Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scarefest 2012 - The Prince Of Darkness

Today's Movie:  The Prince of Darkness (1987) directed by John Carpenter in a blatant attempt to cash in on his Halloween success. 

Starring:  The dude from 'Simon and Simon' (the blond one with the stache), Donald Pleasance reprising his role from 'Halloween' only as a priest and even more poorly acted, and a homeless guy who I could swear was Alice Cooper but he was uncredited and never said a word. 

Plot:  A priest dies with a box on his chest (this wasn't the cause of his death, but strange nonetheless).  Inside is a key that Pleasance's character somehow knows exactly which door it will fit.  Inside he finds a mysterious green goo that is either an ancient cotton candy maker or the 'PURE ESSENCE OF EVIL!'.  A team of student physicists are brought in for reasons that are entirely unclear and bloodshed ensues. 

Gore Factor:  Not terribly high.  The gore that is here is ridiculous and laughable.  This includes an elderly bag lady stabbing a guy to death who doesn't bother even raising his hands in protest, Alice Cooper shoving a bike through a guy (I wish I were kidding) and the single lamest broken neck scene ever filmed.  Oh, some dude loses his paper mache head, as well. 

Nude Factor:  None and let us all be thankful for that.  Not terribly attractive women in this movie.

Scare Factor:  Despite all of the above, Carpenter does provide some spooky images: People surrounding a building unmoving and silent, hands attempting to grab at feet, bugs crawling all over the place.  Also, the last image of a woman trying to reach for help before the exit is cut off will stick with you.  Hard to explain without giving things away. 

Review:  This movie was all over the place.  Trying to be part rational debate over the existance of God, the clash between science and religion, while keeping violence and fright at the forefront.  It doesn't work.  The acting is terrible, the budget is so low I'm betting they shot this is a week, and the story makes very little sense.  It doesn't help that what is supposed to be scary is simply hilarious most of the time.  The green liquid takes over people by peeing in their mouths, the gateway from hell is any mirror apparently (a commentary on narcissism?  Who fucking cares!), and the girl that everyone is supposed to be head over heels for is plain looking at best and an emotionless bitch. 

On top of everything is a dream shared by everyone in the house that they decide is a video sent back in time from the future to warn everyone what is going to happen.  Somehow this is taken with a nod of the head and a decision that it can be stopped.  Well done, brainiacs.

I'll give this movie a break since it was made in the 80s (the music, the clothes, the hair, the attitudes, the mustaches), but if this ever was scary it certainly hasn't aged well. 

Bottom Line:  Hey Hollywood.  Why not remake this movie with better special effects, better actors and more scares?  The idea behind it isn't bad, just poorly (both quality and money wise) executed. 

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