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“Don’t be afraid. I’m an ugly old man, but I’m harmless.” Yeah, right. A likely story. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they try to figure out exactly what is going on in Messiah of Evil (1973).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 146 – Messiah of Evil (1973)
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A young woman goes searching for her missing artist father. Her journey takes her to a strange Californian seaside town governed by a mysterious undead cult.IMDb
- Directors: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz (uncredited)
- Writers: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz
- Selected cast:
- Marianna Hill as Arletty
- Michael Greer as Thom
- Anitra Ford as Laura
- Joy Bang as Toni
- Royal Dano as Narrator / Joseph Long
- Elisha Cook Jr. as Charlie
- Charles Dierkop as Gas attendant
- Bennie Robinson as Albino trucker
- Walter Hill as Stabbing Victim in Prologue
Messiah of Evil is Chad’s pick and he likes some of the ideas behind it, calling it interesting but weird. In particular, he liked the concept of the Dark Stranger but he wanted more. Bill points out that Messiah of Evil has a lot of supporters, describing it as an art film with some cool set pieces and backgrounds. In the end, however, it fits into the category of the whole not being equal to the sum of its parts. Messiah of Evil has an appealing plotline but the story leaves out too much detail for Jeff. On the other hand, he always loves a dose of Elisha Cook Jr. and Royal Dano. Doc thinks Messiah of Evil to be an absolute mess, calling it the longest 90 minutes of his life. Once in a while, you get a really cool shot that is visually interesting, but in the end, it feels like a student film to him.
If you are one of the film’s supporters or just want to check it out, Messiah of Evil is currently available to stream on Shudder and Paramount Plus
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), chosen by Doc! Be sure to join us for that one.
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