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John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness - Page 2

post #51 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by felix natalya View Post
Exactly. I've always wondered how well BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE TROUBLE would have done in todays enviroment. Sadly enough, I bellieve it wouldn't have been much of a hit as well. It's not mainstream enough (even now).

Like you said. Some things just takke time.

BTiLC might make Hellboy-type money today, but nothing more. Unless Shia Lebouef played Jack.
post #52 of 82
After going on a Netflix John Carpenter jag, I finally sat down and watched Prince of Darkness for the first time since I was a little kid. What a bizarre flick. I'm not even sure what it's supposed to be... hell, I'm not sure Carpenter ever decided what it was supposed to be. Regardless, I have a question for the more knowledgeable: So, Satan was some sort of alien trying to breach the dimensions and bring the Anti-God to this reality? And Jesus was some sort of alien trying to stop him? Okay, cool. But who put Satan in the Devil-in-a-Can? After x-raying the device, the tech explains that the cannister has an elaborate locking device and it's locked from the inside!!! So was Satan like, "Jesus, you're being a drag and it's making me tired. I'm just gonna climb in here and sleep for a few millenia. Oh, and I'm locking my door so you can't mess with my stuff." Can someone explain? Did someone lock Satan in? And, if so, why was the locking mechanism on the inside? Did Satan lock himself in? If so, why?
post #53 of 82
Your post reminds me of why I was never as in love with Carpenter as a lot of other cinephiles. They tend not to make a whole lot of sense when you really think about them.
post #54 of 82
POD is Carpenter as American Argento.

I never liked the flick when I was young; it struck me as silly and disjointed, and I didn't pay enough attention to the music for that to be a hook.

But I watched it again over the weekend and was surprised by how much I liked it. Conceptually it attempts quite a lot, and even though it fails as often (if not more often) than it succeeds, I like the approach quite a lot. Ends up being more eerie than scary, but once things actually get going (and until the assembly-line 'out the window' action) Carpenter manages to crank the movie up in each successive scene.

And with respect to the suceptibility of various populations: homeless people (broken, mentally ill, unstable) are easy prey whlie trained minds (scientists, priest) are more resilient.
post #55 of 82
I agree with most here, I like Prince of Darkness more for concept and mood. I really like the concept of scientists (and a few assorted oddballs) sequestered to make sense of something ancient and possibly "mystical," and the everything from the visions to "it's locked from the inside" works to keep interest as long as you accept them in an X-Files "they're never really going to explain this" kind of way. But yeah, if you think too hard about it the movie sort of falls apart.
post #56 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ Fischer View Post
POD is Carpenter as American Argento.

And with respect to the suceptibility of various populations: homeless people (broken, mentally ill, unstable) are easy prey whlie trained minds (scientists, priest) are more resilient.
Fuck you, I just found this thread and was on my way to making the same two points. The scissor scene someone mentioned earlier was so Argento I'm guess Carpenter sent the guy a check.

No matter how badly Carpenter's later career has suffered, it's nothing compared to the anal rape that's been Argento's post Trauma efforts (Pelts not withstanding).
post #57 of 82
Didn't we have a discussion about this last year?

Anyway, here is a great synopsys of all that is great about Prince of Darkness.

And no PoD thread is complete without:



post #58 of 82
In some ways, I think that Prince of Darkness does Argento better than Argento does. I'm going to pull up an old chestnut that I generally hate to describe the plot: "dream logic". I'm not usually fond of the term, because it's often used as an excuse to cover lazy storytelling. But this is one movie that uses it extremely well.
post #59 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg David View Post
Your post reminds me of why I was never as in love with Carpenter as a lot of other cinephiles. They tend not to make a whole lot of sense when you really think about them.
Yeah, especially the later Carpenter films. Having watched In the Mouth of Madness and Prince of Darkness within a few days of one another, I definitely find Madness to be the better (and, oddly, more cohesive) film. It occurs to me that if Darkness is Carpenter channeling Argento, Madness is Carpenter channeling David Lynch.
post #60 of 82
I am not sure Madness is channeling Lynch, I just do not see it at all.

