Friday, May 24, 2013

MESSIAH OF EVIL (1973) movie review

Messiah of Evil (1973) d. Huyck, Willard (USA)

Obviously inspired by Night of the Living Dead and possessing the dreamlike, doom-laden tone of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, here is a thoughtful, introspective, very original and regrettably neglected entry into low-budget '70s horror. Directed by Huyck and co-written with Gloria Katz (later the screenwriters for American Graffiti and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – as well as the creators of Howard the Duck), Messiah creates its own unique blend of horror and political commentary.

When Marianna Hill arrives in a small California coastal town looking for her father, she discovers little is as it seems. An encounter with a trio of free-loving hedonists, led by Michael Greer, only deepens her sense of isolation and disorientation. Despite his minimal budget, Huyck cultivates a sinister, dreamlike atmosphere that conveys a sense of rot, both moral and physical, clinging to the village’s residents like a malignant cancer. There are several standout scenes, with the ones at the supermarket and cinema taking top honors.

While it may require patience and willingness to overlook some of the rougher technical aspects (not to mention the fact that many existing prints are in a pretty sorry state - haven't seen the Code Red 25th anniversary release yet to weigh in), there are rewards in store for the adventurous.

No comments:

Post a Comment