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Review: 'Prince of Darkness' Not Carpenter's Best, But Worth a Look For Horror Fans

by Ken Tasho
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jan 19, 2021
Review: 'Prince of Darkness' Not Carpenter's Best, But Worth a Look For Horror Fans

From now on, you may decide that the only way to watch a John Carpenter horror film is in Ultra 4K high definition.

His 1987 film "Prince of Darkness" is a prime example, brought about on Ultra 4K Blu-ray for the first time from the ever-reliable people at Shout Factory. They also include their 2013 "Scream Factory" Blu-ray disc, which contains the same exact special features from that release.

The simple story of the devil possessing young physics students isn't the best in Carpenter's long resume, but is worth a look regardless.

The famed director's use of widescreen and long tracking shots are in evidence in the Blu-ray presentation, enriching the tale of the devil's being unleashed from a canister, after being locked away for seven million years. Physics students and scientists are holed up in an abandoned church doing research, and slowly the devil turns them into killing zombies.

Rocker Alice Cooper has a small, non-speaking role as a homeless zombie, and "Halloween" star Donald Pleasence is billed as the Priest. The straight-ahead story in "Prince of Darkness" becomes bogged down with scads of incomprehensible dialogue about physics, equations, math, religion, faith, and human nature. Carpenter makes up for this with a stinging, eerie music score, and creepy imagery.

Special features on the Blu-ray disc are hit and miss. A nine-minute interview with Carpenter barely mentions the film at all; the master director talks about his horror career, and how he's thankful that people still remember his films.

Alice Cooper is also interviewed, as is special effects supervisor Robert Grasmere. Alan Howarth, co-composer of the film, is in the "Hell on Earth" feature. And be on the lookout for an easily accessible Easter egg, in which Carpenter sits in at a Q&A session for the "Prince of Darkness" 25th anniversary.

This Ultra 4K Blu-ray outshines Shout Factory's prior Blu-ray-only release of "Prince of Darkness."

"Prince of Darkness" is out on 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray from Shout Factory on January 19, 2021.

Ken Tasho is a Corporate Drone by day and Edge Contributor by night. He has a love for all things ’80’s and resides in the Wayland Square area of Providence, RI...but would much rather be sharing an apartment in NYC with ’80’s rock goddesses Pat Benatar and Deborah Harry.

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