It would be hard to argue that the 80’s horror movie scene wasn’t ruled by John Carpenter. The Fog, The Thing, and Christine were a few of the best. Even action movies like They Live and Big Trouble in Little China had some elements of horror. Throw in Halloween from 1978 and you have a career that today’s horror writers/directors can only dream of having! I had seen the movies I listed above, but never seen one of Carpenter’s more obscure flicks, Prince of Darkness. I can’t remember any other movies which focus on the return of the Devil, and since there isn’t a chance in HELL of me seeing the most recent Devil movie, I thought I’d give this one a shot.
A priest in LA on his way to deliver a message to the Cardinal has died. He was a member of an organization known as The Sect. Their job was to guard a secret cylinder of green liquid held deep in the basement of an old church. But lately there has been a strange energy around the cylinder, and a group of scientists are working together with the church to decipher what this new disturbance means. The scientists are lead by Professor Birack and some of his best physicist colleagues. When they arrive they notice some weird things almost immediately. Besides the energy readings coming from the cylinder, there seems to be a lot of bums just standing around the church staring for hours. In fact they don’t even move, and they are pale like zombies. Along with the scientist, a young historian has been recruited to transcribe a book kept by The Sect for thousands of years. The book states that the cylinder is filled with the essence of Satan, the son of the Anti-God, and that one day the Prince of Darkness will rise again and bring his father to earth from another realm. It just so happens that day is today!
I won’t go too deep into the story because a lot of it is buildup to the end. But let me say the buildup is creepy as shit! If you have issues with gross insects or crazy black men who laugh uncontrollably and stare into mirrors you might need to have someone with you when you watch this movie. The cylinder actually shoots out some type of liquid energy that takes over the soul of the person it touches and that’s how the Devil accomplishes his work. He is also able to control the minds of the weak, hence all the zombie bums outside. But eventually he must take a human form and that was pretty disturbing as well!
One thing you’ll notice about this movie is that Carpenter has gone back to his wheelhouse for actors. Donald Pleasence from Halloween, and both Victor Wong and Dennis Dun from Big Trouble have huge parts in this movie. You’ll also see Peter Jason who later appeared in They Live. Plus pay attention to the leader of the zombie bums, it’s Alice Cooper! Carpenter definitely does his thing in this movie, using story lines which some people might view as taboo to scare the pants off you. There is definitely a few knocks on the church, mostly made by the priest himself as he questions how the church can keep such a secret from humanity so long. If you are a true fan of John Carpenter then this is a must see. I would definitely watch it again this Halloween season. I give Prince of Darkness 3.5 humans consumed by black insects out of 5!