Messiah of Evil

Messiah of Evil ★★★★

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!

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John (Magic Rat Movies) liked this review