Halloween Scene: Prince Of Darkness (1987)

This is not going to be a very good review. I watched John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness yesterday on Netflix Instant, but was distracted by work and whatnot. Now, usually, I’d scrap the review, but I actually really liked what I saw in the second half of this movie and want to talk about it, so here it is.

The plot, from what I gleaned, finds a research group trying to figure out what a green substance is found in a dead priest’s cylinder. As they discover, it’s actually the essence of the anti-Christ, which wants to get out and infect people, starting with the staff with an intent to move out into the world at large unless they can figure out a way to stop it.

I missed a good deal of that plot thanks to work, but tuned in better towards the end when part of the group was possessed and going after the others. It was interesting because the movie felt like a reasonable synthesis of Carpenter’s other movies with healthy doses of The Thing in there. Like that movie, you’ve got a group of researchers infiltrated by forces unknown that take over the bodies/appearance of their comrades. You also have a very confined setting, this time because of a mob of murderous homeless people instead of ice, but it’s the same general idea, one that also comes through in Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13. I didn’t find a lot of Halloween in here aside from some similar musical cues, but that’s just more of Carpenter’s overall soundtrack stylings than anything else, I think.

This will sound a bit funny, but I’m continually impressed with the effects work seen in Carpenter’s movies. Since I’m most familiar with Halloween and didn’t expose myself to the rest of his movies until I was older, I still think of him in that vein. Of course, the majority of his output includes much crazier special effects, but even so, I was surprised with some of the stuff going on in PoD and not just the gore make-up, which looked great (mostly). There’s some cool looking water effects done with trick photography that look so much better than they would if done today with CGI.

This is part of what Carpenter refers to as his Apocalypse Trilogy which started with The Thing and ends with In The Mouth of Madness, which I haven’t seen but is on Netflix Instant. There’s no real connection between these films aside from non-traditional endings and dark forces trying to take over the world, but for me, there isn’t enough of either in movies anyways. Even half-watching this movie as I did makes me want to check out more of Carpenter’s films. I started Village of the Damned last night which I hope to finish and then I’m going hit up ITMOM sometime soon. After a while, I plan on returning to Prince of Darkness and giving it a much more thorough viewing

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