This is an enjoyable horror movie just for a few scenes and some cool ideas. it does not completely deliver on those ideas though. It reaches for too many cheap scares instead of going for the gold. It takes the easy way out, just to add some 'traditional' horror scenes. The ending is damn good though. I would actually be happy if Carpenter turned something like this out these days.
post #61 of 82
That's the interesting thing about this movie; the perspective of time. When it was released, it seemed like lesser work from Carpenter. Given the perspective of the last several movies he's made, this one moves up several spots on the list.
post #62 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg David View Post
That's the interesting thing about this movie; the perspective of time. When it was released, it seemed like lesser work from Carpenter. Given the perspective of the last several movies he's made, this one moves up several spots on the list.

It's certainly blows away everything he's done since about 1988.
post #63 of 82
Bump!

I don't know if it's the Carpenter apologist in me, but I find his late-80s work just as interesting as his bona fide classics. Not necessarily as good, but like Scorsese's work during the same timeframe - different, creative. And while THEY LIVE is cheesy silly greatness, I think POD comes close to being as seminal as some of his earlier work. I love the big melange of ideas and influences - Lovecraft, Quatermass, John Wyndham, and all the bugnuts stuff that Carpenter throws in. The dreams from the future feel very FROM BEYOND, and the ooky cylinder and the mob of possessed drifters....I;m struggling to come up with a recent horror movie that crams so many conceits and oddities into its runtime.

Horror feels very pigeonholed right now. Noble efforts are made to break through and be different, like SPLICE, but true creative nastiness feels very much confined to internet fans and the like. I wish there was still a Carpenter out there, a name horror guy makes weird, irony-free horror flicks that defy basic conventions, and who gets them seen.
post #64 of 82
If you're a Prince of Darkness admirer, I recommend checking out John Kenneth Muir's thoughtful analysis:

http://reflectionsonfilmandtelevisio...arpenters.html
post #65 of 82
I saw this when it opened in theaters; alone on a rainy night. Leaving the theater, I was very much creeped out (at 19 years old) and the drenched darkness felt both empty and full.

I've seen it a few times since, though it's been several years, and I agree that it succeeds more on the concept and mood levels than in some of its actual execution. The scale remains a bit too small, I think, especially as the third act seems to devolve into a "who gets knocked off now?" slasher. However, the parts that work really elevate it.

What's interesting to me is Carpenter's ahead-of-his-time conflation of quantum physics and religious theory. I've read some things along those lines in the last ten years - notably from former theoretical physicist John Polkinghorne - and there seems to some things to consider when looking at the world from quantum point of view.

And agreed on Dun's lack of rise to the big time. He had some really great comedic delivery and timing, as well as being able to bring the action.

Now I want to find the score and blast it come Halloween, as the kids come begging for candy.
post #66 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
If you're a Prince of Darkness admirer, I recommend checking out John Kenneth Muir's thoughtful analysis:

http://reflectionsonfilmandtelevisio...arpenters.html
Wow. That's a really great and thought-provoking write up. The AIDS analogies are especially interesting - but I wonder if the order and gender-elements of the "zombifying" was that purposeful or not.
post #67 of 82
As a subtext, you could apply AIDS to almost any monster movie - Vampires, Zombies, Thing-liens, Werewolves, and Body Snatchers et. al. spread their illness through intimate contact. The same-sex observation makes it a little harder to wave off as coincidence here, or at least discount it as part of a larger communicable disease subtext.
post #68 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
Wow. That's a really great and thought-provoking write up. The AIDS analogies are especially interesting - but I wonder if the order and gender-elements of the "zombifying" was that purposeful or not.
Muir has written extensively on Carpenter and it's all pretty good. You'd think he's some Carpenter-centric obsessive, but he's prolific as hell on a bunch of topics.
post #69 of 82
Another interesting article on the film, for those of you interested:

http://www.johncarpenterforum.com/in...sa=item;id=102
post #70 of 82
Thread Starter 

I wonder when the Blu-Ray for this will be out?

