director John Carpenter
Back in 1987, I saw John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, and unlike the critics of the day, I really kind of liked it. That was nearly 30 years ago now, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t see it again in that time frame. But I always recalled that spinning miasma of green evil and some convoluted but totally interesting story.
The story, though, is a germ of inspired physics meets metaphysics, played out by a worried priest (Donald Pleasance) and a college professor (Victor Wong) and a bunch of grad students who really had no idea what they signed up for. The set-up is kind of rickety but holds together in large part because of Carpenter’s masterful seething ocean of dread.
The film opens slowly over credits interspersed pretty deeply into the film, building slowly, against the soundtrack by Carpenter and collaborator Alan Howarth. It’s the apocalypse, but some weird science-y, religious-y apocalypse that doesn’t get well spelled out, but keeps the viewer teasingly curious.
It’s easy to see how this could be a favorite of a true Carpenter acolyte. It’s also somewhat easy to imagine this idea being re-made probably these days into a television show. And as I say that, I hope that no one is listening.
I am guessing that where this falls in your personal Carpenter pantheon says a lot about what kind of a hardcore Carpenter fan you are.