Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Retro Review: John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness

Having John Carpenter's name above a movie title means something. It's a sign of quality. It's an indication that you, as an audience member, are in the hands of a master storyteller. Sure, some of his movies are better than others, but a John Carpenter movie is more than the average genre picture. Or at least it should be.

So how does Prince of Darkness measure up when compared to Carpenter's other classic flicks? Stick with me.

A research team finds a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church. If opened, it could mean the end of the world.

Prince of Darkness is an odd mix of classic horror tropes and existential bullshit. There's a lot of chatter about the nature of reality, good and evil, faith and science, and matter and antimatter. And there's the Halloween-style suspense and violence we expect from a Carpenter movie.

For the most part, these diverse elements blend together well. Yes, Prince of Darkness is a little too long, but the sequences that click -- including a scene where a man filled with bugs literally falls apart before our eyes -- click well. Like I said, we're in the hands of a master here.

I've watched Prince of Darkness a few times, which means it rates a Good. It has its flaws, including the length and being too weird for its own good. But the scare sequences are first rate and Lisa Blount is 80s hot personified. Plus we get Alice Cooper as a homicidal homeless guy. Sold!

This isn't one of Carpenter's best, but even a weak Carpenter movie is better then the average Hollywood offering. I'd give Prince of Darkness a Good, but would rather watch The Thing or The Fog instead.

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