Blu-Ray Review: Prince of Darkness

Whilst films like Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York, Big Trouble in Little China, Assault on Precinct 13 and They Live firmly established John Carpenter’s reputation as a leading cult director, not all his films are as widely known. Despite attracting hardcore fans, the likes of Village of the Damned, Memoirs of an Invisible Man and Prince of Darkness are greatly underappreciated. The latter, now with a new 4K restoration, is a bizarre and highly entertaining oddity.

Professor Howard Birack (Victor Wong) and his quantum science students are a little dumbfounded when they receive a request from a priest (Donald Pleasence) for help. They join him in the basement of an abandoned church to investigate the properties of a cylinder containing a mysterious green liquid. They manage to decipher the inscriptions and discover that the vessel contains the embodiment of Satan.

Expect the unexpected from Prince of Darkness. Whilst Carpenter has brought together a fascinating myriad of elements, especially around the occult, it does at times feel like he has thrown a whole bag of clichés and monsters at a wall and hoped for the best. That being said, it’s eminently watchable and exceedingly good entertainment. The cast seem to be having great fun with it. Indeed, it’s a film to savour after imbibing at your pleasure.

Blu-ray extras:

Malevolent: Unearthing John Carpenter’s PRINCE OF DARKNESS: A brand new retrospective documentary produced by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures and featuring interviews with Cinematographer Gary Kibbe, actor Peter Jason, actor Alice Cooper, composer Alan Howarth, script supervisor Sandy King, visual effects supervisor Robert Grasmere, stunt coordinator Jeff Imada, Carpenter biographer John Muir, film historian C. Courtney Joyner, music historian Daniel Schweiger and Producer Larry Carpenters.
Intro by John Carpenter – an interview with director John Carpenter originally recorded for a French DVD release in 2003
Scene Analysis by John Carpenter – Director John Carpenter analyses key scenes from Prince of Darkness, in an interview from 2003
Audio commentary with John Carpenter and Peter Jason Sympathy for the Devil: Interview with John Carpenter – from 2013
Horror’s Halloween Hallowed Grounds with Sean Clark – a fun tour of the film’s locations hosted by Sean Clark
Photo gallery incl. Behind the Scenes

Prince of Darkness is released on EST, DVD, Blu-ray and 4k Ultra HD by Studiocanal on 26 November.

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