Monday, April 30, 2007

Abridged Movie Review: Prince of Darkness

Time to try something new. Never let it be said that I'm not a joiner!

Over at Final Girl the awesome (yep I still use the word awesome) Stacie Ponder has a film club. This is my humble first attempt at joining in. Mainly I'm doing it because I don't want to be a pitied fool.

First thing is first. I had a really difficult time getting a hold of this movie. Like ridiculously difficult. So much so that I even eventually ventured into the small local library in town here to check their collection of DVDs to see if by chance they had it.... Of course they didn't and I'm pretty sure that my inquiries into a movie called “Prince of Darkness” made me a topic of discussion/worry at at least two or three of the local churches here in town. When I did end up with a copy of the movie I didn't have it long so I unfortunately was a little bit rushed while watching it. I'm hoping to grab myself a copy and revisit it soon and maybe update what I am about to say.


When I sat down to watch “Prince of Darkness” I only knew two things about it. First it is John Carpenter movie and second it is about some sort of “Prince” of Darkness”. So going in blind I really didn't know what to expect and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised...If “pleasantly” is an adjective that can be used when talking about this movie.

Whats that basics?
It seems that the Catholic Church has a secret, a secret that has been hiding for many years in the basement of an old abandoned church. The death of a priest brings a key and diary into the possession Father Loomis (Donald Pleasence) who soon after discovers the church, the basement, and the giant cylinder full of some pretty nasty looking green goo.

Father Loomis consults with a professor (Victor Wong) and it is decided that they along with a few select students will set up shop in the church to decipher just exactly what all is going on here. Naturally once they all get settled in it doesn't take long for things to go wrong... Fatally wrong!

So what works about this movie for me?
Well for starters Carpenter did an awesome job of making with the creepy. Seriously, it is like he reached into his brain and used every disturbing image he could pull out. An old dimly lit church (by the way the lighting was spot on perfect for the mood), evil insects, strange dreams, a murderous Alice Cooper, the list could go on and on!

I may lose man points for this but I swear if I glance up and notice that the window is filling up with worms I'm gone!

I really liked that it was such a slow burn and took the time that was needed. That is something I think a lot of movies recently have been missing. Having that “I wonder what will happen next?” feeling is a lot easier when you have actual time to wonder. Though with all the time that they had I do wish they would have explored a few things a little more fully, the dream/message for instance. To me the reoccurring nature of the dreams and the explanation seemed a bit rushed. I am glad it was included, it played a major role in what I thought was a really good way to end things.

"Prince of Darkness" has a little something for everyone at one point or another. Religious thriller, a bit of science fiction, zombie like minions, killer bugs, some humor, a little romance, and just about the best mustache that has ever been committed to film.

My personal kudos go out to Jameson Parker for having the ability to sport such a masterpiece! I wish I knew his secret.


Stacie Ponder said...

Woo hoo! Thanks for playing along- hopefully you're not on some kind of 'watch list' now. :D

I'm also gonna revisit this film- I really liked it, even though I realize it's not perfect. The dream sequence was flat-out killer.

PoD has alot going for it, and it really makes me miss John Carpenter...even though he's still around.

M said...

I think Father Loomis' character was perhaps the only thing that irritated me about this movie, not enough for me to hate the poor man, mind you, but it just annoyed me how weak and unhopeful he was! So much for a leader of a flock.

I wonder if there are mustache-enhancers, you know, like there are hair extensions to make hair thicker and longer. Maybe that's what he used.

FatalPierce said...

Stacie, I was glad to play along. It gave me a reason to watch a movie I probably wouldn't have picked up otherwise. So really I should be thanking you! Of course it also made me realize that I have missed out on some potentially very good Carpenter movies so now I'm going to have to play catchup and watch as many of them as I can find (Starting with Halloween since even I can't believe I haven't seen it yet).

Mariana, I'll have to watch his character a little closer next time. I don't remember having too big of a problem with the way he was played. Of course I could just be comparing him to the few catholic priests that I have met in my life. I don't think the majority of them could have lead a thirsty dog to a toilet bowl.

As for the though of mustache-enhancers. I hope there weren't any of those in play, they ruin it for those of us who grow legit. Although cheap imported enhancer may explain the lopsidedness that has been detected.

The McGuffin said...

Hey Peirce,

First off, cool name.

Second off, you're review of PoD was pretty damn sweet. You hit all the high spots and caught some nice examples of Carpenter in his prime. The last 7 minutes of PoD was incredible, I would rank the ending up there with the greats of horror filmage. The haunting image of poor Lisa desperatly reaching back under water across the screen was...well sad. And the editing of that sequence was sublime.

Third off, dammit man...go rent Halloween. I'm seriously serious.

FatalPierce said...

I got pretty lucky in the name department. I do cheat a little though, Pierce is actually my last name. My first is both common and boring so I changed it up.

PoD definitely gave me a new (and very favorable) view of Carpenter's chops. The more I've been thinking about the movie the more I realize that I really want to see it again sooner than later.

Oddly enough I just got done watching Halloween not more than a half hour ago. I have to say even I didn't expect it to be quite that intense. It was just a completely awesome experience.

The McGuffin said...

I agree Pierce, PoD is multi-layered and requires many viewings to mentally get a grip on it's meaning. Old scriptures, dreams from the future, possession, mirrors as gateways to the other side...this is not an easy film to entirely figure out. So, knowing this, I went and bought the damn thing for repeated viewings.

Congrats on watching Halloween! Intense it is with a "round the campfire" like vibe of the boogeyman who won't die. Scary as hell.

FatalPierce said...

So I've just learned a valuable lesson about blogger. Do not rely on the email notifier of new messages!

I will most likely end up with PoD on my shelf...Halloween as well.

I now realize just how much I need to step up. There are a lot of movies out there that if it was publicly known that I hadn't seen them yet...lets just say I could be fed to the sharks...or at least one ample alabaster shark.