John Carpenter’s “Prince of Darkness”, released in 1987, is one of the scariest movies i’ve ever seen. The film centers around an abandoned church in Los Angeles, where for centuries there has rested a huge canister which has now begun to take on a life of it’s own – a huge embodiment of vile, gravity defying liquid. Anybody who makes physical contact with this liquid is turned into a zombie and a servant to Satan himself. Once turned to a zombie, they’re granted the ability to convert anyone else into a zombie by spitting this vile liquid into their face. Soon, vast hordes of lifeless, emotionless human beings (“zombies”) are roaming the streets of Los Angeles. A group of scientists and priests have barricaded themselves inside the church and the surrounding building, merely trying to survive against Satan and his slaves.
One woman has been chosen by Satan to be used as the gateway to bring himself into our world in human form, and boy what terrifying results that yields.
The film starts off slow and boring, but the intensity gradually increases to the point where you find yourself in an engaging, gruesome little nightmare. Things in this film are dealt with intelligently and scientifically. Things that most horror movies would try to get the audience to swallow with some bullshit logic and hocus-pocus are actually explained properly in this film, with precise and clear scientific validity in mind. If you look at the big picture, essentially the plot is just another outrageous demon story with Satan trying to find a gateway to come into our world, but in this movie they’ve actually managed to do a very subtle job of it and make it seem real and believable, it’s critic proof even to the most scientifically minded individual. It’s as though the scriptwriter has consulted with a team of scientists or something!
The acting is quite good, and there was never a moment where I found myself laughing at bits that were not supposed to be funny, as is the case with many horror films. The one thing I didn’t like about this film was that, despite being quite tense and terrifying, I still found myself asking for more…more gore, more killing, more…something. I guess the gory horror scenes were too few and far between, but they were certainly effective. What good this film had to offer in terms of horror, it just doesn’t give the audience quite enough of it.
I guarantee you the last 10 minutes of this film are utterly terrifying – but don’t take the chicken shit way out by watching it in the daytime with your mates around while you’re drunk or somethin’. Experience this film like I did, in true horror style – watch it by yourself at night, with all the lights turned off.