6.7/10
37,804
281 user 200 critic

Prince of Darkness (1987)

R | | Horror | 23 October 1987 (USA)
Trailer
1:51 | Trailer
A group of graduate students and scientists uncover an ancient canister in an abandoned church, but when they open the container, they inadvertently unleash a strange liquid and an evil force on all humanity.

Director:

John Carpenter

Writer:

John Carpenter (as Martin Quatermass)
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Popularity
4,535 ( 66)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Pleasence ... Priest
Jameson Parker ... Brian Marsh
Victor Wong ... Prof. Howard Birack
Lisa Blount ... Catherine Danforth
Dennis Dun ... Walter
Susan Blanchard ... Kelly
Anne Marie Howard ... Susan Cabot (as Anne Howard)
Ann Yen ... Lisa
Ken Wright ... Lomax
Dirk Blocker ... Mullins
Jessie Lawrence Ferguson ... Calder
Peter Jason ... Dr. Paul Leahy
Robert Grasmere Robert Grasmere ... Frank Wyndham
Thom Bray ... Etchinson
Joanna Merlin ... Bag Lady
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Storyline

A sinister secret has been kept in the basement of an abandoned Los Angeles church for many years. With the death of a priest belonging to a mysterious sect, another priest opens the door to the basement and discovers a vat containing a green liquid. The priest contacts a group of physics graduate students to investigate it. Unfortunately, they discover that the liquid contains the essence of Satan himself, and they also discover that he will release HIS father - an all-powerful Anti-God! The liquid later comes to life itself, turning some of the students into zombies as the Devil comes forward to release his father. Will these students be able to stop him? Written by Derek O'Cain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Where are you...? Christ? See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first of two films that John Carpenter made with Alive Films. The second film they made was They Live (1988). See more »

Goofs

(at around 38 mins) The student radiologist Susan Cabot says she has been "carbon dating the corrosion on the lid" of the cylinder, and "we're talking about 7 million years". Carbon dating is used to determine the age of materials, usually organic, containing carbon, not metal corrosion substances, and is only useful for about 60,000 years. See more »

Quotes

Brian: [about the green liquid under the church] A life form is growing out of pre-biotic fluids. It's not winding down into disorder, it's self-organizing. It's becoming something. What? An animal? A disease? What?
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits last for nine minutes. See more »

Alternate Versions

The new UK DVD, released by Momentum, contains the full uncut version of the film and has been downgraded to a 15. The same DVD is also available in Germany from Kinowelt. See more »

Connections

References The Stone Tape (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Prince of Darkness
Written by Alice Cooper and Kane Roberts
Performed by Alice Cooper
Produced by Michael Wagener
Courtesy of MCA Records
(C) 1987 Ensign Music Corporation, Ezra Music Inc.
Screen Gems Music - EMI Music Inc.
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User Reviews

 
slow, good, creepy quasi-intellectual horror
21 October 2005 | by clogsdonSee all my reviews

I know more than one person who watched this film, claimed immediately after that it wasn't very scary and then called me a few hours later telling me that they were freaked out.

Highlight: For me, the best concept in the film is the video-feed dream sequence. Oh man! It's creepy and exceedingly ominous and the shaky-cam newsreel quality gives it an extra punch.

The plot: You don't have to be a genius to understand what is going on in this film, but you do need to pay attention. The supernatural physics is a little nonsensical, of the "Popular science" variety, but the basic premise is explained in layman terms.

The characters: Actually, while the "science" is hocus-pocus, I really liked that the film's characters were mostly grad students. The actors do a great job of portraying annoyed, skeptical science grad students. Horror flicks are filled with numbskull undergrads, and it is nice to see the hidden sector of college life revealed in its nerdy glory.

The skinny: I'd describe it as a Biblical/Lovecraft horror film. It's got the whole "evil universe" theme running alongside an effective "Hell breaks loose" plot.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Peacock

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

23 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness See more »

Filming Locations:

Long Beach, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,657,401, 25 October 1987

Gross USA:

$14,182,492

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,182,492
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo | 4-Track Stereo (Psycho Dynamism Sound) (Japan theatrical release)| Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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