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John Carpenter’s ‘Prince of Darkness’ Was Inspired by Dario Argento’s ‘Inferno’

John Carpenter’s ‘Prince of Darkness’ Was Inspired by Dario Argento’s ‘Inferno’

One of the hardest things to depict onscreen is anything related to Hell, which is why I love films like Hellraiser, The Ninth Gate, Angel Heart and The Devil’s Advocate. It’s unbelievably hard to make these films realistic and haunting, yet some filmmakers find that sweet spot right in the middle. Two other classics are John Carpenter‘s Prince of Darkness and Dario Argento‘s Inferno. Interestingly, Carpenter revealed that his 1987 film – about a research team finding a mysterious cylinder in a deserted church that could bring upon the end of the world –  was directly inspired by Argento’s trip to Hell.

Prince of Darkness was a movie that was inspired by a Dario Argento movie called Inferno,” Carpenter told CoS. “I loved Inferno, but the thing that was inspiring to me was it was just so free. Narratively, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but that didn’t matter. The movie was so profound. I thought, Well shit, I want to do something like this. So that’s what my inspiration really came from.”

After self-reflecting for a moment, Carpenter joked: “I haven’t ever told Dario that. I should tell him.”

Argento’s Inferno came out in 1980 and followed an American college student in Rome and his sister in New York who investigate a series of killings in both locations where their resident addresses are the domain of two covens of witches.

Both Inferno and Prince of Darkness are must-see Halloween films. Pair them with any of the aforementioned psychological horrors mentioned above and you’ll have all the tricks and treats you can handle.



  • I LOVE Inferno!

  • zombie84_41

    BASKIN is a really fucked up movie about hell lol.

  • Alanmac

    LOVE Prince of Darkness!!!!! Just the scene with Alice Cooper standing in front of all the homeless outside staring at the building is enough to make me love the atmosphere.

  • Sam Beckett

    Suddenly realisation hits me and it’s so obvious

  • Munchie Strikes Back

    Inferno is my second favorite Argento after Phenomena. Suspiria a very close third. Inferno is a stunningly gorgeous film that succeeds perfectly at being about nothing and everything at the same time.

  • tesseracht

    I always figured Prince of Darkness was inspired by The Beyond, but I could totally see Inferno as well. All three films have a loose narrative and heavy atmosphere.

  • Cappy Tally

    Prince of Darkness is one of my favorite horror films. Interesting to know Inferno was an influence. I can see it.

    • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

      It’s funny but years ago I thought Jameson Parker looked like Leigh McCloskey.

  • disqus_uPh3WDxbQy

    Prince of Darkness is one of Carpenter’s most underrated gems.

  • Brad Tyler

    POD is an outstandingly good film. Definitely hugely underrated!

  • Simon Allen

    I love Prince Of Darkness .
    Its such a beautifully structured movie .It just builds and builds and it is genuinely scary because it just seems to make a hell of a lot of sense .
    The performances are a bit spotty though ….Dennis Dun is just dreadful and beyond annoying .
    I love Inferno too but that makes very little sense LOL .

  • Necro

    I haven’t watched ‘Prince’ for awhile now, yep sounds like a plan.

  • Southern Tenant Folk Union

    We’re screening ‘Prince of Darkness’ this coming Friday (27th October) in a church here in Edinburgh – I realise most people seeing this won’t be able to make it but it’s going to be great…Here’s the ticket link on the off chance someone is nearby –

    • That sounds amazing. How’d the screening go?

      • Southern Tenant Folk Union

        It went great – the tech side (sound and picture) were really good (which was a big relief) and we had over 100 tickets sold so a really good crowd…and the church setting created a great atmosphere for it…might do some other film screening there sometime in the future…

        Also check out this track from our support slot (where we ended the set with a cover of Carpenter’s PoD theme) it’s here as a free download – – the rest of the TST set will be up next week…

        • Congrats! I just started my own pop up screening outlet. Our first showing did not draw too many people. Hoping the next one does….and the cover is awesome!

          • Southern Tenant Folk Union

            Yes, me and some friends run a monthly movie night and attendance is all over the place…good to hear you’ve got something going – hope you get more people for future screenings….glad you liked the PoD cover…cheers!

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