Sunday, September 27, 2020

Prince of Darkness

Movie Name: Prince of Darkness
Year of Release: 1987
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Donald Pleasance, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker, Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard, Anne Marie Howard, Ken Wright, Dirk Blocker, Peter Jason, Thom Bray, Ann Yen, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson
Genre: Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
After the wonderful "Big Trouble in Little China" was met with little support from the studio, and the troubled production he had to endure, John Carpenter retreated to the Indie film arena, where he tackled firstly "Prince of Darkness", which he quickly followed with the corrosive "They Live". "Prince of Darkness", which John Carpenter also wrote under the guise of Martin Quatermass, follows the story of a Priest, who invites a Physicist Professor and some of his students, to join him in the basement of a monastery in order to investigate a mysterious cylinder that has been found, with a swirling green liquid. The liquid seems to be sentient, and embodies evil itself. It also latches to some of the members of the group who become possessed. All the while, a growing group of schizophrenic homeless people surround the building. As the group further theorizes about what is happening, they realize a more sinister entity is planning on making its way to this dimension, and it's up to them to prevent this from happening.
Though "Prince of Darkness" is considered a minor effort in director John Carpenter's career, it's still a film that is ripe with his trademarks, and one worth watching. The director once again, manages to assemble an interesting array of characters under a claustrophobic environment, coupled with this ominous presence and threat, which keeps escalating. Much like "The Thing" or even "Halloween", the closed of spaces, are not so much a salvation, but a breeding ground for danger. Though the film is unable to create an iconic or sufficiently impactful figure of darkness, it succeeds in creating an atmosphere of end of times, of general paranoia and fear. The director smartly never shows much of that menacing figure that is lurking, but also fails to truly define its intents. The cast is lead by the late Donald Pleasance, who embraces the character wholeheartedly, while Victor Wong and Dennis Dun return from "Big Trouble in Little China", and supply able support. Though not as esteemed as some of his other films, it's entertaining and worth watching, from a uniquely gifted director.