isting in the hearts of men. He’s a character who learns some dreadful truths and loses his faith, but then regains the strength to battle evil.
Marks Of The Beast: Another possessed soul, (below) the church basement, and (inset) Blanchard in the makeup chair.
You embrace the Christ allegory, with Catherine sacrificing herself to save humanity. Birack even says, “She died for us.” Yes, that’s true. The Christ story is such a recognizable story for societies and cultures across the world, but I don’t know why I did it. I can’t give you an answer. I just thought it was the right thing to do.
That act can also be viewed as a humanist statement. I think there’s maybe a little bit more of that to it, yes. She sac- rificed herself to save mankind, so that may be more accurate.
The shot of Catherine lost in the darkness behind the mirror, reaching in vain for the light is incredibly haunting. We shot that in a swimming pool. We placed a camera down in the water and turned it sideways, then covered the top of the pool so there was just a little bit of light coming through and Lisa Blount reached for the light. It worked out pretty well.
What about as a comment on the occasion- ally fraught relationship between science and religion? That’s always in my mind, always. That’s some- thing I’ve been fascinated with since I was a kid, trying to figure things out. A lot of human endeavour is about trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Why is this happening? Again, nobody knows, although religion claims it has an answer but I’m not so sure. People some- times look to science for the answers, but then they don’t look very clearly at the science itself. I mean, we actually have a big movement in the
United States to take evolution out of our schools. We’ve got a lot of crazy things in this country – big time!
I’m reminded of Einstein’s quote “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind,” which extends to the re- spectful way you portrayed the relationship between Priest and Birack. Well, thank you for saying that, and I would agree with you. Priest is not a villain. He was not somebody that was to be despised. Religion has characterized evil in a certain way, as ex-
Do you consider the film to be optimistic or pessimistic? Ooh, that’s hard to say, isn’t it? Both. I’m not sure it’s an optimistic movie. I mean, a girl dies and things may or may not be happening on the other side, but there is a certain optimism to it. I have con- flicting ideas about optimism and pessimism myself.
It’s another of those limited victories that occur in a Carpen- ter film. Your heroes win, but they also don’t win. There you go! I like that. Can I use that?
Darkness received mostly negative reviews, some being quite vicious. Critics felt the plot was confusing and the science too complex.
onald Pleasence made his television debut in the 1946 British drama I Want to Be a Doctor, and the show’s title turned out to be oddly prophetic for the venerable character actor, as Pleasence continued to play doctors – both
healers and professors – right up until the end of his career. He played military men, cops and priests on stage and screen, as well, but his pistol-packing shrink Dr. Loomis became his calling card performance thanks to the success of Halloween. Over the
course of his career he also essayed real-life suspected wife killer Dr. Crippen in that eponymous film, a kindly (and ultimately doomed) entomologist in Dario Ar- gento’s Phenomena and a proper mad scientist in The Mutations, in which he tries to cross people with plants, to hell with the consequences. Yet, Pleasence also ex- celled at playing full-blown villains, from the classic cat-stroking James Bond baddie Ernst Blofeld to SS leader Heinrich Himmler in The Eagle Has Landed, and even Lu- cifer himself in The Greatest Story Ever Told. To illustrate Pleasance’s many faces, here’s a handy breakdown of the actor’s roles by type.