Prince of Darkness (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

Prince of Darkness (1987)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Prince of Darkness Photos

Movie Info

After clashing with the studio system over his last film, Big Trouble in Little China (1986), genre director John Carpenter returned to low-budget horror and complete creative control with this intriguing attempt at intellectual chills. Donald Pleasence stars as Father Loomis, a Catholic priest charged with investigating a book, key and other cryptic clues left behind by a fellow priest who passed away. In the basement of a decaying Los Angles church, Loomis finds a cylinder that seems to be holding a green energy force inside. A physics professor, Edward Birack (Victor Wong), is intrigued by Loomis' discovery and brings a team of grad students to the church for a weekend study and analysis session. They learn that the energy is the son of Satan, preparing to unlock himself and bring his evil father back from an other-dimensional prison. As an army of possessed vagrants (led by Alice Cooper) assemble outside the church to prevent anyone from leaving, the team members begin having the same dream, which turns out to be a horrific transmission from the future.

Watch it now

People Who Like this movie also like


Jameson Parker
as Brian Marsh
Victor Wong
as Prof. Howard Birack
Lisa Blount
as Catherine Danforth
Dennis Dun
as Walter
Ann Yen
as Lisa
Alice Cooper
as Street Schizo
Dirk Blocker
as Mullins
Peter Jason
as Dr. Paul Leahy
Thom Bray
as Etchinson
Joanna Merlin
as Bag Lady
View All

Critic Reviews for Prince of Darkness

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (1)

Carpenter cria uma atmosfera de tensão palpável, merecendo créditos também pela ambição de tentar combinar o puro terror com um elemento curioso de ficção científica.

January 8, 2014 | Rating: 4/5

Met on its own bonkers terms, Prince Of Darkness proves satisfying.

September 26, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Still holds up as a creepy and atmospheric gem...

September 23, 2013 | Full Review…

[Blu-ray Review] An elegantly photographed, legitimately frightening tale that does not shirk away from its controversial concepts. The high-def release of "Prince of Darkness" receives my full, unequivocal recommendation.

August 28, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Carpenter's vision of collective spiritual unrest

March 15, 2010 | Full Review…

Crossing the boundary at the outer reaches of the physical world where science meets superstition and reason collides with the irrational, it tells a tale as miraculous as the Bible and as dry as any technical text.

October 5, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Prince of Darkness

Another minor horror flick from Carpenter that has gained cult status over the years. This is actually the first time seeing this film for me and like other Carpenter horrors I found it familiar, not really scary, but nicely creepy with something to think about after. I was surprised how similar the plot is to his other films, a group of people stuck inside a building, trapped, fighting against an evil force. A few of Carpenters films follow these sorts of themes, always fighting an evil supernatural force or gangs of zombie-like bad guys. You can tell its Carpenter a mile away although that's not a bad thing, its always pretty comforting to see his recognisable visual style from way back. I'm sure you all know what I mean, the filming in widescreen/anamorphic, stark lighting contrasts, his now legendary synthesized musical scores, handheld cam/steadicam, the fact you never really see the evil the good guys are fighting that much, plots with hidden meaning, strong individual lone characters, opened ended finales on occasions etc...Everything is present and correct in this horror tale and its enjoyable to see. Alongside all of that the cast are mostly recognisable too, hot off the heels of 'Big Trouble' Dennis Dun and Victor Wong are cast again, Pleasence is back as another lone force of good to try and stop the force of evil and character actor Peter Jason pops up again here with a meatier role. To be honest I would say that is the one problem with the film, its too familiar from Carpenter. The plot is bordering on his other works, he uses many of the same actors again when they don't really fit the bill (Dun and Wong here) and it kinda looks and sounds the same as his other works too. The score could easily be from any of his films frankly, its good and atmospheric but you could stick it anywhere, any one of his films. In all honesty this film is virtually 'Assault on Precinct 13' but with possessed people instead of criminals. The devil is never mentioned I believe, but I'm assuming the 'father' was suppose to be the devil? and the dreams of the future are showing this evil force to have taken over the world?? hence the warning in the dream I think. Not too sure how this evil became trapped within the cylinder, or how it was placed into the basement of this church, or where the evil actually comes from originally and its goal etc...but lets just overlook that a bit shall we. That said I did enjoy the film and I thought the finale was a good thinker, a bit creepy and dark, wraps up quick and open ended...nice. Makeup and special effects are decent and created with thought, the film has a nice spooky pending doom vibe about it and the story is interesting if a little bland. Not quite as good as other Carpenter tales but still solid.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

A priest discovers the essence of evil buried in a vault underneath a Los Angeles church, and a team of professors and grad students set out to study it. Like a lot of John Carpenter's late horror movies, this one frequently weaves back and forth across the thin line that separates intriguing from goofy.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Prince of Darkness Quotes

News & Features