Sunday, 28 December 2008

Messiah Of Evil (1972; Dir: Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz)

A rather effective little creeper with an eerie atmosphere, weird happenings, some wonderfuly bizarre sets and just a little splash of gore here and there. The oddly-monickered Arletty, a Nico-esque blonde with a rather European accent goes to the town of Point Dune to find her father. Dad's an artist; he's retreated to Point Dune to paint, stopping now and then to send his daughter letters that have been getting stranger and stranger lately.

No less strange than his house in Point Dune, a gloriously eccentric artist's nook done up with some very creepy trompe de l'oil paintings of escalators going nowhere, crowds of vaguely menacing people and so on. Even stranger are his journals, which unfold a Lovecraftian tale of creeping horror and inhuman posession.

In fact, shades of Lovecraft loom large over the plot, which bears more than a passing resemblance to 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth'. Still, the treatment is quite different in tone and setting from a HPL tale, and despite occasional infelicities of dialogue and acting, this is a rather succesful horror flick. Just about the only thing that refuses to resolve into any sort of sense is the opening scene that bears no connection whatsoever to the rest of the movie. What was that all about? Maybe they just had some extra footage from a failed earlier project and decided to bung it in? Who knows!

***

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