Arts & Culture » Film

Prince of Darkness / Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition



Well, in so many words. The important part is that the prof thinks that's a swell idea. For the job, he selects Jameson Parker (TV's Simon & Simon), Lisa Blount (An Officer and a Gentleman), Dennis Dun (also from Little China) and a host of random, more expendable character actors to monitor the evil force.

Meanwhile, outside, a band of catatonic homeless people — led by shock rocker Alice Cooper — assembles around the house of worship all mysterious-like. 

Before long, a supposedly smart woman gets too close to the satanic cylinder, which seltzer-squirts a stream of its glowing-green self down her throat. This transforms her into a zombie, so she lumbers around the church, cornering her fellow scientists so that she may projectile-vomit a dose of LiquiSatan into their mouths, one by one.

For Prince of Darkness, Carpenter mixed elements from select earlier films of his (including The Thing and Assault on Precinct 13) to create an underrated gem that even today remains criminally underseen. Hopefully, Shout! Factory's new Blu-ray can increase its viewership; it deserves it. 

Although Prince starts with a degree of incoherence, once the disposable cast settles in, the 1987 sleeper shifts into a cool, niftily paced thriller packed with religious/sci-fi mumbo-jumbo, creepy-crawly insects, senseless murders committed by bag people and choice Carpenter dialogue, i.e. "This is ca-ca!"

As with They Live, which followed a year later, Carpenter's working fast and cheap here — too fast and cheap, according to the new interview on the disc. Given such execrable exercises as his more expensive Ghosts of Mars, the realm of the low budget seems to be where his creativity flourishes most. 

After all, that's where he started, including his third film, the breakthrough Halloween. Despite having no shortage of previous releases on shiny discs, Anchor Bay Entertainment milks the teat once more with a 35th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray. 

Carpenter's 1978 slice of scare cinema remains frightening and suspenseful, with masked boogeyman Michael Myers stalking babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) with the determined ferocity of a robot programmed to kill. Pleasence follows close behind as the good doctor keen on bringing down this hulking slab of knife-wielding evil. 

But just how many reissues does the classic need? This one, packed in a slim digibook, contains some of the extras previously released, but not all, which keeps this edition from being definitive. The transfer is new, although I don't have a pimped-out enough home system to tell a difference, and I wouldn't recommend buying double-dipping just for a new commentary and interview with Curtis. 

Only if you don't already own Halloween should you buy, and every true film fan should own Halloween.   —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:

• The Fog Blu-ray review

Halloween II / Halloween III: Season of the Witch Blu-ray reviews

Irwin Yablans' The Man Who Created Halloween book review 

Speaking of...

Latest in Film

Add a comment