starring Donald Pleasence, Lisa Blount, Victor Wong, Jameson Parker
screenplay by John Carpenter (as Martin Quatermass)
directed by John Carpenter
by Bryant Frazer The first of two low-budget films that John Carpenter wrote pseudonymously and directed in and around downtown Los Angeles in the late-1980s, John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness is one of the creepiest movies ever made. Underrated at the time by critics who called it "cheesy" (Vincent Canby)1 and said "[it] stinks" (Richard Harrington), Prince of Darkness was clearly made fast and on the cheap, and it's roughly-crafted by Carpenter standards. Still, it's a triumph of mood. Filling out a mystery-of-the-ancient-artifact yarn with a cosmic-horror mythology, Prince of Darkness lives in a sweet spot between religious thriller and Satanic potboiler where science is the way, the truth, and the life, for better or worse.