Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Messiah Of Evil (1973)

A bit of a cult favourite nowadays amongst horror fans who are aware of it, Messiah Of Evil is certainly worth a watch if you're after something atmospheric and very different from the norm but it's also a highly flawed movie almost undone by the weaker aspects (the acting isn't all that great, the script is often full of random exclamations and numerous plot holes and the visual style veers from drab and lifeless to eye-catchingly brilliant).

Marianna Hill plays a woman who travels to a small seaside town to find her artist father. The few locals that talk to her include a number of people denying any knowledge of her father, a man and a couple of women living free and easy and a number of oddballs who just proceed to get stranger and stranger in their behaviour as the movie progresses.

Director Willard Huyck (who also co-wrote the movie with his wife Gloria Katz) may not be completely to blame for the final result because, apparently, the money ran out and this was what could be put together from the material already in the can. This explains the fact that the movie doesn't quite make sense but that adds to the wonderful strangeness of it.

Marianna Hill is okay in the lead role and Elisha Cook Jr. is always good to see onscreen but nobody else (Michael Greer, Joy Bang, Anita Ford, Royal Dano, etc)  makes an impression at all, at least not in a speaking part. The people who do make an impression onscreen are the people who play the more unusual, and possibly dangerous, characters inhabiting the town. In every sequence it's the mood and atmosphere that takes precedence over the acting of the leads or the quality of the dialogue. One scene in particular, set in a cinema, is particularly effective, reminiscent of a classic moment from The Birds.

Undeserving of its obscurity, Messiah Of Evil isn't an easy horror movie to recommend to everyone but the good news is that it's available to view for free here so you can always make your own mind up about it. Give it a watch and let me know what you think.



No comments:

Post a Comment