Messiah of Evil

Messiah of Evil ★★★★★

The 4th of Horroctober!

Good grief! This didn't just get under my skin, it stayed there, and gradually replaced all of my organs until I wasn't sure if I was myself any more. I can't quite believe this exists, and is a film from 1973 - I can imagine a young upstart horror director these days saying that they've made something that is a "cross between Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy and the darker works of David Lynch" and rolling my eyes, but this somehow feels just like that... and this came first.

Messiah of Evil is an unsettling, surreal masterpiece that stands up there with any horror film I've seen to date. It takes the "people get messed up by a really weird town" thing (one of my favourite things!) and fills it with memorable weirdos, frightening moments and striking visuals. The scenes in a mall (hello, this pre-dates Dawn of the Dead too somehow?) and - especially - the one in a cinema are absolutely wonderful, finding a unique take on the undead that still feels fresh today, and using these sort-of-zombies-I-guess to set up elaborate, weirdly beautiful set pieces that took my breath away.

The atmosphere throughout is bizarre and uncomfortable, the music is a perfectly fitting electronic masterpiece and over it all hovers a blood-red moon, beautiful and terrifying, just like Messiah of Evil. A new favourite!

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