Messiah of Evil Movie Review


Messiah Of Evil is an artistic and beautifully atmospheric piece of a strange 70s surreality that I will never tire of recommending to people. The couple and the writing/directing team Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz (American Graffiti) – then fresh out of film school – made this strange coastal town a vampiric nightmare in the elegant vein of Italian horror and arthouse films, and it looks very good this way – dark, strange, beautiful, with shots like surrealist paintings, and

Messiah Of Evil is a kind of giallo version of vampire horror that presents itself as an unhurried zombie nightmare. It creeps from one particular moment to the next, crawling under your skin with strange occurrences and haunting images that only amplify and become more visceral as the finale unfolds.

Arletty (Marianna Hill) ventures to a remote seaside town in search of her not-found eccentric artist father. She meets a group of young travelers, Thom (Michael Greer) and her friends who are also looking for information about Arletty’s father. Local tipsy Charlie (Elisha Cook Jr.) informs the group about strange events in this city, warning that a “Blood Moon” is changing people. Arletty discovers disturbing diary entries from her father in his large deserted house, which detail horrors similar to what the old tipsy was telling. Soon, Arletty and the gang of strange travelers experience vampiric terror for themselves.

Everything in the Messiah of Evil is beautifully strange, from the hollow unusual characters to the pieces of terror that give off a strange atmosphere. The colors of the film are like those of a giallo – magenta, purple and green shining generously behind haunting sets as in Argento’s best.

Much of the horror is inspired by a distant sensibility of the 70s, although some sequences are a good old haunting as hell. Namely, an unforgettable and frightening grocery store scene that breathes zombie gold, when a heroine in harmful runs into an isolated and strangely illuminated store, which is empty except for a pack of flesh-hungry and soulless night walkers. There is also a spectacular sequence in a movie theater when a cast of lifeless vampire moviegoers settles for blood on another lonely woman. Other bits, like a tall albino man walking around in a van full of dead people and eating a rat, leave you uncomfortable only in their good old quirk. It’s a vampire movie that looks like zombie material at the wheel, with a surreal and hallucinatory touch.

Messiah Of Evil is damn near perfect when it comes to low-budget 70s releases, making the most of its coastal setting, walking around with the energy of a bad acid trip. The film is dated, maybe a little disjointed and maybe too slow for the modern viewer, but it is a strange and satisfying experience for people who like their horror in an aged artistic atmosphere.

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