Movie Review: PRINCE OF DARKNESS

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prince of darkness
Universal
1987
R

“Hello? I’m opening the door, if you want to stop what you’re doing and put your clothes on.”

  • When a group of graduate students and scientists discover an ancient canister containing an evil looking liquid in an abandoned church, all hell breaks loose. Shortly after the discovery, the liquid seems to come alive, generating an evil energy that systematically turns members of the group into zombies. But even worse, it releases Satan, thus paving the way for the return of his father–the all-powerful Anti-God. The terror mounts as only two members of the group are left to save an innocent world.

As John Carpenter movies go, I have to admit that the 1987 movie Prince Of Darkness was one that I had to watch more than once to fully begin to appreciate it for what it is. Like The Thing, I didn’t get it at first. It was something completely different than what I was considering to be good horror and sci-fi at the time. That time being the early-to-mid 1990s. Movies like Halloween, Children Of The Damned, They Live!, and the anthology film Body Bags, I dug pretty much upon first watch. Prince Of Darkness, though…well, let’s just say I wasn’t prepared for the Lovecraftian-level of weirdness that was contained. Indeed, I had yet to understand what “Lovecraft” was, outside of it being the guy that Metallica bassist Cliff Burton was into reading before he died. Thanks, alarmist Christian anti-rock propaganda.

Anyway, on to the movie…

One afternoon, quantum physics Professor Howard Birack (Victor Wong!) is invited by a priest (Donald Pleasence!) to bring a bunch of his students to a monastery belonging to a group known as “The Brotherhood of Sleep”. In the basement of this place, they find a large cylinder canister containing a swirling green liquid. After deciphering some text found next to the cylinder that describes the liquid as the corporeal embodiment of Satan (and not a batch of Ecto Cooler), they also discover that the liquid seems to be sentient, and is broadcasting increasingly complex streams of data. The group analyze the data using the best computers 1987 could buy, and realize that these include some differential equations. So, it’s really, really smart Ecto Cooler. Meanwhile, some bits of Liquid Satan escape and possess a couple of the students while they sleep, and also the monastery is being surrounded by the local homeless population (led by Alice Cooper!) that seem to be heeding the voice of a nameless entity to keep everyone from escaping the place. The Professor and the Priest (he’s just called “priest” in the credits, so that’s his name) theorize that Satan is actually the offspring of an even more powerful force of evil they call the “Anti-God” (sure), who is bound to the realm of anti-matter (I believe that’s in Revelation somewhere, after the Maps), while everyone are dreaming of the same future news transmission of DOOOOOOOOM. Some possessed types manage to get Satan to possess one of the female students, who, as the physical vessel of Satan, tries to bring the Anti-God into our realm by way of a mirror. Then Satan is defeated by being pushed through the mirror portal, the mirror is smashed, and everyone who wasn’t possessed previously survives. Cue Shocking Dream Ending.

So, yeah, it’s rather easy to see why this movie didn’t perform very well upon its initial release. Now, having been a bit more versed in the whole weird fiction realm, I can see that Prince Of Darkness was a rather unique blend of horror and science fiction that was painted with heavy strokes of Lovecraft. The concept of an alternate anti-matter realm ruled by an anti-God, and Satan being less red-skinned horned fallen angel from classic Christian lore, and more a sentient tub of protoplasmic Ecto Cooler (I’m sorry, but that’s what it looks like, ergo that’s what I’m calling it), this movie definitely thinks outside of the horror box. Mind you, the other horror movies in 1987 included the likes of the first Predator movie, the original Robocop, The Lost Boys, and the very first Hellraiser, and the third Nightmare On Elm Street (known as “the best one”)…yeah, it was up against some stiff competition in the genre department.

Fortunately, because of the video rental market, Prince Of Darkness didn’t just disappear into the ether. Again, this is not the kind of “one and done” kind of movies; mileage may vary, and it’s definitely not one for those into fast food horror. But, this is one of those movies that will grow on you. Much like green slime creeping up into your mouth.

