24 September 2013

September 24th

Prince of Darkness (1987) directed by John Carpenter
First off, the transfer on the blu-ray just released by Scream Factory is fantastic.  Sharp and artifact-free, watching this disc was like watching the movie with a new set of eyes.  Beats the holy hell out of the crappy release from Good Times I used to own.

People usually point to In the Mouth of Madness as Carpenter's most lovecraftian film, but there's a very strong streak of H.P. here as well.  In Prince of Darkness, religion is a comforting lie to cover the horrible truth of the Universe: there is no loving deity out there, only an evil anti-god.  The only reason we haven't been destroyed or enslaved by this entity of pure evil is because it is trapped, sleeping, in another dimension.  Replace "dimension" with "under the sea" and this pretty much describes Cthulhu.

Why did green goo Satan wait 2000 years before attempting to escape his prison and rescue his dad?  He was Schrödinger's cat.  I don't think the discussion Walter and Catherine have about this cat at the start of the film is accidental.  For centuries, Satan, trapped in his vial, existed in a quantum superposition.  It was both dead and alive (well, a self-organizing pre-biotic fluid) at the same time.  Once the scientists arrived and began to observe the entity -- taking samples and shooting x-rays through it -- did its superposition collapse into "living entity" and it was able to extend its power outwards.

I love that the film doesn't bother to explain much.  It's a barrage of high concepts, alternate cosmologies, and weirdness.  I sure this is also why the film doesn't click with a lot of people.  As Catherine complains in the beginning of the movie, "I want the clockwork back. I want to put it all in a little box."  Most people are like that, I think.  Not having things make 100% complete sense or not having everything completely explained drives a lot of people nuts.  For me, movies that dare to do this -- challenge the audience to figure things out on their own -- are special.  Prince of Darkness is special.

Watched: blu-ray from Scream Factory.

American Horror Story 1.02: "Home Invasion" directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Less crazy than the prior episode, which is not too surprising.  This one deals with teenagers breaking into the Harmon house in order to reenact a double murder that happened there in 1968.  It's more of an episode to advance some plot ideas: Ben's former lover is getting an abortion; the maid, wacky neighbor lady and disturbed psych patient are all in on the house's shenanigans; the ghosts in the house can kill people.  Especially interesting is when the crazy neighbor lady casually refers to Ben as an evil man, implying that she's helping the house to punish him.  That seems a little extreme for a dude who simply cheated on his wife, so I wonder if he's got more skeletons in his closet?

At any rate, I'm still really digging the show.  It's energetic visual style and great use of music (wee, the score from Psycho!) are lots of fun.

1 comment:

  1. I review "Prince of Darkness" earlier this year when I did my Carpenter report card. I agree that the Lovecraftian elements are very heavy in this one. Despite dragging a bit in the middle, it's still contains some of the creepiest imagery in any of JC's films. Plus, Alice Cooper killing a guy with a bicycle. And a dude made of bugs!