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Prince of Darkness

USA 1987
produced by
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

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Flix.com

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.

 


Flix.com

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 development.

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.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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