Prince of Darkness

6.71 h 42 min1987X-RayR
This story centers on a Catholic priest who discovers a gelatinous fluid that he believes is the source of power for the anti-Christ that is about to attack an unsuspecting world.
John Carpenter
Donald PleasenceJameson ParkerVictor Wong
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Lisa BlountDennis DunSusan BlanchardAnne HowardAlice Cooper
Andre BlayLarry J. FrancoShep Gordon
R (Restricted)
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4.5 out of 5 stars

2702 global ratings

  1. 73% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

J. Conrad StambaughReviewed in the United States on February 15, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Maybe he's anti-god, bringing darkness instead of light.
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For all his accolades John Carpenter is still the most underrated director of all time. He is a master and by far my favorite filmmaker of all time and I think this is his masterpiece.

Prince is a sci-fi, apocalyptic horror film that transcends all known reality. It's premise is not a simple one but is put together in way that the higher concepts can be more easily understood by those with only a passing knowledge of quantum physics. It's not a simple film, it contains many nuances and sub-levels that repeated viewings can unlock. It's horror elements are diverse, creative and really help accept the idea of evil as an actual, physical entity with a telepathic link to humans and the ability to control them.

The characters are well fleshed out and believable. They are , for the most part, the epitome of good and that truly helps one see this as a true battle against evil. Donald Pleasence rules the roost as always giving depth to his character and dramatic presence to everything he does. I also enjoyed Victor Wong who did a brilliant job as a counterpart to Pleasence both being the ultimate spokesperson for Science Vs Religion.

The new special edition is exquisite. The colors are vibrant and the sound is crisp with a special nod going to the spinning-devil-goo which has a a most lustrous shade of darkish green and low hum that was not as easily heard in earlier editions. The interviews are top notch. I learned things about story, effects and characters that I really had no clue about and I've been very vigilant from an early age in reading everything I could about the making of this masterpiece .

In closing if you have never seen this triumph of moviemaking there is no better time than now to grab a copy and if you have enjoyed this film before please give this spectacular new edition a will not be disappointed.
47 people found this helpful
BrianReviewed in the United States on March 12, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
One of the few films that actually creeps me out.
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When a cylinder containing a strange green liquid is discovered in the basement of an abandoned church, a priest (Donald Pleasence) recruits the aid of Dr. Birack (Victor Wong) and his physics students to investigate it, including Brian Marsh (Jameson Parker) and Catherine Danforth (Lisa Blount). The liquid appears to be sentient, and a book found near it claims it contains the embodiment of Satan.
Written and directed by John Carpenter of Halloween fame, (though the writing credits list him as Martin Quatermass after a film character), Prince of Darkness is one of the few horror films that actually creeps me out a bit. Maybe it's the church setting, the last place in the world one would expect a horror film to be set. There's the zombish street people, lead by Alice Cooper. Carpenter mentions in the DVD interview having read a book on quantum physics before making the film, and bits and pieces of that show up, such as the notion of Satan being bound to the realm of anti-matter, or the odd dream (apparently a tachyon transmission sent as a warning from the future) the members of the cast experience.
The film didn't do all that well when first released in 1987, though like many of Carpenter's films, has since gained a cult following. He also did the score, similar to Halloween with it's synthesizer sound, but with the addition of a chorus which gives that 'religious' vibe.
Worth a view, ignore the cheesy attempt at a love story between Brian and Catherine, let the films logic and tone set in, and see if it doesn't creep you out, or at least stick with you a bit.
25 people found this helpful
Keith Bowden, aka GodzyllaReviewed in the United States on March 31, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent Bonus Content
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Okay, the limited edition blu-ray steelbook from Scream (Shout) Factory is great. Excellent film, presentation, great extras, solid picture and sound. The film is packed with fantastic minimalist music (which Carpenter is known for), a great cast (including the Man himself, Alice Cooper!), and genuine chills.

