Prince of Darkness Movie Review

Release: 1987, Rating: R, Runtime: 102 min.

I call myself a John Carpenter fan and here I was, never having seen Prince of Darkness before. Well, that all changed, as I finally got around to popping that DVD in and giving it a spin. So, was it worth the wait, or should I have let it be and keep it a mystery? Read on the devilish results…

Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world. 

Prince of Darkness is a hard story to describe. I can try my best, but I’ll still be confusing the shit out of you. The story has a group of psych majors, investigating a weird canister containing some sort of growing entity (hint: the devil) and a priest, played by John Carpenter alum, Donald Pleasence, wants to figure everything out, before it’s too late and try to stop it… I think. A bunch of weird shit happens and people start getting possessed and hobos come out of the wood works and are usually covered in bugs. Oh yeah, one of those hobos is Alice Cooper.

Honestly, I can’t really describe Prince of Darkness to you, as I don’t even really know what the hell the movie was really about. Yet, I find myself wanting to watch it again, to decipher the hidden meaning behind it. So, score one for the movie.

Prince of Darkness has everything a John Carpenter fan could ask for. A groovy synth score, an awesome moody opening and tons of visual flair and special effects. The only thing it might have against it, is the completely confusing story and psychobabble nonsense, often spoken by the entire cast of characters in the film. Besides that, it’s a trippy, eerie ride, that’s damn good looking, considering the budget they had ($3 million).

Although, I think half the budget went to this guy’s glorious mustache.

This is a really hard movie to rate. On one hand, the story is pretty damn confusing and at times just complete nonsense. On the other hand, the movie has several creepy and often times alluring moments that keep you invested. It does feel like it runs a little long, but there is a ton of stuff happening in the movie (like I said, mostly confusing stuff) and come the end of the film, you’ll probably have a strange feeling of wanting to watch it again.

I have to say, for being the second movie in  Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy”, with The Thing being the first and In the Mouth of Madness being the last, Prince of Darkness is the least effective of the three. In the Mouth of Madness and this movie seem to be long lost sisters, as their plots have some similarities, but Madness suppresses this in the story department (look for a review of In the Mouth of Madness in the near future) and The Thing is just brilliance in celluloid form. Still, Prince of Darkness is and always will be,  a Carpenter classic and if you haven’t see it yet, give it watch. Just excuse it’s poorly contrived and absolutely convoluted story.


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