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on 4 February 2016
Unusual, somewhat surreal yet effective little zombie/vampire film that is very much of its time (and none the worse for that). A young woman visits a Californian coastal town to look for her missing artist father. When she gets there, she find that the locals have a particularly unpleasant secret. It's quite dreamlike and obscure at times but there is a prevailing sense of isolation and menace, contrasting with the 'everyday' appearance of the town and the father's beach-side house is agreeably early seventies in its kookiness. When the nature and history of the town's inhabitant's becomes apparent we get a couple of really effective set-pieces (particularly a cinema visit that goes rather wrong for an unaware visitor). Marianne Hill, who plays the girl with the missing father, does so nicely and there are a number of interesting characters in the supporting case. Well worth a look, especially if you have an affection for drive-in movies of the time.
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on 28 December 2009
A young woman named arletty (played by marlana hill from high planes drifter) heads to the small costal town of pointe dune after recieving disturbing letters from her father. The town had at one point a hundred years ago been called new bethlehem until the appearence of a blood moon and a mysteryious stranger caused some kind of 'event' that changed the town forever. In her search she joins up with three strangers in town to find out about the blood moon incident and they encounter strange rituals on the beach and a town full of flesh-eating ghouls.
It's hard to pin down the plot of messiah of evil, as it feels more like a collection of someones nightmares put down on celluloid loosely linked with the missing father as a plot device. That said, this is no bad thing at all as watching the film can be a strange and unnerving experience that the closest comparisons I can suggest are Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural [DVD] [1973] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] and Carnival Of Souls [1962] [DVD] and also perhaps stranger italian horror like Zeder [DVD] [1983] [US Import] where logic takes second place to atmosphere and style. The colour scheme is almost as vivid as Suspiria and adds to the general off-kilter strangeness of the movie as does the synthesised soundtrack and the occasional bizzarre sets (just check out dads house!) and weird incedental characters like a rat eating albino Wagner fan and the blind art dealer and her son.
Once more big kudos must go to code red for once again unearthing an obscure classic, sometimes theyb release duff movies like night of the dribbler and sometimes lost classics like sole survivors Sole Survivor [DVD] [1982] [US Import] and this one falls into the latter category, if you like cult movies they are new on the scene but have put out a lot of interesting films out in 2009. With Messiah they have gone all out the film has been fully restored by the director in it's origional 16x9 widescreen 2:35:1 and comes with audio commentary featurette audio interviews and the obligatory code red trailer reel.
The film is certainly strange and arty and occasionally may be a little slow for a modern audience but I loved it and found it to be highly origional and not relying on gore for scares. Overall I would reccomend this to cult film fans looking for something different from the standard horror formula and anyone who likes their films a little trippy. A guninely origional and entertaining horror.
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on 20 September 2010
Concerned about her fathers welfare, after recieving some disturbing letters from him, Arletty(Marianna Hill) travels to his home in the small town of Point Dune. She finds his house deserted and a book containing some apparently insane ramblings that her father wrote regarding events in Point Dune. Teaming up with Thom(Michael Greer), Arletty tries to find the whereabouts of her father, finding that for every stone upturned a new horror is discovered. Point Dune really does come alive at night, even though some coming to the party might be dead....
One of American horrors best kept secrets, this amazing film seemes to be getting some overdue recognition through a mixture of word of mouth and this excellent dvd release. It has a unique atmosphere caused by its slightly disjointed narrative and some wonderfully evocative set pieces. The town of Point Dune really does become the stuff of nightmares at night. In fact the whole film turns into a delicously dark bad dream.
Just to mention a couple of real standout sequences. There's the midnight feast at the supermarket, the cinema that silently fills up with customers who have more than a bowl of popcorn on their minds and perhaps best of all, Arletty's climatic reunion with her father. The cast is a mixture of veteran character actors and virtual unknowns, but all deliver great performances. Messiah Of Evil is probably the best slice of H.P Lovecraft never written by H.P Lovecraft.
The Code Red release should be roundly applauded, as it gives the genral public the chance to buy this neglected masterpiece, that for far too long has been languisshing in bargain bucket dvd box sets. This release also has a nice array of extras on the disc, and the picture and sound quality are especially fine.
A highly recommended purchase for anybody who is a fan of horror films, period. 5 out of 5
p.s- this is a region 0 release, so can be enjoyed all around the world.
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on 30 October 2010
There are distinct flavours, seventies american ambience & clothing, enthused semi-professional acting mixed with old pros, eerie artistic murals, gaudy blood. Tastes similar in atmosphere & intent as Dead & Buried & The Fog, having a Lovecraftian undertow in the narrative.

And the narrative is something that should appeal; many people find cheaper films suspect in this area. In this case however, the artwork on the walls & the slow dread building, is a nightmare mix of european with americana. This takes the entire film beyond mere drive-in trash. Its not overly intellectual but neither is the film a dumb popcorner. At times it was a little Baba Yaga, a touch of Lemora (also 1973) two other films to make you feel off-kilter.

A film to watch late night, without interruption from people who cannot suspend their disbelief.

