Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Very Carpenter Christmas 3: Prince of Darkness

So yes, it's time for yet another installment of A Very Carpenter Christmas, this time we'll be looking at another festive piece of entertainment that really highlights the optimistic worldview and.. yeah, that's Blatant Lieese, today we'll be discussing another story pertaining to otherworldly horrors using humans as their pawns for amusement and profit. Let's look at Prince of Darkness. As usual, spoilers. I should maybe work on spoilerfree reviews some time, but... well, that's not really fun, is it? I guess those not keen on spoilers could skip to the bottom.

With a title like that, you'd think it'd be pretty obvious who the big bad was, what with "The Prince Of Darkness" being a fairly well known nicnkame for The Devil, Satan, Old Scratch, etc, which I guess is some sort of ironic, since he's supposed to also be Lucifer, the Lightbringer, originally, but I guess that's... got something to do with The Fall and what have you. Anyway, this is technically true, but the mythology is a bit more complicated than that. If anything, I guess you could compare it to the Doctor Who episode "The Satan Pit," where The Doctor encounters the primordial evil that has inspired every portrayal of Satan in every religion ever, it's a bit like that, but with a pinch of that tasty Lovecraft thrown in for mind-rendering spice. You see, the titular evil is an alien being, bent on bringing back it's master, which is to the Satan what God is to Jesus, maybe, the movie does like to screw around with heads, both the audience's and the characters.

Well, I guess I should talk about the story at large too, although "alien anti-god tries invading the world, God might be an alien to" should be enough for anyone. Oh well. We follow a group of college students who is set to help a priest make heads and tails out of a container with green... stuff in it, which turns out to be The Adversary, who in turn is keen to get out. To do this, he (it?) posses vermin and hobos and eventually the college students to get them to unleash The Beast and bring it's Dark God father on the world to REALLY fuck things up.

When it comes to said Dark God, I can't help but feel Carpenter is moving away from the Lovecraftian horrors, design-wise, at least. You see, we actually get to see... well at least a little part of it, its hand, which sort of has a black shriveled death-fetus kind of thing going for it, how the rest of it looks is anyone's guess, but that's a bit of the charm. Humanoid supernatural terrors isn't exactly common in Lovecraft-inspired horror, but I guess we can't all be afraid of seafood and foreigners.
I'm not. No foreigners, no gløgg.

When it comes to the scares, Prince Of Darkness has plenty, from the unnerving way people act when they're possessed, to the appearance of large amounts of  creepy crawlies and what have you and the occasional jumpscare. One stuck in my mind because of the timing. It was fairly standard, our hero, brandishing a porn 'stache that could shame the best of them, turns over in bed to find some sort of humanoid monstrosity, complete with a scare chord and all. What this jump scare does differently, though, is that it's not buildup-jump-gone, but rather jump-take your time-gone, the shot actually lingers on the hellbeast, giving the watcher a sort of a "yeah, you saw that, and you still are. Whatcha gonna do about it"-thing. Also, it has Alice Cooper as a hobo, and that should be scary enough for any man.

All in all, Prince Of Darkness was pretty good, but I'd rate it below In The Mouth Of Madness myself, as it was some times a little difficult to get into on account of it's experiments in mindscrewing, but it's definitely a movie worth checking out, although I guess those overly sensitive to blasphemy might want to steer clear. Next up is probably my favorite Carpenter movie and, unless something happens, the last entry in A Very Carpenter Christmas 2010.

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