Prince of DarknessPrince of Darkness

Prince of Darkness” (1987), Directed by John Carpenter, Rated R

I feel like I can’t make a horror film list without mentioning John Carpenter – it just isn’t possible.

I mean…Halloween. The Thing. And, to a lesser extent…The Fog.  So, with this list’s theme being an appreciation for the lesser known, I’ve decided to go with what is probably Carpenter’s least remembered film – PRINCE OF DARKNESS.

The premise behind this is a tad peculiar, but in its own way, this is what makes it interesting. Think horror and…quantum physics. Instead of Sci-Fi/Horror, we have Sci-Fact/Horror? Well…not really. Apparently, Carpenter was inspired to make this film after he developed an interest in quantum physics and was researching it. (People actually develop passing fascinations with quantum physics?) After watching this movie again, I can definitely see where Carpenter was going with this, but his ideas don’t really gel into a cohesive whole. That, and from what

I’m told, his grip on the scientific side of his ideas really don’t hold up under much scrutiny.

Still, I don’t want you to think I don’t like this film. Adam recently told me that he felt reluctant to publish my WOLFEN review because it came off like I didn’t like the film. There is much to like in “Prince of Darkness“, though this will probably be one of the most polarizing films I’ll recommend on here. One of the reasons for this is the reason why the film is usually trashed by so many people – its ideas and science. I believe it to be a rather novel approach, even if it doesn’t fully succeed. But because of this, Carpenter must try to inform you on his scientific approach, and this does mean that the first 45 minutes of the movie are a lot of characters talking scientific jargon. If you can hang with it through that, you will be treated to some good ol’ horror the way only Carpenter can do it.

I read a very good plot summary of this movie somewhere, so just this once I’m going to cheat and place it here: While investigating the death of an aging colleague, a priest uncovers the existence of the Brotherhood of Sleep, a secret order within the Catholic Church. In the basement of the Brotherhood’s St Goddard’s priory in San Francisco, the priest finds a strange cylinder of glowing green liquid. He brings in Howard Birac, a physics professor friend, to investigate the cylinder. Birac brings several graduate students with him but the more they look, the more puzzling the cylinder becomes – the text surrounding it contains a set of ancient differential equations written in Latin and the canister itself is carbon-dated at being seven million years old and appears to locked so that it can only be opened from the inside. The canister then comes to life, the liquid entering the mouths of and taking over several of the students and animating the derelicts outside the church. The team discover that they have woken what the texts call the ‘prince of darkness’, the Devil, which is in fact part of an anti-universe that exists at a quantum level inside our own, waiting to take over and occlude this universe.

Now let’s have the trailer back this up:

Not a bad little

film here. Not at all.

INTERESTING TRIVIA: The screenplay for this movie is credited to a “Martin Quatermass”. In actuality, the film was written by John Carpenter; “Quatermass” is a reference to THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT, a film by writer Nigel Kneale (whom Carpenter greatly admires and pays tribute to with this film

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Written by Josh

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