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Prince of Darkness

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Product Details

  • Actors: Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Writers: John Carpenter
  • Producers: Andre Blay, Larry J. Franco, Shep Gordon
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Jan. 15 2013
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AOX0A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,620 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Master of horror John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) directs this terrifying battle between humankind and ultimate evil. A group of graduate students and scientists uncover an ancient canister in an abandoned church, but when they open the container, they inadvertently unleash a strange liquid and an evil force on all humanity. As the liquid turns their co-workers into zombies, the remaining members realize they have released the most unspeakable of horrors, Satan himself, thus paving the way for the return of his father - the all-powerful anti-God. Terror mounts as the last two members of the team must fight to save an innocent world from a devilish fury that has festered for over seven million years.


The B picture lives on in the films of John Carpenter. Prince of Darkness weds supernatural horror with quantum weirdness, when a group of theoretical-physics students, led by their professor, Birack (Victor Wong), joins forces with a priest (Donald Pleasence) to forestall the coming of the Dark Lord. His Darkness has been imprisoned in a cylindrical container as a swirling green plasma since time immemorial, and is now beginning to find his way out. All of this is bolstered by a lot of fancy science talk (all of which is real, I can assure you--someone did his homework), which allows us to settle down, say okey dokey, and enjoy the thrills that this presages. As the title character spreads his contagion through the group of students, holed up in a church to study the sequestered Satan, the film shapes up as an homage to George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, much like Carpenter's earlier film, Assault on Precinct 13. But this adds the twist of quantum physics dovetailing with religious orthodoxy, and in the bargain spawning numerous zombie minions. There are plenty of squishy splatter opportunities, the kind that make some affected people say, "This is a bad movie!" while they grin from ear to ear. Look for Alice Cooper as a street schizo. I think you'll recognize him. --Jim Gay --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: DVD
Something evil is awakening in the ancient basement of St. Goddard's church, something that has lain dormant and for eons, until now...
Between Big Trouble in little China (1986) and They Live (1988), John Carpenter released The Prince of Darkness (1987), a chilling story that asks the question is the devil a concept created by humans or is it a real, living, breathing entity?
After the death of an elderly priest, one who turns out to be a member of an ancient and once powerful sect within the Catholic Church, a key is found among his meager possessions by Father Loomis (Donald Pleasance). The key unlocks a door within a deserted church, a door that leads to an older area containing a large cylinder with a greenish, swirling liquid. Father Loomis, sensing the stirrings of the contents of the container, contacts Professor Howard Birack (Victor Wong) and enlists his aide in determining the true nature of what is within the cylinder. Professor Birack gathers a group of graduate students to investigate, including Brian Marsh, played by Jameson Parker, who many may remember as A.J. Simon from the television show Simon & Simon.
As the group begins to investigate, strange things begin to happen, homeless people gathering around the derelict church, the appearance of large amount of bugs and worms where the were none, etc. Soon various members of the group fall victim to the power of what is in the cylinder, and become pawns in a desperate struggle for the very soul of humanity.
I did enjoy this film much and all the little, well thought out, elements that enhanced the story, focusing on the characters just enough to allow the audience to develop empathy for them, but not getting bogged down.
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One of the reasons why I admire John Carpenter so much is that he never exemplifies himself. He doesn't overdo a film. He simply places his camera in a way that he believes will best move along the narrative. He is the anti-Michael Bay. Instead of trying to wow us with remarkably complex editing or camera moves that defy the laws of physics, Carpenter sticks to a very straightforward way of storytelling, using the natural wide scope of the human eye to give us what is always wonderful visual style. This is one of the reasons why "Prince of Darkness" works so well. Carpenter understands the material he has crafted, but he knows that his characters do not, so he keeps them, and us, in suspense, letting the web of what unfolds draw us in, and eventually he unleashes the spider.
There is an evil within a church. A secret that has been kept for thousands of years. Guarded by a mysterious section of the church, operating independent and even above the control of the Vatican, a monolithic vial of green liquid whirlpools beneath the streets. Encased within it are what remains of the spiritual presence of Lucifer, son of the anti-God. The Brotherhood of Sleep, as they were called, due to a mysterious dream that everyone within the building had, kept the secret for as long as they could. Now, in the months approaching where we enter "Prince of Darkness," the liquid has been gaining strength, organizing itself into a conscious entity. A team of scientists from a university, under the direction of their professor, are called upon by a priest (Donald Pleasance) to prove scientifically a series of equations written down by Christ himself.
This is the basis for what becomes a claustrophobic ride of paranormal occurrences.
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Thanks in large part to the frenetic efforts of John Carpenter, the horror film medium flourished anew in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Few fans of the genre need a reminder that Carpenter directed the classic "Halloween," an independent film that went on to great success and eternal status as a cult classic. While the tale about the merciless Michael Myers certainly didn't invent the slasher film (look back to Mario Bava's classic "Twitch of the Death Nerve" to see an earlier effort), it influenced many others to carry the torch in the following years. Carpenter's recent films just don't compare with his early fright fests. That's a darn shame, but for horror aficionados, watching the troika of "Halloween," "The Fog," and "The Thing" will always deeply satisfy. I suspect the last truly effective film Carpenter directed was "Prince of Darkness" in 1987. When I first watched this film shortly after it came out, I didn't enjoy it, but a recent viewing swept away all of my prior distastes for the film. I don't know why my thoughts about this movie have changed, but I now consider it a phenomenal effort easily comparable to this director's early work.
Something of unfathomable evil resides in the basement of a decrepit church in downtown Los Angeles, an object of such vast terrors that the mere thought of its existence makes one's flesh crawl and soul shudder. For Father Loomis (Donald Pleasence), the secrets of this object suddenly intrude on his consciousness when the last member of an enigmatic secret society called the Brotherhood of Sleep dies. Loomis finds the man's diary and learns part of the truth concerning this object.
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