Prince of Darkness (1987)

Prince of Darkness is John Carpenter’s under-rated shocker from 1987, with the admittedly loopy story of the Devil’s son somehow being trapped under a church in LA in a giant vat of green shampoo.

The budget doesn’t really stretch far enough, the script is dreadfully patchy but some of the imagery is unforgettable, especially the liquid mirrors and the broadcasts from the future. And Alice Cooper kills someone with half a bike.

Carpenter’s score is typically minimal but as always he knows exactly how to use it, especially in the movie’s opening and the frantic finale. The cast do their best with roles that they are palpably unsuited for. Donald Pleasence is no more a priest than he was a US President, Jameson Parker is charisma-free and only Lisa Blount seems remotely credible.

The commentary track also has Peter Jason, one of the regular cast employed by Carpenter and a man who clearly requires a script to be interesting. The comments from the man himself are much better and it’s interesting to see Carpenter now claiming that it’s all a bit of fluff and not the serious philosophical work he seemed to think at the time of its release.

Mild Peril Rating: ★★★½☆

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