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Messiah of Evil (Day 21)

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Gary Floyd

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21.) Messiah of Evil (1973)

Plot: In the California town of Pointe Dune, Arletty Lang (Marianna Hill) is looking for her reclusive artist father (Royal Dano.) So, what's with the undead town's people? And who is the Messiah of Evil?

Review: Night of the Living Dead meets the works of H.P. Lovecraft in Will Hyuck's underrated cult classic. While you won't finds piles of gore here, you will find a creeping sense of dread and a nice little gothic horror tale made for about $80,000 or $100,000.

What works in the movie,as I mentioned already, is the sense of dread. You know there's something about the townspeople-they are flat, emotionless, pale, and bleeding from the eyes. When something does happen, it leaves an impression, especially in two setpieces: one in a supermarket, the other in a
. The movie also gets away with some social commentary. The supermarket scene-the undead feasting upon uncooked meat-anticipates Romero's commentary on consumerism found in his masterpiece Dawn of the Dead. Also, like Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, I Drink Your Blood, and Simon, King of the Witches, "Messiah of Evil" serves as a commentary of the hippie movement. Here, the dead seem to be not only a veiled commentary on consumerism gone mad, but also the fact that in the end, the hippie movement, no matter how it denied it, was a sense of conformity.

The movie does have it's flaws-poor acting, an annoying, warbly song-but the one flaw that hurts the movie some is the narration. We don't need a narrator to explain what's going on here people. Still, it's an underrated gem, and deserves a look.

Director Hyuck went on to write American Graffiti and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Then he did Howard the Duck, and his career never recovered.

Rating: 8.5/10 Yep, the Writer/Director of Howard the Duck did one of the most underrated zombie movies of the 70's. See it-it's not hard to find online, and it's public domain.

Next Time: Dead Heist
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