Prince of Darkness

Day Twenty of the 2010 Silver Shamrock Happy Halloween Countdown!

Happy Halloween Countdown Day Twenty!

Prince of Darkness
Tucked away in a church in California, a secret order of Catholic priests watches over a large seven million year old mayonnaise jar filled evil glow stick goo.  The last priest of the order dies.  Enter Father Loomis (I don’t remember his name and IMDB was of no help, so that’s what I’m gonna call him) who rounds up a team of scientists to investigate and hopefully prevent the evil from spreading.  Feel free to make you own Miracle Whip joke and insert it here.

Prince of Darkness is very much a John Carpenter movie.  It has all the things I love and about Carpenter’s films and all the things that I hate about Carpenter’s films.  I know those sound like fighting words.  I’ll explain.  First, the bad news: the film tends to meander at times and lapse into exposition.  Carpenter’s dialogue and characters are weak.  I don’t think that he is the sort of director that pulls great performances out of his actors.  Some of the scene editing is weak.  I also hate Jameson Parker’s mustache and I’m going to blame him, rather than Carpenter, for that. Unless Mr. Parker e-mails me, or something, to tell me that John Carpenter made him grow it, he gets to own that.

Now for the good news: the idea underlying Prince of Darkness is extremely cool, but I’m not going to tell you about it because that would be spoilery.  You’ll just have to trust me on that one.  Prince of Darkness has some genuinely creepy moments, one or two of which have been tattooed to my brain ever since I first saw it back in the 1980’s.  The shared dream that the investigators start having when they are in the church housing the jar of evil is one of them.   I’m not sure why, but that has stuck with me over the years. Carpenter is also really good at creating the appropriate feel and context for his stories to unfold, and he does that here too.

Lastly, Prince of Darkness has a John Carpenter soundtrack, which is good if you like his music and not so good if you don’t.    I happen to like his soundtracks quite a bit, so more beer for me.

Prince of Darkness is well regarded by horror fans, though I don’t think it’s one of John Carpenter’s better efforts.  This is one of those ”Is the glass half full or half empty” scenarios, after all, even a half empty Carpenter film is still going to be a notch above most everything else.

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