Obviously its most important that the picture quality is now very good, restored, and the sound on this release is also most acceptable, whereas previously the film has been mistreated badly and in the wrong ratio.
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on 17 May 2010
Whilst not a perfect, 5 star movie for me I would still highly recommend getting this Code Red edition. The picture quality is fantastic which is crucial as the movie is beautifully shot and will appeal to all lovers of visual horror a la Bava, Argento and Soavi. It also features two scenes, one in a supermarket, the other in a cinema, which are as good as anything I've seen from those three maestros (high praise, I know).
On the negative side the narrative is a bit crudely stitched together with voiceovers and flashbacks and could have done with a bit more thrust. The ending also seems a bit abrupt with much unexplained, a fact admitted and explained in the commentary.
In short a must have for a serious horror fan.
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on 9 January 2018
Great classic horror should be up held as a classic text for horror fans
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on 10 August 2009
Good, atmospheric and strange movie. But the presentation is really bad. Looks like digitalized (very bad) VHS. The movie is definitively worth watching but this edition makes it an ordeal.
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on 3 January 2010
Code Red DVD has at long last put out a true masterpiece of genre movie-making for fans of avant-garde horror. Messiah Of Evil ranks right up alongside other 1970's classics such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn Of The Dead, Shivers and Eraserhead with comparative inventive aplomb.

Beginning with the onscreen graphic murder of then aspiring young actor and soon to be renowned movie director Walter Hill this visually poetic tale of dark forces at play in a small fictitious Californian costal town known as Pointe Dune mesmerises the viewer like a moth to a night flame. Told from the perspective of a woman in search of her artist father in the titular town where she meets an effete, but intriguing man and his two female charges and their unfolding encounters which occur therein.

If you enjoy cinema which transports you to a world of visual originality where fantastic heightened reality becomes a doorway to impressions, ideas, emotional engagement, stimulating imagery and an abundance of atmospheric ambience, this film is one to savour and treasure. This art-house-horror film has made and left a lasting resonance upon this viewer.

If you are a fan of such film directors as David Cronenberg, David Lynch, George Romero, Dario Argento and other enigmatic examples of 1970's cinema then I urge you to order this lost treat unearthed and beautifully restored with many extra's including a commentary track, interviews and short film by the same director all wrapped up in an evocative sleeve from rising cult label new stars Code Red DVD
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VINE VOICEon 29 April 2010
If you have any doubt that the early 70s were one of the most fertile times for low-budget, nightmarish American horror, then this newly remastered edition of `Messiah of Evil' ought to help convert you to an unfettered worship of that glorious era. The plot concerns a lady named Arletty (Marianna Hill) who travels to eerie Pointe Doune in the hope of tracking down her increasingly isolated, mentally-degenerating father (Royal Dano). Once there, she meets up with swinging folklorist Thom (Michael Greer) and his `travelling companions' and starts to fall victim to a local curse spawned by a century-bygone devil-preacher, a curse that, amongst other things, afflicts the locals with a craving for meat and murder...

A slow-burning piece of work, William Huyck's film is a wonderful journey into a twisted reality increasingly detached from mainstream existence. Its closest contemporary is definitely the brilliant `Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural', both featuring a similar dreamlike ambience, and showcasing the central plot of a daughter's quest for her father amongst the undead. Whilst `Lemora' is in my view the superior film (it has that extra level of overt Freudian anxiety that `Messiah' lacks, and Cheryl Smith is a far more compelling heroine), `Messiah' really benefits from a sense of stylistic creepiness and artfulness all its own. Highpoints include Arletty's arrival at her father's oddly painted house, walls bedecked with unnerving figures, stuffed dogs in evidence, perspective frequently manipulated to disorientating effect, not to mention any scene involving Bennie Robinson's freakish trucker, particularly his ratty late night encounter with Greer's chum. Then there are the strange vignettes of the villagers at the beach, and, best of all, the cinema scene. Once viewed, never forgotten, if `Messiah' has one real claim to fame, this deeply unsettling set-piece is it. Furthermore, Phillan Bishop's haunting score is deeply evocative, and director Huyck goes out of his way to make heavy use of red and blue lighting and colour schemes, giving the movie a lurid style highly reminiscent of Dario Argento's `Suspiria', as pointed out by another astute reviewer.

A word must be said about Code Red's dedication to presenting this lost gem in the grandeur it deserves. My previous experience with the film was on DVD paired with `The Devil's Nightmare', but this proved a frankly appalling rendition of the movie which was barely watchable (if at all), and is to be avoided at all costs. To even compare the two discs in any way would be grossly insulting to this Code Red edition: whilst `Messiah...' is clearly a low-budget film with a less than pristine visual quality, the Code Red team have done wonders making it look as good as they have. `Messiah...' is now in its original 2.35:1 scope aspect ratio, with full participation of the Huyck, and is accompanied by a commentary, audio interview, featurette and short films by the director. A round of applause for all involved.

Further viewing? Well, if `Lemora' is the contemporary, Dan O'Bannon's cult classic `Dead and Buried' is the clear descendant, along with John Carpenter's `In the Mouth of Madness', which sports a similar feel and asylum-based framing sequence. But in all honesty, there is little like `Messiah of Evil' out there. So what do you with films like this? To paraphrase Bennie Robinson, you devour them, that's what you do with them! Happy eating.
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on 18 August 2013
Arletty (Marianna Hill) looks for her missing father at his home in a small seaside town, one with a legend. While there she encounters Thom (Michael Greer) and his two female traveling companions (Anitra Ford, Joy Bang). They are interested in the local folklore of the blood moon, an event that happens every century where town folks eat raw meat and engage in zombie like cannibalism.

I have developed a pop quiz from the film.

1) If you are pumping gas and notice the truck has two dead bodies in it. After the driver leaves do you:
a) Notify the police.
b) Drive away in the opposite direction.
c) Continue as if nothing happened.

2) What handicap would you give an art dealer?
a) wheelchair
b) deaf mute
c) blind

Yes, I sell all my paintings to blind art dealers. Available on a 15 DVD pack for $5.00 at Walmart.

Parental Guide: No f-bombs or sex. Near nudity or partial nudity.
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