PRINCE OF DARKNESS Collectors Edition Blu-ray Review -

Blu-ray Review

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  • Rated: R
  • Starring: Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong
  • Written By: John Carpenter
  • Directed By: John Carpenter
  • Distributor: Scream Factory
  • Run Time: 102 min
  • Original Year of Release: 1987
  • Special Features: See Below
  • Series:

PRINCE OF DARKNESS Collectors Edition Blu-ray Review

The One I liked the Least

By Kimberly McCall     September 25, 2013

Prince of Darkness was always the John Carpenter film I liked the least (well, besides Vampires). By the time I was a teenager, I had already seen all the classics and felt ever so slightly let down by this master of horror's satanic undertaking. Almost 15 years after my first viewing, SHOUT! Factory's horror division, SCREAM Factory has released the collector's edition of Prince of Darkness to blu-ray and I gave it a second chance.
Prince of Darkness tells the haunting story of a group of graduate students beckoned by their professor (Victor Wong) and a priest (Donald Pleasence) to an abandoned church, where they discover an ancient evil contained in the catacombs. Once released, the devilish presence sets out to destroy the group one by one, building to all of humanity.
For me, the plot, though flawed, was never the issue. The acting was another story. No disrespect to Pleasence or Wong, but Jameson Parker (Simon and Simon), never captured my attention or empathy as the lead character and guy we're all supposed to root for. Now, I know he is supposed to be playing John Carpenter's “every man” man, but not even that mustache can keep Parker from being anything but dry and one dimensional through this apocalyptic tale.  Lisa Blount (An Officer and a Gentleman) was no better as Catherine. Yes, Alice Cooper brought more to his performance than the two leads combined.
All that being said, I must admit I enjoyed the film, as a whole, much better the second time around.  In an age of fast scares and loads of gore, it was refreshing to go back and watch a filmmaker take his time delivering a genuine, creepy tale. The music (co-written by Carpenter and Alan Howarth) is wonderful and definitely one to add to the collection of Carpenter movie scores. The blu-ray makes the colors pop and amplifies the lush backdrop of the slowly building terror. It comes complete with audio commentary by the director, as well as exclusive interviews with John Carpenter and Alice Cooper. The theatrical trailer is also included in the special features (both below).

Whether you originally enjoyed Prince of Darkness or not, any Carpenter fan should give the blu-ray a shot. Even with its flaws, the movie deserves the respect of anyone wanting a break from today's over-the-top horror norm. Besides, what better way to kick off the Halloween season than with a bit of John Carpenter?
Blu-ray Special Features:
Audio Commentary with John Carpenter
Sympathy For The Devil – An all-new Interview with Writer/Director John Carpenter
Alice at the Apocalypse  - An all-new interview with Actor & Rock Legend Alice Cooper
The Messenger – All-new interview with Actor & Special Visual Effects Supervisor Robert Grasmere
Hell On Earth –A look at the film’s score with Co-Composer Alan Howarth
Horror’s Hallowed Grounds with host Sean Clark
Alternate Opening from TV Version
Original Theatrical Trailer

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Showing items 1 - 9 of 9
Wiseguy 9/25/2013 8:50:14 AM

I love this movie. One of the few movies that I recall being genuinely scared watching it at the theater.

mellowdoux 9/25/2013 10:16:32 AM

 Agreed, Wiseguy.

Just such a cool and creepy concept.

rkngl 9/25/2013 1:46:51 PM

I remember when I saw it in an old cinema now closed and abandoned.

Everybody left the cinema laughing. I never saw so many people laughing. They laughed like they had seen the rooftop scene from "The Producer's".

Even I was feeling the need to laugh. A nervous, scared laughter. To see if I could scare my fears away. Inside I was feeling freezing cold with fear. Around me, all the other spectators had the same look. Behind their smiles and laughs, I could see frightened eyes. The lovers embraced strongly, protecting each other. That's when I realised that I had watched the most scary movie of all times. I can still remember every single scene. It's just that I don't want to remember it, you see?

I believe that was the day I stopped having dreams.

DarthBob 9/25/2013 3:58:49 PM

It was OK, not one of Carpenter's best.  It had its moments; the best part was when the woman got her head cut off then picked it up and put the melon right back on her shoulders.  Also, when Alice Cooper killed someone with a bike.  The creepiest was when they were trying to bring the anti-god through the mirror portal.  The tacyon transmissions from people in the future had a nice eerie feel to them as well.

My Carpenter faves will always be Escape From NY and Big Trouble in Little China.

SmokingFrog77 9/25/2013 6:25:24 PM

This has always been one of my favourite Carpenter films, along with the other two Apocalypse Trilogy films (The Thing and In The Mouth Of Madness). It just has a wonderful creeping terror to it, Victor Wong and Donald Pleasence are both fantastic. Yes the main lead is boring, he's no Kurt Russell - but the lopsided moustache gives him an odd quirk that says - 'this guy is a bit disconnected', and that's something at least. So many scenes are brilliant in their unsettlingness, like the "Amazing grace" scene, and my favourite - "I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE I LIVE......" :)

The tachyon-burst-dream-premonitions are also a fantastic element :)

keithdaniel 9/25/2013 8:49:24 PM

This movie has an element of eerieness that I enjoyed very much.  I wouldn't rank this as a great movie due to it's flaws like it's thin story, (especially in the second half of the movie) but I still enjoyed it very much for the strengths that it does have including: it's sets, FX, creepy atmosphere, score, and direction.

thezillaman 9/26/2013 1:53:56 PM

 Fucking awesome movie, no doubt . love watching this once a year right before HW, it sets up the creepy ambiance ...

jppintar326 9/26/2013 7:15:30 PM

Probably best I did not see this movie in 1987.  If I had Jameson Parker in the film at that time, I probably would've said "Hey A.J., where' Rick?" and started humming the Simon & Simon theme.  Sometimes, it is best to wait until years later to see it.  I will be looking for this Blu Ray to give this film a shot just to see Donald Pleasance doing something other than Dr. Loomis from Halloween.

Mooncrow 9/27/2013 12:17:09 AM

 Great horror film, with great slow buildup of dread (the messages from the future) and then pay off of some real gore and things that should not be!



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