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Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day 24

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Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day 24

Old 10-22-09, 09:12 AM
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Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day 24



IMDB link for Prince of Darkness (1987)

Selection made by killercannibal.

These "2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day #" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 Films in 31 Days subset.

General discussion on the 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge goes here, your list for the Challenge goes here.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day. You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day. Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags will not be needed, as it will be expected that anyone here has seen the film.

Do not read this thread if you have not seen the film, unless you don't mind the ending being spoiled for you.

Last edited by Trevor; 10-25-09 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 10-24-09, 06:57 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

Ok, so I probably won't be watching this tonight because I recently went to see it on the big screen. The New Bev played a newly-struck 35mm print, and it sure did look great! This has always been one of my favorite Carpenter movies, and a highly underrated horror film. Sure, it's a slow burn type of flick, and not much happens for the middle portion, but I could just eat the atmosphere with a spoon.

Carpenter's current wife, Sandy, was on hand to do a Q&A after the screening. She talked about how John had become obsessed with quantum mechanics, anti-matter and theoretical physics. He was reading voraciously about all of this and decided to make a "meta" film that encompassed his ideas. And I think he succeeded tremendously.

He assembled a fantastic cast, including such notables as Donald Pleasence, Peter Jason, Victor Wong, Linda Blair and Jameson Parker's mustache. Executive producer Shep Gordon got his most famous client, Alice Cooper, a small role and had him contribute the title track to the film.

The current DVD leaves much to be desired, though the PQ is much better than the old snapper release and R2 disc. I really enjoyed the commentary on the Optimum disc because Carpenter has to deal with the child-like observations of Peter Jason. That guy is a riot in person and on video. I always recommend this one to people seeking out new horror since it is so overlooked.
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Old 10-24-09, 07:10 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

I always thought this one was underrated, too, Killer -- and that long, long opening credit sequence, on the big screen, is one of the best set-ups Carpenter ever laid down.
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Old 10-24-09, 07:14 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

I adore this and consider it Carpenter's most satisfying accomplishment. In fact, it's my favorite horror film aside from the original Black Christmas.

Carpenter really hit gold with the script for this one. I find it to be Carpenter's most intelligent and thought provoking. I love all of the theoretical, scientific and religous discussion in this film. He takes all of these wonderful ideas and forms them into one of the most intriguing storylines the genre has ever seen. It all makes for a very engaging viewing experience, especially if this sort of material fascinates you as much as it does me.

The film is slow burning, yet intensely unnerving. The overall mood, the creepy street people, the church itself and the eerie occurences caused by the Anti-God's growing power all make for an unsettling watch. Perhaps the most effective scene in the film for me is Wyndham saying hello in that garbled voice followed by "Pray for death." I also must make mention of the recurring dream projections via tachyons. A brilliant idea that adds an even deeper level to the film's frightening nature.

As far as the cast is concerned, this is my favorite ensemble in a Carpenter film, even moreso than the one we get in The Thing. They all do fine jobs, especially Pleasance and Wong. I love the interaction between these two. I also really enjoy Jameson Parker in the lead, and Dennis Dun is the rare case of comedy relief that actually works. He is amusing, likable, and his antics don't overshadow or ruin the mood that the film has built up.

The atmosphere? Perfect. So is the dread inducing score, which is a perfect fit for the material. In the same way that I see Prince of Darkness as Carpenter's best film, the haunting music throughout makes for his best work as a composer. I love the score as much as I love the film itself. The sense of hopeless isolation Carpenter is able to convey despite the church being in L.A. is yet another impressive accomplishment in a film that never fails to impress.

Definitely an underrated classic. Carpenter's wonderful ideas are realized to fascinating effect in the film, and for me, the execution is flawless. It's a rare case when I have nothing bad to say about a movie, but this is one of those instances. The music, the atmosphere, the apocalyptic tone, the marvelous ending... it all works beautifully for me. It's a gem that Carpenter has never bettered. I know I'm in the minority regarding that statement, but I'm sticking to it.
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Old 10-24-09, 08:52 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

I first saw this when it first came out on video (Mad at the time because I thought Alice Cooper was gonna have a bigger part) Saw it a 2nd time in the early 90's with a friend (He never saw it before and got creeped out. I admit to getting spooked on the 2nd viewing, as well)

Today was my 3rd viewing and I was glad to find out that this film still holds up very well. One thing though, I could've swore that my first 2 viewings had the film opening with the "Transmission dreams" and then the credits. But that's probably because those sequences made such an impression on me that I was never able to forget them.

BTW, the trailer shows an extended shot of the very last scene in the film. I'm glad they kept it the way it is in the finalized showing.
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Old 10-24-09, 08:55 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

The only things I didn't like about this movie are Dennis Dun and the way his character gets trapped on the other side of a wall (it seems strained to me), and Donald Pleasence essentially rehashing his Halloween character (not because he did it poorly, but because it didn't seem fresh). The dream transmissions, on the other hand, are one of my favorite things I've seen in any John Carpenter movie.