366 DAYS OF METAL: “Freedom” (Alice Cooper)

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Vinyl Confessions – MULLET ROCK II

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van halen
VAN HALEN – Van Halen
van halen ii
VAN HALEN – Van Halen II
van halen - 1984
VAN HALEN – 1984
…as I mentioned back in the Vinyl Confessions bit that had David Lee Roth’s first solo EP, I was never that big of a Van Halen fan. I remember being introduced to them back in grade school, where a few of my classmates had the 1984 on cassette, and hearing the big hits from that one on the radio at the time (being “Jump”, “I’ll Wait”, and to a lesser extent, “Hot For Teacher”). Truth be told, if hard pressed to choose a side, I would say I fall squarely in the Van Hagar era as far as favorite iterations of the band goes; however, these three are no slouches, and let’s face it: while not that great of a singer, Roth is the perfect frontman for Van Halen.
alice cooper - flush the fashion
ALICE COOPER – Flush The Fashion
…so, the early 80s saw a lot of the classic rockers kind of adopt a more New Wave style to ride the trend that was emerging on the Top 40 Radio at the time. Alice Cooper went through that phase with a handful of albums in the early-to-mid 80s, starting with this one. While more a fan of his hard rock and metal output, I have to admit that there are some rather good songs on this album.

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Vinyl Confessions: WELCOME TO MY BREAKDOWN

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Continuing on (long overdue) with my showing off of my ever-growing vinyl record collection, I now present to you the so-far three albums from one of my favorite performers: Alice Cooper…
alice cooper killer
ALICE COOPER – Killer
This one is probably the first Alice Cooper that I never did own in any other format. Meaning, this is the first time I’ve heard this one put out with the Alice Cooper Band proper. And…it’s a pretty good album, really. Some pretty good deep cuts on this one…
alice cooper welcome to my nightmare
ALICE COOPER – Welcome To My Nightmare
Everything about this album is classic Alice Cooper, from the concept, the Vincent Price cameo, and the Steven Trilogy still gives me chills and freaks me out each time I listen to it. Like a good Hammer horror flick should…
alice cooper goes to hell
ALICE COOPER – Goes To Hell
Of the three that I have on vinyl (for now), this is probably my least favorite one. That’s not to say there aren’t any bright spots on this; it just that, following up such a strong concept record like Welcome To My Nightmare, this one just doesn’t compete. Love that cover, though…

I’m still keeping my eyes open for other records from master of shock rock, so this probably won’t be the last time this guy’s going to pop up in this blog series. Until next time, cheers…

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HALLOWEEN’ING Day 31: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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halloween'ing 2017
It’s here! It’s here! The Greatest Day of the Year! Okay, so I usually don’t get this kind of excitable, but…IT’S HALLOWEEN! It’s the day we’ve been counting down to, waiting for with baited breath, marking the passage of time with…well, you know. Anyway, it’s time to do whatever it is you do for this day of days. As for me, I’m going to probably do what I always do: Stay in, make up some snacky-snacks, and settle in for a bit of a Horror Movie Marathon! But, not too late…it is a work night, after all. Until next year, cheers, and keep the Halloween Spirit alive for the rest of the year…

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HALLOWEEN’ING Day 3: “Paranormal” (Alice Cooper)

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halloween'ing 2017

Alice_Cooper_Paranormal

Look, you’re probably going to be getting an Alice Cooper reference here at least once every year. This year it’s no different. And rather than taking a look back at one of his classic releases, this time I’m gonna reference his recently-released album Paranormal. Specifically, the lead-in title cut, “Paranormal”.

The song is sung from the point of view of a ghost that is lamenting not being able to physically be with his love, who is still alive. It’s rather poignant as well as creepy in its execution.

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2016 Day 31: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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halloweening-2016-logo

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Here we are! The Big Day itself! HALLOWEEN! We made it through another month of Halloween’ing, and now we get to celebrate by whatever means possible. For many, it may be the tried and true tradition of trick or treating (if that hasn’t been supplanted by the whole “trunk or treat” thing that’s big nowadays). Or perhaps a gathering with friends, either a blowout or a more intimate get together. Or perhaps, like myself, you just like to stay in, and play a marathon of movies to cap off the evening. However you do it, have fun and remember that Satan sucks and doesn’t deserve this or any day. Hail the Reanimator, Christ Jesus. Now, here’s a bit of Alice Cooper to send off all into the night, and the inevitable post-Halloween depression that follows on November 1st…

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