Horror On The Lens: Messiah of Evil (dir by Willard Huyck)


MOE Mariana HillWith only five days left until Halloween, I wanted to make sure that I shared this film with our faithful and wonderful readers.  Messiah of Evil was first released in 1973 and, since it’s in the public domain, it has since been included in a countless number of bargain box sets from Mill Creek.

I can still remember the first time that I saw Messiah of Evil.  It was on a Monday night, many years ago.  I had recently picked up a 10-movie DVD box set called Tales of Terror and I was using the movies inside to try to deal with a bout of insomnia.  I had already watched The Hatchet Murders (a.k,a. Deep Red) and The House At The Edge of the Park and, at two in the morning, I was faced with a decision.  Should I try to sleep or should I watch one more movie?

Naturally, I chose to watch one more movie and the movie I chose was Messiah of Evil.  So, there I was at two in the morning, sitting at the edge of my bed in my underwear and watching an obscure horror movie while rain fell outside.

And, seriously — this movie totally FREAKED me out!

Messiah of Evil tells the story of Arletty (Marianna Hill), a neurotic woman who drives to an isolated California town in order to visit her father.  Her father is an artist who specializes in painting eerie pictures of large groups of black-clad people.  However, once she arrives at his home, Arletty discovers that her father has vanished and left behind a diary where he claims that a darkness has overtaken the town.

Meanwhile, a mysterious man named Thom (Michael Greer) is wandering about town with two groupies (played by Anita Ford and Joy Bang) and interviewing random townspeople.  One crazed man (Elisha Cook, Jr.) explains that “the dark stranger” is returning.  After meeting Arletty, they all end up moving into her father’s house.

But that’s not all.   There’s also an odd albino man who shows up driving truck and who eats mice….

Messiah of Evil is literally one of the strangest films that I’ve ever seen.  It’s shot in a dream-like fashion and the much of the film is left open to the viewer’s interpretation.  There are two classic scenes — one that takes place in a super market and one that takes place in a movie theater and the movie’s worth watching for these two scenes alone.

Messiah of Evil is a film that will be appreciated by all lovers of surrealism and intelligent horror and I’m happy to share it with you today.

2 responses to “Horror On The Lens: Messiah of Evil (dir by Willard Huyck)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/24/22 — 10/30/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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