 

This, In The Mouth of Madness, Big Trouble and The Thing makes me glad I am a Carpenter fan. Strangely enough, I've yet to catch Halloween, though I did see the two Rob Zombie entries.

 

 

post #71 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post

Strangely enough, I've yet to catch Halloween, though I did see the two Rob Zombie entries.

 


There should be some sort of legal repercussion for this. 
 

 

post #72 of 82

And it should involve stone-filled socks, a minimum of two hungry rats, and at some point, anal electrocution. It's the sat through BOTH Rob Zombie films w/out having seen the original, more than just not having seen the original that bothers me the most.

post #73 of 82

Making my way through the few Carpenters I haven't seen (only Dark Star, Assault on Precinct 13, Village of the Damned, Ghosts of Mars and now The Ward left), and finally got around to this. Very atmospheric, forboding, desolate film that I really enjoyed.

 

The acting is a bit hammy at times, and there are far too many red shirts (like when Victor Wong, Lisa Blount and Jameson Parker lock themselves in a room and there's some random mullet-wielding guy in there with them just so he can get infected later). So strange seeing Dennis Dun here, I grew up on Big Trouble in Little China and had never seen him in anything else. He's actually not doing a very good acting job, his freak out in the closet is kind of embarrassing, but he's likable enough. Donald Pleasance is intense as usual, although he's really being Dr. Loomis circa Halloween 4 here, so Victor Wong is the stand-out. I love his endless exposition on religion vs. science, quantum physics, tachyons and the like.

 

As for how Alice Cooper and his bum squad got infected, I think the green Satan juice had gotten into the ground and into the bugs.

 

Love the score, like a mix of Carpenter and Phantasm. In fact, the entire movie has a real Don Coscarelli feel to it, a fatalism and sense of isolation: once the main cast is inside the church, there's no sense that the authorities or anyone will be intervening, or that there's even still a world out there. Even when the cops and EMS show up at the end, we're left with Parker's Ben having a final nightmare (those "messages from the future" truly are horrifying and some of the best "found footage" sequences I've ever seen) that ends with him focusing on a mirror, which is very reminiscent of Phantasm.

 

I can't say I understand the entire thing, and it's not my favorite Carpenter (although I rank it above They Live, which I caught recently; I liked it but it felt a little too simple), but it's a noble effort and worth respect. Creepy as hell.

post #74 of 82

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

 

I can't say I understand the entire thing, and it's not my favorite Carpenter (although I rank it above They Live, which I caught recently; I liked it but it felt a little too simple), but it's a noble effort and worth respect. Creepy as hell.


IMSNHO, They Live scoots by on the strength of a few scenes and the leads. I think it's actually a pretty weak/poorly made film, especially compared to earlier Carpenter stuff. POD, with all its plot/logic holes, holds up much better tonally and isn't a chore to sit through.

 

post #75 of 82

I still maintain that Carpenter's directorial output from 1976-1988 is made up of nothing but classics.  Some are certainly better than others, but they are all great films.  Hell, even most of the ones he actually produced (as opposed to ones where they used his script and threw him a producing bone) are pretty damn good.  Very few of his contemporaries have had careers as consistent.

post #76 of 82

PRINCE OF DARKNESS has a stellar opening 12-13 minutes, as economical and atmospheric as anything Carpenter has ever done.

 

But things quickly go downhill, and PRINCE OF DARKNESS gets lousy. Awful character work, tedious exposition, and hackneyed scares populate the rest of the film. It's a shame, too, because Carpenter is playing with some neat ideas here, but he can't make it work.

post #77 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentsands77 View Post

PRINCE OF DARKNESS has a stellar opening 12-13 minutes, as economical and atmospheric as anything Carpenter has ever done.

