Movie Title: Prince of Darkness
Writer: John Carpenter (credited as Martin Quatermass)
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard, Anne Marie Howard, Ann Yen, Ken Wright, Dirk Blocker, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, Peter Jason, Robert Grasmere, Thom Bray, Joanna Merlin, Alice Cooper
Review: When a mysterious cylinder is discovered in an abandoned church a research team is called in to investigate. What is found inside this ancient container is pure evil that means to bring about the end of days.
I love John Carpenter's movies! They're all entertainment of the highest order. Of all of his horror films, Prince of Darkness has to be his most terrifying. What clinches it is the movie's tone created by the creepy atmosphere and the unrelenting music score that gives you goosebumps and puts you on edge. The film is a slow-burn that just keeps ratcheting up the tension to the point that you'll be gripping the armrest for dear life or the arm of the person you're sitting next to. Its originality and creativity are what sets it apart from most horror films back then, and even these days. It's the ideas, theories, and concepts that rattle around in your mind as you watch, and after you watch, that will truly terrify you.
The ensemble cast is fantastic, and several of Carpenter's frequent on-screen collaborators like Donald Pleasence, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, and Peter Jason really bring this frightening film to life. And be sure to keep your eye out for an extended cameo by Alice Cooper.
This is the second film in what John Carpenter calls his "Apocalypse Trilogy". The other two are The Thing and In the Mouth of Madness. All three are brilliant, but Prince of Darkness is kind of a forgotten gem that is without a doubt 1h 42min of nightmare fuel. See it and remember..."This is not a dream... not a dream."
Fun Fact: The genesis of the project came from Debra Hill describing a dream she had of a vague dark figure exiting a church which filled her with dread. John Carpenter developed the story around this idea in hopes of recreating the fear Hill really felt.