John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness

I already talked about John Carpenter last week when I looked at The Fog. Now, the easy thing to do is to talk about Halloween or The Thing, both exceptional movies, but I’d like to point out Carpenter’s 1987 Prince of Darkness. In some ways, I’ve always felt this was Carpenter’s most ambitious movie, as he’s juggling a boatload of big ideas in this one. This is an apocalyptic tale that dives into quantum physics, religion, a different take on zombies, an anti-God…I mean, there’s even tachyons.

The tale is a race against time for physics grad students as they try to figure out what is in an ominous container that was found in the basement of an old church. Little do they know that their findings will not only awaken a great evil, but trigger the apocalypse itself. And what do the messages from the future mean?

I realize how enormously stupid my summary sounds, especially considering how I couldn’t resist writing that last sentence. There really isn’t an awful lot about Prince of Darkness that makes sense, but the way the big ideas are thrown around and the sincerity in the way it’s presented allows you to forgive the more ridiculous aspects of the movie.

That said, I don’t mean to be so down on it. Prince of Darkness is awesome. It’s fun and suspenseful, has a super long introduction like The Fog has (with music by Carpenter again), and there is a scare so good, Carpenter will literally reuse it a few years later when he makes In the Mouth of Madness.

Plus, tachyons, man.

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