Where the strings of classics ended for director John Carpenter is arguable,for sure.Some say its before tonight's entry,some say afterwards.Whatever camp you might have your tent pitched in,you gotta admit,Darkness is a pretty ambitious effort.I think there's only one glaring fault with the film that keeps it out of classic territory,and that's the special makeups in the finale.They're just not all that special.If Carpenter had hired one of the sick and talented fucks like Rob Bottin out there that could have realized a more frightening vision than a jam-faced broad in pajamas.In fact,I hate that effect so fucking much,I'm gonna avoid screenshots of it altogether,despite the fact they'd provide me the opportunity to shit all over it the way it deserves.I'm gonna go so far as to say that the jam-faced broad in pajamas is the precise point Carpenter's work started steadily turning to soft bowel movements,finally hardening into a full toilet bowl yule log/German fetish gold by Ghosts of Mars(2001). The rest of the movie is pretty choice.The screenplay,written by Carpenter under the pseudonym 'Martin Quartermass',a tribute to the late Nigel Kneale's fictional character, Professor Bernard Quartermass, is frightening on a cerebral level.Every shot is framed beautifully in the tradition and style we've come to expect from Carpenter dating back to Dark Star(1974).The cast is thoroughly solid from Victor Wong as Professor Birack down to Donald Pleasance as Father...Loomis,ahem.Jameson Parker is even pretty good as the lead moustache.There's no noticeably smoking brawdz on board,because,well,they're collegiate physics students,ferchrissakes.The percentage of those that find their way onto Girls Gone Wild:Cabo Wabo is lilliputian,you can bet on it.A very choice movie indeed,I just wish they'd...well you know where I was going again there. Spare some change for the guy behind "Look at You Over There(Ripping the Sawdust From My Teddy Bear)"?. Professor Birack(Wong)is invited to a rundown Los Angeles church by Father Loomis(that's right,Loomis),the newly appointed keeper of the key,a position in a forgotten secret religious sect known as the "Brotherhood of Sleep" that stands guard over said dilapidated parish,for in the basement,captured in a large vessel,and held prisoner for thousands of years...is the Devil himself,who has spent an eternity,circularly swirling and glowing inside,sort of like the lava lamp that didn't catch on,what,with ultimate evil in puddle form inside.Birack gathers both his colleagues in science and technology and the best of his quantum physics students to scientifically prove once and for all that Satan exists in the real world, growing in strength with every passing day,and unscrewing the lid of the vessel from the inside,all the while negatively influencing all lesser forms of life around him,like ants,worms,and Alice Cooper.On board for the extra credit weekend from Hell,are students Brian Moustac...uhh,Marsh(Jameson Parker,who you won't remember from Simon & Simon,since nobody watched that fucking show):kind of the human equivalent of Wonder bread,Cathy(Lisa Blount):a flame-headed fuck machine whose morals break down nightly on a sub-atomic level,Walter:a wisecracking Asian version of Mr. Chicken,Kelly:blonde non-factor plain Jane who unwittingly impregnates herself with Satan after bumping the corner of some computer equipment(it could happen),Dr. Leahy(Peter Jason),who brings bouncing fruit on two fingers while smoking and imitating a trumpet with his lips to this gathering of analytical minds,and various other electro-geeks and math-nerds,not excluding Thom "Murray RIPTIDE Bozinski" Bray,to really fill out that who's who of people with nothing better to do this weekend.Science?Satan.Satan?Science. Lisa Blount stars as carrot-coiffed Celt-cooze(thanks,Phe!),Sleeps O'Round. Lisa fucks out Brian for the price of a cup of coffee,(god,I miss the sluts of the Reaganomics era)then we settle in for the investigation and subsequent unholy rebuttal by Lucifer.Some stumblebums under evil influence shank the kee-rist outta one of the team,after which the dark lord and master puts him back together into a hand puppet using live beetles,The Coop runs Murray Bozinski through on a bike frame(at his suggestion and right outta his live show),and inside the church,Ol' Scratch drips upward to the ceiling,occasionally firing unholy water in a psionic blast into the team members' unsuspecting mouths,turning them into zombies.The closer everyone is to the vile vessel,the more frequently their dreams are invaded by a tachyon broadcast from the future where a hulking dark figure emerges from the same church.Meanwhile,the priest and Birac formulate a scientific/holy theory that if there's a God,there must also be an Anti-God,who's just as powerful,and much less likely to help blind people to see.Kelly undergoes a weird metamorphosis after her bump where her whole body undergoes remarkable physiological changes(translation:her skin becomes patchy with a jam-like substance),ultimately transforming her into the titular Prince himself(who's apparently cool with walking around as a jam-faced broad in pajamas).After more members succumb to the Satanic Super Soaker yap-squirt,only Marsh,Birack,Loomis,Cathy,and Walter stand in the way of Satan pulling Anti-God into the human dimension through a full-length mirror(an earlier attempt with a compact mirror fails.Silly Satan.).Just before Satan can lend his father a hand,Cathy selflessly sacrifices any future nights of getting bottomed out by random mullet-headed guidos,and gives Satan a shoulder tackle into the mirror that would give Barnaby Jones a full mast erection.The mirror smashes,trapping Satan,Anti-God,and Cathy on the other side.That night at home,Brian's sleep is interrupted by a tachyon broadcast from the year one-nine-nine-nine,but instead of the ominous dark figure emerging from the church,this time it is Cathy.He wakes up in a puddle of sweat,then turns to his own bedroom mirror,reaching out,his fingers mere millimeters away from the reflective surface... Give that thing a phattie bowl and glass pull-up carb,blast some Sabbath over the loudspeakers and we're talking epic partyage. Carpenter followed this up with They Live(1988),which we'll dissect here very soon,also a pretty solid movie in its own right,that sadly didn't slow the overall quality descent that followed.Parker was spotted most recently on Jag(did anyone watch that show either?WTF),while the late Wong will be remembered for such titles as The Last Emperor,Bloodsport,and Carpenter's own Big Trouble in Little China.Sadly,Lisa Blount,a rad actress who played a similarly ruthless and memorable bitch in An Officer and a Gentleman,passed away a little over a month ago at the age of 53.Her character,Cathy Danforth,is a paen to Jim Danforth,who did matte work on this production,and is legendary for his stop-motion work of the sixties and seventies.Donald Pleasance would continue to portray the OTHER Loomis in inferior Halloween sequels up until his death in 1995.All jokes aside,this movie delivers the goods on a number of levels,it's smart,creepy,funny at times,and is a good time when you throw it in every once in a while.On the scale,Darkness reaches into the mirror and pulls out three wops.Choice. Wilt Chamberlain transmits from the future a horrifying message,indeed:The mullet and porn stache are doomed,and NOTHING will save them!