Prince of Darkness

Prince of Darkness

3.2 4
Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong


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John Carpenter's underrated horror gem Prince of Darkness comes to DVD once again from the folks at Universal, though sadly, it isn't quite the edition fans have been waiting for here in the States. This release boasts the same audio and visual technical specs as the previous disc -- with the 2.35:1 widescreen image perfectly showing off Carpenter's stylistic


John Carpenter's underrated horror gem Prince of Darkness comes to DVD once again from the folks at Universal, though sadly, it isn't quite the edition fans have been waiting for here in the States. This release boasts the same audio and visual technical specs as the previous disc -- with the 2.35:1 widescreen image perfectly showing off Carpenter's stylistic eye and lone Dolby surround track, which begs to be remastered in this 5.1 day and age. A new inclusion on this disc is the stunning original theatrical trailer, which perfectly fits the film's frightening tone and nightmarish images, though one has to wonder where the commentary track, which graced the Region 2 disc, has gone? Recorded with Carpenter and longtime collaborator Peter Jason, the track is a gold mine for any fan of the director's and one that Region 1 audiences shouldn't have to order through various U.K. distributors just to hear.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jeremy Wheeler
The middle film in John Carpenter's loose 'apocalypse trilogy' (in between The Thing and In the Mouth of Madness), Prince of Darkness is a sustained mood piece that puts the viewer at the doorstep of a coming apocalypse. Taking place in basically one location - a dilapidated church in the middle of LA, the director follows up the giddy charm of Big Trouble in Little China with a picture packed with an overwhelming sense of dread. It's a hard film to pin down, as it melds scientific and religious riddles along with pseudo-zombie/possession themes. Some have claimed the central conceit of anti-matter leading to the devil to be goofy, but the film hardly ever breaks a smile. Indeed, the film was not well received at the box office, yet there remain little doubts about it within the cadre of Carpenter aficionados. The aural pulse of the soundtrack (once again supplied by the director) cues the viewer into the graveness of the story, which takes its time until the end when all hell breaks loose for the human survivors. Filled with disturbing imagery - and Alice Cooper as a homeless zombie - Prince of Darkness is not for a casual viewer, but for ones who will take delight in visual nods to Dario Argento, along with the pleasure of seeing such a classic Carpenter ensemble (the likes of Donald Pleasance, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, and Peter Jason) at work in this no-hope playground of horror.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Donald Pleasence Priest
Jameson Parker Brian
Victor Wong Professor Birack
Lisa Blount Catherine
Dennis Dun Walter
Susan Blanchard Kelly
Anne Howard Susan
Ann Yen Lisa, Language Expert
Ken Wright Lomax
Dirk Blocker Mullins
Jesse Lawrence Ferguson Calder
Peter Jason Dr. Leahy
Alice Cooper Street Schizo
Robert Grasmere Wyndham
Thom Bray Etchinson
Joanna Merlin Bag Lady

Technical Credits
John Carpenter Director,Score Composer,Screenwriter
Andre Blay Executive Producer
Linda Francis Casting
Larry Franco Asst. Director,Producer
Rick T. Gentz Set Decoration/Design
Shep Gordon Executive Producer
Alan Howarth Score Composer
David J. Hudson Sound/Sound Designer
Jeff Imada Stunts
Gary B. Kibbe Cinematographer
John Loggia Production Designer
Daniel Lomino Production Designer
Mel Metcalfe Sound/Sound Designer
Steve Mirkovich Editor
Terry Porter Sound/Sound Designer
Martin Quatermass Screenwriter
Mario Roberts Stunts

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. The Key (Main Titles) [5:24]
2. Universal Order [5:36]
3. The Brotherhood of Sleep [7:31]
4. Volunteered Services [4:41]
5. They're Watching [5:51]
6. Gaining Strength [5:19]
7. Recruiting Souls [4:33]
8. A Burst of Energy [8:52]
9. The Ultimate Truth [5:12]
10. A Dream Broadcast [6:49]
11. "You Will Not Survive" [5:05]
12. "Pray for Death" [4:35]
13. Demon Seed [4:49]
14. Trapped [4:26]
15. No One Can Help Us [5:28]
16. The Awakening [4:55]
17. "Father" [7:31]
18. Future Broadcast (End Titles) [4:45]


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Prince of Darkness 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I watched this when it was first released on VHS many years ago. I had read about it in a Fangoria magazine and couldn't wait to rent it. I was blown away! I thought it was awesome. As the years went on, I suggested it to a couple of horror buffs when we were trolling through a video store. To my surprise, they had never heard of Prince of Darkness. So we rented it. Not only where they impressed, but I was happy to see how well this movie had aged. Look for a cool dream sequence that plays like a broadcast from the future. It looks like it was shot with one of those old-school giant home video cameras. Alice Cooper has a cameo, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think the acting is horrible in this movie. However, for some reason I watch it every single time it airs on the Sci-Fi channel. I have absolutely no idea why since I think the movie is terrible. Therefore, the only reason I can think of is that, as indicated in my subject line, it's so bad it's actually quite good. I can't get enough of it. I feel like a human contradiction right now...
Kasia_S More than 1 year ago
Fans of science and religious horrors will find this to be an interesting combo, one that has been fighting the other for as long as we know. This however is not the source of friction in the movie, here the science takes a huge lead and infuses the movie with eerie sense of reality that some might not feel otherwise, for those who aren't afraid of the devil, this movie will chill them as there is some gross, dark stuff going on that walks a fine line between bizarre and disgusting, seeping into the real world, threatening everyone's sanity.

When professor Birack, a theoretical physicist, takes his students for a weekend of exploring in an abandoned church, he doesn't want to tell them what is going on, instead they slowly discover that their faith in science and existence is going for a ride and some are not coming back. This happens because a priest guarding a heavy secret dies leaving behind a tiny box with a key. It's eventually found by Father Loomis who confides in Birack and asks for his help and discretion. When the whole gang finally gathers in the basement of the church they discover a room filled with candles and crosses, with a dark, dirty looking vial housing a shimmering mucky green fluid, spinning inside like a mini tornado. They know that something wicked and sinister is going on, they can feel how cold and unfriendly the room is and soon they start to find out what exactly is in the tank. Outside the church night falls and quietly the homeless people gather around all the entrances and exits, worms and bugs spill out of their clothes and they stand guard outside the church, a silent vigil that no one notices for a while. Slowly people start to disappear and that's when the fun starts and the contents of the tank are slowly revealed.

Overall this wasn't a bad movie, even though half way through I was thinking how weird some of it was, perhaps switching back from science talk to religion was little much to take, this is a movie that one has to watch on high alert because there is a lot that can be missed, not that it matters in the end but it was confusing and after I read some of the reviews here I had more of a sense of what was really going on. There is some gore and grossness, zombie like behavior and a feeling of unease until the ending appears on the horizon, the end was definitely the best part, I think it saved the movie from being totally bad. It's a watchable flick but not something I would watch twice, I think I laughed at a scene of two and it's always nice to find a joke in a horror movie.

- Kasia S.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A pretty fair entry into the late 80's horror set. A good job of combining suspense and the elements or horror without excessive and needless gore. A great one to watch in a dark room. It will probably affect those who are terrified by religion-based horror more than most.