Director: John Carpenter
Style: Demonic Adventure Horror
Did ya know: Donald Pleasence plays Father Loomis, a reference to his character in Halloween. This is the second film in John Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy. The first being The Thing and the third being In the Mouth of Madness. This was the first movie that Carpenter had done independently since Escape from New York.
Prince of Darkness is boring. Not the, turn it off and do something else boring. But the, maybe if I lean close enough and stop talking it might get better, kind of boring. This all star cast that had mostly worked with Carpenter before, did about as good as they could have. It wasn't like John Carpenter was choosing out of the A-List category here. I mean we get a good variety. Donald Pleasence, he worked with Carpenter on Halloween. Dennis Dun and Victor Wong both worked with him on Big Trouble in Little China. He chooses from the people he knows. In the future he will even pull new actors from this movie into his other productions. Susan Blanchard goes on to work in They Live.
I am sorry for rambling... my point is this. When you are choosing from such a small community you really limit what you have to work with. Sometimes you are blessed with awesome actors, other times you have to make do with what you have. I think John Carpenter has that problem. He has to make do with what he has.
That being said. Prince of Darkness is a pretty decent movie, for being a Carpenter flick. It still holds that gritty grimy grind-house style that he likes to use. I think that is why it seems so out of place. I don't know. It feels like John Carpenter was trying to be Steven Spielberg. He wanted to make every movie feel like a Goonies type adventure. This just had that vibe. The movie does have some really creepy scenes and captures, pretty well, some decently creepy "found footage" stuff.
The movie is about a group of college students, a professor, and a priest that stay overnight in a creepy church in Los Angeles. In the basement of the church there is a weird cylinder that has a weird creepy green liquid in it, that liquid is either the Anti-Christ or a demon. Something evil. The liquid is sentient and begins to possess the students. Meanwhile, everyone is having weird dreams that actually turn out to be neurally-transmitted messages from the future. The dreams/messages are warning the students. They show something creepy and evil hovering in a church doorway. Its weird. The green liquids motive is to possess a body and have that body pull the Devil himself from a mirror.
The storyline is hard to grasp at times, it doesn't help that most of the film is inaudible. Donald Pleasance and Victor Wong speak in mumbles and half-tones. It's a wonder I figured anything about the movie out. This film still feels a lot like Big Trouble in Little China, released the year before. There are really campy moments that completely make this movie an icon of its era. There are others that make me sit back and scratch my head. However, this is a pretty decent eighties movie and a great installment to the 31 movies of Halloween.