But I'd just like to point out that this edition also has the first menu easter egg I've encountered in a long time! Hoorah!
38 people found this helpful
Arthur S.Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Criminally underrated
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One of Carpenter's best--and moat easily dismissed--films in his catalogue. Donald Pleasance is at the top of his game, Carpenter' score is timeless, and the movie presents some of his best scares since The Thing. LOVE this flick!
36 people found this helpful
Wes BurgessReviewed in the United States on June 2, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Are science and religion really the same?
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I won’t spoil it by revealing all the plot, but you should know that Prince of Darkness may be author and director John Carpenter’s best film. It addresses the question, “What if traditional religious teachings were true and based in the modern scientific reality of quantum physics?” Familiar Carpenter collaborators Donald Pleasence, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, and Peter Jason are joined by Alice Cooper and other new faces in an intense, logical, lightning-paced story filled with gorgeous dark imagery.
The film is based around a golden cannister of primordial fluid, like the oceans from which life originated, supposedly buried in the desert for centuries and later guarded by a secret order of the Catholic Church. It is thought to carry a great, but unknown danger.
To combat the apocalyptic fluid and help him understand the gaps in the doctrine he has been taught, Father Pleasance calls in thirteen academics, including biologists, biochemists, biophysicists, mathematicians, and language specialists. Soon the scientists are pulling back the veils of ancient religious texts and advanced mathematics which show that religion has always been based in scientific reality. Could this fluid have anything to do with the dark forces that religions have feared?
Meanwhile, the sacred fluid is trying to be borne as the antichrist, using psionic energy to resurrect the dead and to influence animals, schizophrenics, and the homeless as tools to bring back its unholy father, who has been trapped in an alternate dimension. Metaphysicians from the future send tachyon videos back in time in dreams, to tell the team how to stave off the antichrist and prevent the destruction of the spiritual world. In this hopeless scenario, romance blossoms between two physics graduate students Lisa Blount and Jameson Parker.
This film addresses viewers’ interests across many dimensions, including belief & reality, science & religion, AIDS, COVID, mental illness, and the power of love.
Literati may want to consider this film a retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, with Jean Cocteau’s Princess of Death, reanimation of the dead into zombies, and his devices of mirrors and broadcasting serving as the means for humans to communicate with the underworld. We are only left to wonder if Jameson Parker looked back through the mirror and doomed his love.
This was Carpenter’s opportunity to make a film under his complete control and result is impressive. The film endeavors to unify modern science and ancient prophesy — it is full of memorable images that are terrifying without resorting to monsters, slashings, or bloody CGI. Working with Alan Howarth, Carpenter’s music provides a backbone for the images that is chilling but not intrusive.
If you yearn to get your teeth into some deeper material, or just want to have fun with a scary movie, you will find plenty to like in Prince of Darkness. Having seen this film on the screen and in several video formats, I think the improved fidelity justifies getting the Blu-ray version.
If you want to read more of my reviews or see other stuff, click my name.
I hope this review has been helpful and that you really enjoy whatever you choose to watch!
2 people found this helpful
capefearcinemaReviewed in the United States on June 18, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Not region-free
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Rating is for deceptive labeling, NOT the movie (which is easily 5-star). When I bought this, it was not labeled as Region B (which it is now). Even the current description says "region-free". Please note that the 4K movie itself plays just fine; the supplemental features disk is Region B. The 4K version looks and sounds good, but not significantly so as to justify the higher price.

Related complaint: I cannot understand why Carpenter won't release 4K versions of his masterpieces for the US market.
2 people found this helpful
Victoria J. DennisonReviewed in the United States on October 30, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Prince of Darkness
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What is Halloween without a great Carpenter film? Prince of Darkness is one of the best movies he ever did. Donald Pleasence was perfect as only Donald Pleasence can be. Last time I saw the movie it was on a VHS tape. I'm really happy I rented the streaming version on Amazon. It was fantastic!
19 people found this helpful
CiNEMADDiCT | Strung Out On CelluloidReviewed in the United States on February 15, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
"I have a message for you, and you're not going to like it"
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Maybe it's the amazingly original concept driving the apocalyptic religious horror element that makes Prince of Darkness so unsettling; with hardly any blood and gore or jumpnscares, Carpenter weaves a near-flawless horror/mystery hybrid with a solid cinematic lore comprised of cherry picked scientic theories(primarily quantum mechanics) and mathematics (differential equations).

Or it could be the intensely minimalist synthwave soundtrack that employs the trademark Carpenter ominous prescience full-time. There's very few scenes in POD where there is no BGM. Most people would find a near-infinite aural loop for a score wildly annoying, but those rules go out of the window here. Carpenter's musical composition is without a doubt the emotional Crux of the entire film. If you pay close attention, the never-ending score evolves constantly with a precisely foreboding subtlety, and it is in this evolution that the viewers nerves are subsequently unrattled with that same deftful subtlety, until you reach a later point in the film and realize just what the script's philosophical implications about the duality of human morality are and how our free will is weaponized against us to bring about our own ultimate destruction. It's almost as if Carpenter is some sort of synthesizer-sorcerer or audio-alchemist with the way he embodies that good vs evil battle so perfectly in POD's soundtrack.

part from all that praise, the truth of the matter is that I absolutely love Carpenter's script and premise with Prince of Darkness. It's a refreshingly original stroke of genius to delineate the battle of good and evil in subatomic terms and theory. The idea that, if God truly exists, than so too must an Anti-God exist--in the same way that antimatter exists solely to annihilate matter to keep the universe balanced.

The StudioCanal 4k region free release is as sweet as it gets. I've already watched the movie three times since buying it very recently and I can't speak highly enough about how effective the HDR10 is in bringing the aging church structure to life, or how the vial of green Anti-God particulates looks so real that you could reach in and grab it right off the screen if you so dared. The colors are intense with a moderate HDR PEAK value and a color restoration that was painstaking in its immensely vibrant detail. It's one of the best available 4K transfers for any Carpenter film.

Every true horror buff should watch Prince of Darkness. Carpenter in his cinematic prime was unbeatable, and POD helps cement that veracity in stone
2 people found this helpful
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