John (Magic Rat Movies)’s review published on Letterboxd:
As a lifelong fan of horror movies, I have to confess this is a film I should really have seen long before now, given its reputation and recent reappraisal as an overlooked, lost genre classic.
Midway between art house and madhouse, Messiah Of Evil is a seriously strange and surreal proposition, delivered via distorted dream logic and fractured sanity. It's got a hypnotic, off-kilter Carnival Of Souls vibe, capturing a small-town mania which may well have inspired David Lynch's nightmarish vision of death and decay festering beneath the outward serenity of suburbia. Certainly it's a film which must have heavily influenced Gary Sherman's Dead And Buried, which shares a similarly creepy coastal town setting and sinister secrets. Yet this is far more out to lunch, frequently mind-bendingly obtuse and abstract - a sequence in an initially empty cinema is truly odd and unnerving, typifying the unpredictable and hallucinatory nature of much of what unfolds here, in a plot which stubbornly resists conformity or logic.
I'm so pleased I finally caught up with this deranged gem, which quite simply is one of the most unusual and unsung American horror films of the 1970s. Mind well & truly blown!