Today: May 28, 2024

Prince Of Darkness

With Halloween currently doing the business in cinemas around the world, there’s no better time to be reminded that it was John Carpenter, in 1978, who directed the opening salvo in what has become a classic horror movie franchise. It was Halloween, too, that catapulted an indie director into the big league with a reported $70 million box office take for a  $300,000 initial spend. 

So STUDIOCANAL’s re-issues of some of Carpenter’s big screen hits couldn’t be more timely. Sadly, so far, Halloween isn’t in the mix, but The Fog, They Live, Escape From New York, and Prince Of Darkness will all be getting 4K restoration treatment alongside limited theatrical releases. 

Prince Of Darkness was released ten yeas after Halloween and forms part of what Carpenter calls his ‘Apocalypse Trilogy’ (starting with The Thing and ending with Mountains Of Madness). Yet, while there’s no doubt that this is the work of a mature and confident director, it retains many of the trademarks of his early films: strong and diverse characters, plots that blur genre lines, and ‘what-if’ endings.

Prince Of Darkness deals with a sinister religious sect who have been guardians of an apparently other-worldly entity for two thousand years. As a group of scientists are brought in to study the phenomena, things quickly get out of hand. 

Carpenter is a director who loves to shake up accepted Hollywood ‘stereotypes’ and Prince Of Darkness is no exception, with the usual horror tropes are turned on their heads– guys being terrorised by female antagonists, and science trumping superstition at every turn.

Donald Pleasance and Victor Wong (Big Trouble In Little China) are both magnificent. It’s a joy to see actors of their calibre given the chance to play off against each other. Look out too for other Carpenter alumni such as Dennis Dun (Big Trouble In Little China), Susan Blanchard (They Live) and Dirk Blocker (Starman).

Prince Of Darkness is a late-night treat. A film with just the right amount of thrills, gore and characters who you care about. The dialogue’s a little ’80s cheesy at times and some of the performances seem mis-cued. But this is classic Carpenter presented in crisp 4K UHD. What’s not to love?

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

Previous Story

Most Memorable Movie Scores

Next Story


Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Abashiri Prison I-III

Constructed in the late nineteenth century to house political prisoners, Japan’s infamous Abashiri Prison served as the inspiration for a popular and prolific run of yakuza movies released between 1965 and 1972. In Abashiri Prison,

The Beach Boys

2024 sees the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys’ chart-topping compilation album Endless Summer that threw the fading band back into the limelight. Whilst this double LP release was a big financial

The Valiant Ones

The Valiant Ones was King Hu’s last, great masterpiece. Indeed it’s arguably his last true wuxia film — but what a magnificent beast it is. Directed by the celebrated master of the

Enter the Clones of Bruce Unboxing

There have been so many books, documentaries, and even biopics of the immeasurably pioneering martial arts icon Bruce Lee. His life and work have been studied intensely, and his influence remains felt

BackBeat Unboxing

This month saw underrated Beatle-biopic BackBeat make its Blu-ray debut from Fabulous Films, surely delighting the band’s collectors and completists. Telling the story of the Beatles’ first bassist – the so-called ‘lost
Go toTop

Don't Miss

Rhyller Thriller 2

Rhyl’s Horror Film Festival returns, this May, for one day

Halloween Comes Early From CAM Sugar

The name may not be familiar, but, if you’re a