Prince of Darkness
Larry J. Franco, Andre Blay (executive), Shep Gordon (executive) for Alive Films, Universal
directed by John Carpenter
starring Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard, Anne Marie Howard, Ann Yen, Ken Wright, Dirk Blocker, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, Peter Jason, Robert Grasmere, Thom Bray, Joanna Merlin, Alice Cooper, Betty Ramey, Jessie Ferguson
written by John Carpenter (as Martin Quatermass), music by John Carpenter, Alan Howarth, special effects by Kevin Quibell, visual effects by Jim Danforth, Robert Grasmere
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A priest (Donald Pleasence) discovers a cylinder in an abandoned church
that contains the son of the devil - obviously in the form of a green
liquid. Quickly realizing this thing is too big for him to handle alone,
he invites scientist Birack (Victor Wong) and several of his students to
examine the phenomenon - not a good idea because soon enough the church is
surrounded by zombies (including Alice Cooper), and somehow the liquid has
escaped the cylinder and turned several of the students into zombies as
well, until only a handful of our protagonists, including Birack, the
priest, sort-of hero Brian (Jameson Parker) and his love interest
Catherine (Lisa Blount) are not yet affected, but the zombies are closing
in on them, which is even more menacing because they are both on the
inside and the outside.
But actually, it's something else the son of Satan wants: to drag his
father back into the real world from a mirror in which he is caught - and
to this end he possesses Kelly (Susan Blanchard) who soon enough has found
the mirror and starts pulling daddy out ... but in the meantime the humans
have gone on the offensive, and in the grand finale, while hero Brian is
fighting off zombies, Catherine pushes Kelly into the mirror - even if
that means she falls into the mirror as well, after which the priest
smashes the mirror, saving the world but leaving Brian heartbroken.
Above all, Prince of Darkness is an exercise in atmosphere and
suspense, and director John Carpenter (rather unsurprisingly) proves to be
a master in both respects, the film quite simply is tense and creepy as
can be. That said however, Prince of Darkness is far from being a
masterpiece, the story of the film is quite trashy and ridiculous, mainly
a conglomeration of genre clichés, plus it lacks proper buildup, and all
the characters in the film are completely flat and show no sign of
This doesn't say of course that Prince of Darkness is a total
loss, it's an interesting (if clinical) demonstration of horror mechanics
- just don't expect much more.