The recent John Carpenter: Master of Fear DVD that I reviewed (http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/38558...ie-collection/) offers the best PQ for the movie yet, noticeably better than the stand-alone DVD release (plus improved PQ for The Thing as well, although it's a moot point if you own it in HD). You do lose the sole bonus feature, the movie's theatrical trailer, but if you're going to get the R2 DVD for the commentary and want a better-looking one to watch, this is the way to go.

Last edited by tylergfoster; 10-24-09 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 10-26-09, 01:12 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

"I've got a message for you... and you're not going to like it."

I love this flick. Great atmosphere and Carpenter incorporates some interesting/original ideas.
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Old 10-26-09, 11:38 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

Just got back from seeing this on the big screen. I haven't watched it in its entirety since it first hit VHS back in the day. I was very impressed overall. I have the DVD in my collection and want to revisit it soon. But hearing the score on the big screen and watching Carpenter's fantastic scope photogpraphy was more that a worthwhile experience. The final 20 minutes are devastating.
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Old 10-27-09, 08:58 AM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

I watched this one last night. It's not very often I can say this about a horror movie, but I think a lot of the ideas and concepts went over my head a little bit. And I'm certainly not saying that's a bad thing! I appreciate that Carpenter made an intelligent film that just happened to be horror. Honestly, I just don't think I was in the mindset for much of what the film threw at me. Having always avoided reading too much about the film, and the film was not at all what I expected.

But anyway, I really liked it. I know this one is pretty divisive among people, but I thought it was a good movie that I know I need to watch again -- but more prepared for what I'm going to get. I've loved that I've been able to use the challenge this year to see some Carpenter films I hadn't seen before. It's been great to finally get a chance to see The Fog and Prince of Darkness -- and both in HD.
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Old 10-27-09, 09:28 AM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

See this last night at our local rep theatre on a double bill with Big Trouble in Little China. They should have really reversed the order on that one. I have to say, this was my least favorite Carpenter flick...very slow and poorly paced. I liked a few scenes but, as a whole, it lacked something. Somebody above mentioned the plot being a little hard to follow and I agree to an extent...of course, playing this after the amazing Big Trouble in Little China could have add to my lack of patience in trying to follow this one. Found myself dozing out a bit. Maybe I need to just watch it again with a brain not full of over 100 horror flicks watched in 4 weeks.
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Old 10-27-09, 11:04 AM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

I enjoy this one. By no means my favorite Carpenter, or even in the top 5, but I like it. I love the concepts and ideas and how bleak it is.
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Old 10-28-09, 10:49 AM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

Originally Posted by SethDLH View Post
I enjoy this one. By no means my favorite Carpenter, or even in the top 5, but I like it. I love the concepts and ideas and how bleak it is.
I love Carpenter's films, but only see two (the obvious Halloween and Thing) that I would place as better.
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Old 11-01-09, 02:33 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

Originally Posted by droidguy1119 View Post
The recent John Carpenter: Master of Fear DVD that I reviewed (http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/38558...ie-collection/) offers the best PQ for the movie yet, noticeably better than the stand-alone DVD release (plus improved PQ for The Thing as well, although it's a moot point if you own it in HD). You do lose the sole bonus feature, the movie's theatrical trailer, but if you're going to get the R2 DVD for the commentary and want a better-looking one to watch, this is the way to go.
Nice review, thanks!

I might actually buy that set, even though I own 2 of the 4 films already. If I find a good price and factor in the $5 candy, it will be nice to own the other 2, including this excellent film.
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Old 11-12-09, 09:38 AM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

i didnt realize the pq quality was better with that new 4 movie set. i already have the thing and just bought they live, what the heck
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Old 11-12-09, 03:27 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

Originally Posted by Dave23 View Post
i didnt realize the pq quality was better with that new 4 movie set. i already have the thing and just bought they live, what the heck
I would say:

The Thing: PQ better (edge halos disappear)
Prince of Darkness: PQ noticeably better (prepping for BD?)
They Live: PQ ever so minutely better...more like better compression than better PQ (it just looks generally "improved", nothing specific. Still looks like an 80's catalog title though.)
Village of the Damned: PQ maybe better...but the existing transfer is really, really bad, so a minute improvement = still bad
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Old 11-21-09, 01:21 PM
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Re: Prince of Darkness (1987) reviews/discussion - 2009 DVDTalk Horror Challenge Day

Took me long enough to see this and to actually say anything about it on here. I've always considered Carpenter to be my favorite director and can't believe I never saw this. Anyway, I do agree it is a solid movie, and the cast is the best thing about it. It's def. in my top 5 for the man, and I think after reading droid guys review I'll be picking up the set for this, and better pq on the other two I own. Village of the damned? Ahh... i guess its a free dvd.
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