 

But things quickly go downhill, and PRINCE OF DARKNESS gets lousy. Awful character work, tedious exposition, and hackneyed scares populate the rest of the film. It's a shame, too, because Carpenter is playing with some neat ideas here, but he can't make it work.



Shut your whore mouth!

 

Otherwise, I agree the film is weird, and weirdly inaccessible, and muddled, and all those things - but there's some way that it just all WORKS. It gives it a hazy, dreamlike quality. I'm not saying it's as finely tuned as The Thing, but sometimes a project takes on a life of its own - Prince of Darkness is one of those projects. It just leaves you deeply unsettled. Tight plotting, concise speech, clear focus - it would take away that retroactive quality. 

post #78 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayward_Woman View Post





Shut your whore mouth!

 

Otherwise, I agree the film is weird, and weirdly inaccessible, and muddled, and all those things - but there's some way that it just all WORKS. It gives it a hazy, dreamlike quality. I'm not saying it's as finely tuned as The Thing, but sometimes a project takes on a life of its own - Prince of Darkness is one of those projects. It just leaves you deeply unsettled. Tight plotting, concise speech, clear focus - it would take away that retroactive quality. 




You're responding to criticisms I didn't make. I didn't ask for "tight plotting, concise speech, clear focus." If anything, PRINCE OF DARKNESS isn't dreamy and existential enough. It ends up relying too much on zombie horror, which really hasn't ever been that scary or interesting (and just makes this "pure evil" seem stupid and ineffective), and it fails to take the characters' interactions into the off-kilter, compelling artificiality of, say, David Lynch. It just seems all very hackneyed and uninspired, as if Carpenter got the ball rolling and then some lesser, more formulaic storyteller took over.

 

A greater dose of psychological terror would do this film some good, ala Polanski's THE TENANT or PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK. This film gets bogged down in more physical threats of violence when really the story lends itself to a more existential, ethereal kind of horror.

post #79 of 82

Well, the first exclamation was a bit tongue in cheek. I swear!

 

I understand your criticisms, and I think your comparisons are legitimate - I see it, I do. I see where you can say hackney and uninspired - but in it being that way, I find it a happy accident that also makes it strangely compelling - a fitting mood for the film.  You can be like Lynch, and have it intentional and carefully constructed (This is not a derisive remark on Lynch), but the enduring weirdness and unsettling atmosphere of the film is exacerbated rather than hindered by what you define as negatives. 

 

Make a little more sense?

(Very unrelated, but for example - Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker in FFC's Dracula. The actor is wooden and illsuited for the role. IMO, this makes him perfect for the role. Happy Accident.)

post #80 of 82

I can see how it all gives it a certain kind of awkward charm. I have my soft spots for pulpy horror genre exercises, particularly when it comes to Hammer/Amicus horror or the Corman Poe films. But PRINCE OF DARKNESS doesn't work for me in that same way, and the way it continually fails to live up to its own potential I find endlessly frustrating (especially since the first thirteen minutes are really so, so good).


Edited by Agentsands77 - 8/27/11 at 9:34pm
post #81 of 82

What I wouldn't give for a remake of this.  As others have said, it contains some really interesting and neat ideas, and has a few great individual scenes, but overall doesn't really work.  I'd like to see someone else take a crack at it.

 

 

Now of course, I'm well aware that will never happen, but still.

post #82 of 82

Shout Factory has entered a deal with Universal to re-release a lot of the studio's horror movies (mostly from the 70s & 80s) as Blu-ray/DVD special editions.  While Prince of Darkness was not a part of the initial announcement, I won't be surprised if both it and Carpenter's Village of the Damned get released under the new label.  Doubly so considering the other Carpenter titles that ARE being put out by them:  Halloween II, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, and They Live.

 

Let's just hope the existing Carpenter/Piper and Carpenter/Jason commentaries from the European releases get ported over when the time comes.

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