Prince of Darkness

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This film had a lot going for it. The concept of God and the Devil being opposing alien factions from a different dimension is crazy in a good way. The premise of Prince of Darkness certainly puts a unique spin on the typical spiritual horror film, something that I would expect from Carpenter.

Unfortunately, the film itself has many issues. Forgoing the discussion about the science and the technical jargon surrounding it, the main issue that I had with the story is that it just didn’t make a lot of sense. Some secret sect of priests guarded this Satanic liquid for thousands of years, but all of the sudden the world needs to know about it? At one point, one of the characters declares that the corrosion on the container is millions of years old. Really?

Another issue here is the acting. I’m well prepared for the performances in a Carpenter film, and realize that they aren’t going to be incredible. There are a few scenes within Prince of Darkness, however, that are too bad to be ignored. The sequence with Walter (Dennis Dun) panicking in the closet comes to mind.

The pace and tone of this film is also all over the place. Once the group arrives at the church, everything slows to a near crawl until the final act. I’m not sure why Carpenter even bothered developing the relationship between Brian (Jameson Parker) and Catherine (Lisa Blount), because it didn’t amount to anything and didn’t impact the story at all. I assume it’s so that the viewer feels some sadness at her passing, but the lack of meaningful development really undermined that goal.

Despite the original concept, fantastic score, foreboding atmosphere, and grotesque makeup effects, Prince of Darkness fails to leave a positive lasting impression.

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