So we have legendary director John Carpenter at the helm, having previously scored with Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York (and L.A., but we'll forget about that one), and... Big Trouble in Little China.
But perhaps, in the John Carpenter canon, you've forgotten about (cue foreboding "DUN DUN DUNNNN" music) The Prince of Darkness.
From a distance it should have worked. We have the creepy 80s synth soundtrack. We have Donald Pleasance, who is better known as Michael Myers' shrink from the Halloween movies, who plays the kind of priest who would be much too cool to molest little kids. Then we have that guy from Big Trouble in Little China... the Chinese one with the shrunken eyeball. He's pretty cool. Alice Cooper also makes an appearance as "Street Schizo" (yes, that is his actual scripted name). And then, capping it all, we have LIQUID SATAN! It almost sounds like a really powerful hot sauce. Or perhaps the best tub and tile cleaner ever formulated. I can tell you, after living several years with well water, I could certainly use some Liquid Satan to get rid of the stains in the bottom of my shower.
So after knowing all of this, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?
Because it is funny. It is so fucking funny that I actually had to wonder if this was Carpenter's intent. All of these college students are studying Liquid Satan in this old abandoned church, and each one of them is being taken under the influence of this pernicious substance that squirts from their mouths like baby vomit. Or green piss. Perhaps it should be dubbed The Evergreen Shower. All in all, I'd say that this movie would have been perfect had it been made into an episode of Mystery Science Theater: 3000. It is my hope that it one day will be.
Now, you are probably wondering why I am writing about this. After all, this movie is 20 years old, and it by and large sucks sweaty balls (that doesn't mean I'm not recommending it, however. You need to understand the "so bad it's awesome" principle in order to know why), and it's generally an irrelevant contribution to the greater cinematic landscape. I'm writing about it because this movie has a special place in my memory.
When it first came out, it was 1987. I was 8 years old, and my mother absolutely forbade me to watch it because it was about Satan, and for some reason she was convinced that an evil entity would jump from the television screen and into my body through my eyesockets, at which point I'd start eating raw meat and violently masturbating with crucifixes. So, other than The Exorcist, The Prince of Darkness was the most utterly taboo and forbidden movie title in my young life.
Well, I've finally seen it. I confronted that taboo head-on, determined to understand my mother's reluctance. After being exposed to the film's uproariously comedic nature, I'd like to think that my mother wasn't attempting to rescue me from Liquid Satan so much as she was trying to protect me from having my sensibilities violated by ludicrously bad cinema.
It appears I have escaped relatively unscathed.