Last year, on October 29th, I was lucky enough to attend a special screening of one of my all-time favorite horror movies, John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. Seeing this film on the big screen is a rare treat under any circumstances, but on this particular occasion, it was being screened inside the church where it was actually filmed! I simply couldn't believe this was a real event that was happening, and I was honestly more excited about attending this sold out screening than going out on Halloween itself. If you know anything me, you know I wouldn't dare make such a bold statement unless I was absolutely serious.
Upon our arrival, we immediately recognized the old church, which they had illuminated with eerie green lights to help set the move for this special event. The historic church, built in 1923, is located in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles (you can see it here on Google Maps), and is now known as the Union Center for the Arts. And honestly, while some of it has been revamped since Prince of Darkness was originally filmed there back in 1987, much of the church looks exactly the way it did back then... especially the exterior.
Before the screening of Prince of Darkness commenced, fans were allowed to explore the grounds, including some of the familiar locations from the film such as the alley on the west side of the church. I can't tell you how crazy it felt to walk down the same alley where Alice Cooper and the other possessed homeless people in the film killed their first victim with a bicycle frame. I gotta say, I really loved that they took the time to set up each of these areas with extra lights so we fans could snap some fun photos that night.
And speaking of fun photos, as we walked up to the stairs to the screening area, we were informed that this was the exact location where the character Calder (Jessie Lawrence Ferguson) walked up the stairs while dragging a chair behind him and singing Amazing Grace. He then proceeded to stab himself in the throat with a shard of wood. Well, they wanted to make this extra special for us fans, so they provided an old chair for us to drag up for our own photo opportunity. In retrospect, I should've fully committed to the bit and stabbed myself in the throat.
We then proceeded into the theater area, where countless stage performances have taken place since the movie was first filmed. We were informed how certain sections of this room had been remodeled, but you could still recognize the remnants of what it used to be. All in all, it's a fantastic room, and watching John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness from up in the balcony inside the church it was filmed in? That's a priceless experience that this fan will never forget.
And to top it all off, after we finished watching the underrated Carpenter classic, there was an area set up in the front door of the church for one last special photograph. This was the entrance where the grainy footage transmissions from the future that kept appearing to people in their dreams in the film took place. They had it set up with a black back drop so we could all recreate our own transmissions for the late, great Donald Pleasence and his Brotherhood of Sleep to receive. Amazing!
Was this incredible Prince of Darkness church screening all a dream?
"This is not a dream... not a dream. We are using your brain's electrical system as a receiver. We are unable to transmit through conscious neural interference."
Well, I guess that answers that question.
Here's hoping this becomes an annual event, because more people should get to experience Prince of Darkness, the second installment in John Carpenter's "Apocalypse Trilogy", at the church it was filmed in. Huge thanks to all who were involved in putting this even together for huge horror fans like myself. This event was something that I never would've imagined as becoming a reality, but I'm happier than green liquid Satan leaking from his canister that is was.
A-bomb on 09/19/2016 1:57 pm
This is awesome! It's one thing to be able to visit a location where a favorite movie was filmed but it's another thing to be able to see a screening of it there, and yet another thing to be able to recreate some of the scenes in the same places! It was really cool of the people who run the place to set up props and lighting to help do it, too. You can tell they share the fans' passion for the movie and that has to make it so much more fun for the visitors.
baronterror on 09/19/2016 6:39 pm
THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE! I am certainly a huge fan of that movie. This is a once in a lifetime thing that I am so glad you made me aware of.
I too hope (and sorta expect) they will certainly do again: it's just to good to not repeat. Of course I can only dream of attending but I still love that it happened and maybe some day could happen to me.
Dan (Guest) on 09/19/2016 7:28 pm
LOVE IT! Just discovered your site and really dig the humour. The film was like a religion to me in my teens and still haunts me.
-RoG- on 09/21/2016 3:40 pm
Dan - Welcome aboard! Glad you're enjoying the site, and it's always good to hear from another fan of Prince of Darkness. It's highly underrated!
baronterror - Same here! I'd love for this to become an annual event. Hopefully they can do more with it. I'd also love to see other famous horror locations do film screenings. After all, who wouldn't want to watch Elm Street projected on a screen in front of Freddy Krueger's house?
A-bomb - Absolutely. The fact that they had specific areas marked off so fans could recreate those scenes for some fun photos was going above and beyond the call of duty. All they had to do was show the film there, and I'd be happy, but the fact that they went the extra mile really made the event even more special.
Cody (Guest) on 10/09/2016 12:59 am
Love the monster! I wish I could visit the set to TCM2 at the ending of the movie...probably doesn't exist anymore. Oh well. Great pics and article!
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