There’s always an over abundance of things to do all over the Los Angeles area every October. So much so, that it becomes a bit overwhelming and usually at this point in the Halloween season, even the most hardened of horror fans is starting to feel the exhaustion. But alas, last night, Wednesday October 28th, the David Henry Hwang Theater in association with East West Players and Visual Communications, and Horror’s Hallowed Grounds hosted one of the most unique screenings this writer has ever been lucky enough to attend. John Carpenter’s 1987 cult classic PRINCE OF DARKNESS screened in the very same church that the film was shot in.
It started about 2 years back when horror authority / personality Sean Clark was working on an episode of Horror’s Hallowed Grounds for the Scream Factory PRINCE OF DARKNESS Blu-Ray release. If you’ve been picking up collector’s edition DVD’s or Blu-Rays of any of the John Carpenter movies, or of the HALLOWEEN sequels, you no doubt are familiar with Clark’s show where he finds the original shooting locations of horror classics and gives audiences a tour of what they look like now. His memory (and dedication) to finding these spots and then framing the exact same shots we’d recognize from the original movies is impeccable, and always makes for a thoroughly entertaining episode. While working on the PRINCE OF DARKNESS segment, he discovered that the old church located at 120 Judge John Aiso St. in Downtown Los Angeles was now a creative center that housed various small plays and movie screenings. He immediately asked, “wait, have you ever shown PRINCE OF DARKNESS here?” And while it took a lot of planning since then, Clark, Francis Cullado and Andy Lowe were able to put together this stellar event. Fan response was so great that it immediately sold out. And a 2nd screening happening tonight was added and also immediately sold out.
Despite the Halloween fatigue setting in, myself along with my Killer POV co-host Elric Kane were re-energized the moment we pulled into the parking lot for the church and immediately recognized it as the main location of the movie. Believe it or not, there’s always a thrill to physically being in a spot you’ve known from repeat VHS viewings as a kid. There were several photo ops sections set up, complete with lighting and stage marks so that you could stand exactly where the actors had all those years ago.
Once inside, the actual screen was set up in the same room where the research team set up all their equipment to analyze the mysterious cylinder with the green liquid. It was quite a treat to recognize our surroundings and then moments later, be teleported back in time to see what they looked like in 1987. Sean Clark kicked off the evening with a highlight reel of his Horror’s Hallowed Grounds episodes, which the crowd ate up. There’s an ongoing gag in HHG where actor Robert Rusler shows up asking when he’s going to do an episode featuring A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE. As soon as the clip wrapped and he tried to continue on with the event, Rusler popped out of the audience to continue the gag live. He also announced that he’d be launching a Kickstarter on October 31st for his new feature THE WICKED SICK. (Be on the look out.) Sean then brought up producer Sandy King Carpenter and actor Peter Jason for a brief introduction and Q & A. (It was the Lakers kick-off game so of course John didn’t want to miss that!)
After claiming they didn’t remember anything about the making of this movie, the pair told stories of how Alice Cooper got involved in the flick, what it’s like to work for the ever loyal John Carpenter, just how great an experience it was to do THEY LIVE with Rowdy Roddy Piper. When asked about future projects, Sandy said they have a ton in the works including more comic book releases, but the best news of all? She confirmed that John is now working on his 2nd album and yes, he will even tour. The movie itself played great with a crowd and we all had a blast. Hands down one of the coolest events to happen this Halloween season.
You can pick up PRINCE OF DARKNESS on Blu-Ray via Scream Factory. For more events at this theater, be sure to keep tabs with East West Players. And be sure to “like” the Horror’s Hallowed Grounds Facebook page to be in the loop on more fun events like this one!
*Huge thanks to Sean Clark, and Shane Bitterling for providing some of these photos.