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Prince of Darkness (1987)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Prince of Darkness (1987) "This is not a dream... not a dream. We are using your brain's electrical system as a receiver. We are unable to transmit through conscious neural interference. You are receiving this broadcast as a dream. We are transmitting from the year one, nine, nine, nine. You are receiving this broadcast in order to alter the events you are seeing. Our technology has not developed a transmitter strong enough to reach your conscious state of awareness, but this is not a dream. You are seeing what is actually occurring for the purpose of causality violation." –Recurring video nightmare scene in PRINCE OF DARKNESS (done much like the subliminal TV messages in the following year's THEY LIVE). Since I'm really diggin' supernatural movies more and more these days, I figured I'd give John Carpenter's take on physics, religion, and Old Scratch himself another whirl. The first time around, I didn't really think too much of this movie that now, like the immortal ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, has this horribly dated futuristic slant from the year one-nine, nine-nine. But overlooking this, I found PRINCE OF DARKNESS to be an excellent and downright creepy delivery from Captain Carpenter and his '80's team of collaborators. I believe this was part of his late '80's output with ALIVE FILMS, and the classic, prophetic THEY LIVE came right after this flick, but in hindsight, DARKNESS is pretty intriguing! With pacing, the movie reminded me of a hybrid of THEY LIVE and THE THING- we're slowly introduced to the characters in a slow burn of the first hour or so, then all hell breaks loose in the remainder of the movie where characters CHANGE into other beings (in this case, as opposed to Rob Bottin alien forms a'la THE THING, a variation of possessed zombies doing work for the green goo that will bring back Satan). Donald Pleasence plays a priest that receives a key from a dead colleague to a church that houses this giant green vial of liquid that metaphysically, is trying to gain entry into the world (with human assistance) so that Beelzebub may live again. Pleasence assembles a team of brilliant professors, theologians, and psychic students to unlock and combat the evil behind this scheme! As preposterous as all that sounds, the story works quite well. With an eerie tone, the trademark dark, nightmarish look of early classic Carpenter films, and a spectacular musical score by Carpenter and longtime collaborator Alan Howarth (the Simon and Garfunkel of '80's horror scores, no doubt!), I was sucked into the mumbo-jumbo explanations that were delivered by everyone until the action takes off. Simon-minus-his-other-Simon James Parker plays the lead young researcher that also has a love interest in the group (Lisa Blount) and is faced with battling the various members of the team that get possessed by the green goo and become the Devil's workers. There are also some street people outside the church, led by rocker Alice Cooper, that are guardians of this church of Lucifer's domain. So once our group is inside, no one escapes until the battle is over! DARKNESS is chalk-full of grotesque bugs, zombie possession, and ample gore as the possessed members of the team duke it out bloodily with those who have yet to get green piss squirted in their mouths. The highlight of the film is the end with Pleasence, pretty much in overhyped Doctor Loomis mode, screaming out exorcism rituals at a possessed team member not with a crucifix---but with a fire ax (!)---that he hacks them up with! Pretty wild and off-the-charts stuff here, I was never bored with anything in the movie this time around and I highly recommend it for a great retro Carpenter flashback if you didn't think much of it nearly three decades ago...

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