After a short flirtation with big-budget filmmaking, director John Carpenter returned to his low-budget horror film roots with this strange tale of religion, science, and pure evil. Veteran Carpenter performer Donald Pleasence stars as a priest who discovers the existence of a strange
canister full of swirling green liquid, hidden in the basement of an old church in Los Angeles many years before. Near the container is an old book, some sort of alternate Bible, that when deciphered reveals that the canister contains the energy of Satan's son. It seems that, several thousand
years ago, Satan (who was an alien) was exiled to the "dark side," a world that mirrors our own. Before leaving, Satan locked his son in a container in preparation for his return. When the conditions are right, the son will unlatch the container from the inside and fetch his father back from his
exile. Not only does Carpenter create a terrifying tale that works on the visceral level of a horror film, he also explores the fundamental conflict of religion, science, and the unknown, adding an intellectual dimension sorely lacking in most current films of this genre. Provocative plot aside,
Carpenter once again proves his mastery of the visual aspects of the medium with his excellent use of the wide-screen format and a bag of simple cinematic tricks that seem to have been forgotten in these days of high-priced, state-of-the-art effects crews. Although Carpenter names his church St.
Godard's in tribute to director Jean-Luc Godard, his film bears a much greater resemblance to the masterful work of Jean Cocteau (ORPHEUS; BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) with its tilted sets (by production designer Daniel Lomino), forced perspectives, filming in reverse, and, most of all, the ability to
reach into a mirror and discover an alternate reality.
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- Released: 1987
- Rating: R
- Review: After a short flirtation with big-budget filmmaking, director John Carpenter returned to his low-budget horror film roots with this strange tale of religion, science, and pure evil. Veteran Carpenter performer Donald Pleasence stars as a priest who discove… (more)