John Carpenter’s career is a slippery slope. You have some of the greatest horror movies ever made, with titles such as Halloween, Christine, The Thing, and In The Mouth Of Madness, to name a few. But about half way through the 90s you see a terrible fall with titles such as, Escape From L.A, a rehashed update of Escape From New York, and Ghosts Of Mars, which only screen value is Ice Cube’s terrible acting. In the middle ground neither all that good, but not really bad either, is Pro Life.
Pro Life is the tale of Angelique is the pregnant daughter of Dwayne Burcell, a devote christian portrayed by Ron Perlman, in one I believe is one of his best acting roles, second only to his character in Sons Of Anarchy. The story takes place almost entirely inside of a abortion clinic, in which Angelique begs to have her baby removed. She claims she only got pregnant last Saturday, while showing to be eight or nine months along, and when going for an ultrasound, the baby fights back against the womb to stop it’s image from being seen.
Ron Perlman’s character, the devote christian Dwayne Burcell, believes he is on a mission from god, when he prays and receives the message, ” Protect the baby”. Dwayne, and his three sons gear up with firearms, and storm the clinic, killing a security guard in the process. What happens next involves a pretty sweet shootout, some fun creature effects, and an anticlimactic ending.
While the episode comes in at an hour, the same as any Masters Of Horror episode, it really feels as if it was meant to be shorter, with events being drawn out longer than one would wish. The creature effects near the end of the film look quite nice, but there no where near on par with some of the effects we’ve come to associate with Carpenter over his career. There’s not overly much gore in this one, using the tried and true, what you don’t see is always worse formula.
Now, this part may or may not be considered a spoiler, so I’m giving a heads up in case you might want to skip it.
I thought that the true nature of the voices Ron Perlman hears, and the baby it’s self was going to be a twist, but about half way though, maybe even less, Angelique recounts the story of how she got pregnant, that being demon rape. While I’m ok with this, I feel that if that part was left out of the story, it could make a huge twist on the voices heard, which turns out not to be god, but to be the demon playing on a devotes man’s faith to trick him into evil’s bidding. By letting us know it’s a demon for sure so quickly in, the impact when Ron is face to face with the demon that tricked him and delivers the line, ” It was you…”, really doesn’t hold the power I would like.
So, while not the best Carpenter film, it’s not the worse, but just in that middle ground where your not better off for seeing it, but you don’t feel like you wasted your time either. If you got an hour to kill, I can think of many worse ways.
Score – C
Gore – 3/10