Prince of Darkness was the third John Carpenter movie I saw ever, before that I was delighted with Big Trouble in Little China, and had found my favourite horror movie with The Things (Jaws is not a horror film, it’s an adventure movie).I remember seeing print ads for it on the back of the comic books I was reading at the time, and saw that it had that guy from Simon & Simon.
I was okay with it the first time I watched it on VHS, having rented it with a slew of other tapes for the weekend, as I began dipping my foot in the horror pond, something that took me awhile. Over the years, however, I’ve grown to enjoy it more and more, an apocalyptic tale, the combining of science with the spiritual, as a dark power threatens to rise – an anti-god particle, a vile liquid, and the idea that mirrors can be doorways.
Jameson Parker is Brian, one of Professor Birack’s (Victor Wong) quantum physics students, and they are approached by a Priest (Donald Pleasance) to conduct an investigation at a closed down church, a church which holds a secret, a canister that appears to contain a trapped liquid, a liquid with strange, sentient, properties, that begins to infect Brian’s fellow researchers, in an effort to infect the populace, and maintain a physicality long enough to free something,darker, primal, known to religions as the father of Satan, a being, an anti-god that is tied to a realm of anti-matter.
There are ancient texts, creepy homeless people (including Alice Cooper), bugs aplenty, physical transformations, and a shared dream, which may be a message from the future about the dire straits that the world is in because of what is unleashed from the church.
This is one that really gets to me now, and I love that it does. I love the combination of religion and science, and the bit of background about this creature we get from the texts, that in turn end up being really creepy, and lend themselves to some really spooky moments in the film.
I also love the fact that there are a lot of familiar actors in the film, Dennis Dun, Lisa Blount, and Jessie Lawrence Ferguson. That, and you add in a script by Carpenter, as well as a score by same, and you have a solid entry into Carpenter’s oeuvre, and one that joins In the Mouth of Madness and The Thing as part of his apocalypse trilogy.
The more I think about it,the more I enjoy this one. It may not have wowed me a lot when I was a goofy teen, and honestly, some of the scares and effects may have been too much for me at the time, now I revel in it. I do like me some John Carpenter!