it comes with alot of logic,science, and math,that some might find intresting, others might begin to snooze. Character wise he has enough 2-d characters that are killed off, or possessed, and enough real characters that we want to see what happens to them, overall the movie comes with an intersting plot about the devil and Jesus being from space, and the Prince of Darkness being trapped in a container, that is when a group of mathimaticans and scientists are brought in (the group are students who believe they are getting extra credit)to examine the container. As they do Homeless gather around the building surrounding them (Carpentar's favorite formula for a movie, to trap his characters)and the prince of Darkness escapes his confines and begins to take control of the students one by one, untill he reaches his real goal, to bring his father into our world. John Carpentars Prince of Darkness, if Horror movies continue on the path that there on then God Help us.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 15, 2006
I haven't seen Prince of Darkness in over a decade. Still, the memory of the chills the movie evoked in me lingers. I first saw it in a run-down, claustrophobic movie theatre in Champagne, Illinois during a midnight showing and let me tell you, John Carpenter had the people shrieking their hearts out and jumping out of their seats (yep, including me). I had so much fun I went back the following night just to witness the unsuspecting viewers re-enact my conniptions. There's one scene where Jameson Parker's character is in bed and turns around...well, I just dare you to not have a reaction. Prince of Darkness may be my favorite John Carpenter flick, with great respect to Halloween and Escape from New York.

Here's a quick plot breakdown: theoretical physics professor Howard Birack and his students join conflicted priest Father Loomis in investigating something kept in the basement of a deserted Los Angeles church. That something, it turns out, is Satan in captive soup form, having been guarded for countless years by a clandestine sect of the Church. But now, Satan is finally strong enough to re-emerge and once again walk on our world...Can old time religion and quantum physics vanquish the Prince of Darkness?

I really like Jameson Parker (of Simon & Simon fame) as Brian Marsh. Parker plays his low-key grad student with a quiet gravity. His selling point to the audience seems to be that he's so head over heels in love with Catherine. More than any other character in the film, the movie watcher will empathize with Brian Marsh and feel for him as he undergoes his share of harrowing experiences. Lisa Blount's red-headed Catherine Danforth is the girl of Brian's dreams and Lisa does her best in her one-note damsel-in-distress role but, really, she doesn't get a lot of opportunities to shine. Donald Pleasence emotes greatly as Father Loomis, a priest who has lost his faith and must now challenge Old Scratch himself. Victor Wong and Dennis Dun are fresh off Big Trouble in Little China and bring their respective sage and sidekick routines into the fray. Two fun characters. Lastly, Alice Cooper has a murderous cameo as a creepy street person.

This is a gem of a horror movie, with touches of humor and a surprisingly potent love story. There isn't a dull spot, not a shot wasted, from the initial set-up to the apocalyptic world-at-stake finale. John Carpenter fiendishly uses every scene to instill a sense of dread and foreboding within the viewer. The jagged, black-and-white dream sequences are particularly eerie and unsettling. Carpenter himself scores the movie (as he often does) and his synthesized music is very effective here, tremendously helping to nurse and escalate the sense of tension and fear.

By the end, you'll ask yourself - how far would you go to save the one you love? The nerve-wracking ending leaves open the possibility of a follow-up film but it doesn't look like John Carpenter wants to make it. Shame, that. But see this one. You'll never look at a mirror in the same way again.
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on May 30, 2016
I have always thought that John Carpenter's Prince Of Darkness (1987) is one of his least appreciated works, even by cult movie standards. The special effects may not hold up very well but name me a movie from the 1980s in which one does. It's a unique concept I think. Inspired by the director's studies of quantum physics during the period along with classic gothic horror influences such as Hammer Films, it's one of his scariest works along with Halloween (1978), The Thing (1982) and In The Mouth Of Madness (1995). The dread and atmosphere is all there and a beautifully textured musical score to go along with it. The intellectual dialouge among the characters is hard to follow at times, you can tell Carpenter was heavy into his studies and even the character development is far from perfect but being with so much other elements going on, it is to be expected and doesn't ruin the film one bit in my mind. Not as fun or satirical as Big Trouble In Little China (1986) or They Live (1988) and not as praised as either, it's still a worthy expiriment in what Carpenter calls his Apcalypse Trilogy, beginning with The Thing and concluding with In The Mouth Of Madness.
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