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on 6 March 2017
Winner coaxed some remarkable stars into this picture, in the main to add spice in cameo parts to support a fairly incredible plot founded on mumbo-jumbo guardian-angel myths. As in many good ghost stories, there is a chilling circularity in the story as one character replaces a predecessor, to take the evil from one generation to the next: that much works well. What is less assured is the bumbling police department (scratching the surface far less well than the fingernails of some of the undead) and a merely routine performance from Sarandon in the lead: characterless and unswashbuckling. Even the moustache disappoints; what kind of women go for these off-the-peg heroes, I'd like to know !

There is appropriate nudity of the powdered-up, flaky-paint-peeling variety and a genuinely disturbing slant on the Catholic church (one never quite knows who the goodies and baddies are among the clergy - a bit like real life, you might say).

There are chills and there is some very creepy suspense; so, really the haunted house genre is given an effective treatment overall, which sustains the movie well - it's more than worth a watch late a night but it is no masterpiece either in the photography or, I thought, in the way the different groups interact. The sound on my copy was less than good, requiring multiple adjustments but the musical score is very effective, when it is not eclipsing the dialogue.
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on 24 February 2016
This is a haunted house/ghost story and it is quite creepy. Young woman moves into a house where the only occupant is a blind priest. But then she starts having nightmares and strange voices..... A different kind of haunted house movie. I like it.
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What a little gem,a horror movie that is creepy and a great cast of actors,maybe not the Excorcist but darn near close.
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on 27 May 2017
buy it.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 20 September 2010
With lines like "This is where the lesbians live," "She went to a party with eight dead murderers" and exchanges like "What do you do for a living?" "We fondle each other," no-one's ever going to mistake Michael Winner's The Sentinel for high art, but it's a good enough yarn with a neat enough twist (that the film's poster and trailer gave away before you even got in the cinema) to pass muster if you're in the mood for a bit of schlock horror. Cristina Raines is the New York model who still hasn't quite got over her adolescent suicide attempt when she discovered her father naked in bed with a couple of hookers (neither would you if you saw Fred Stuthman naked) who moves into a perfect New York apartment only to quickly find the neighbors from Hell are driving her to do the job properly this time. And could that really be her dead dad in the apartment above her? And why did she get an apartment with such a great view so cheap?

A demented smorgasbord of every Satanic hit of the preceding decade (take two parts Rosemary's Baby and mix with one part The Omen and two teaspoons of The Exorcist), as usual for Winner's 70s pictures it boasts a (mostly faded) star-studded cast, this time with more Oscar nominees and winners than you could throw a net over (at least eleven if you include Richard Dreyfuss' curious appearance as an extra in an early street scene). Many of them don't have a lot to do - John Carradine's blind priest barely even moves, a dubbed Jeff Goldblum doesn't do much more than take a few pictures while Jose Ferrer has so little to do it was hardly worth his time turning up - but where else could you see Ava Gardner, Arthur Kennedy, Martin Balsam, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Sylvia Miles, Beverly D'Angelo, William Hickey, Jerry Orbach and Tom Berenger all slumming it in an American version of the kind of demented horror film you'd usually expect to come from Italy, or Burgess Meredith throwing the birthday party from Hell for his cat for that matter? Winner even tops that with the use of deformed extras as the denizens of Hell in the finale, which may well be exploitative, but probably no more so than Erle C. Kenton using them to play humanimals in Island of Lost Souls.

Winner's audio commentary for the UK DVD is a thing of joy and worth the price of the budget disc on its own, whether he's regaling you with the tale of how Universal head honcho Ned Tanen rejected Martin Sheen and insisted on Chris Sarandon for the lead only to wonder who "that awful Greek waiter" was playing the lead when he saw the rushes or admitting that he added a scene in Tuscany for a free holiday at the end of the shoot and included lots of party scenes with pretty girls to improve his chances of getting laid. It doesn't exactly follow what's happening on screen, but it's more than outrageously frank and blustering enough for you not to care.
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on 25 November 2000
This is an extremely creepy film, so much it'll make your skin crawl. -Especially the sight of a ghostly John Carradine, and the almost repulsive "freak" ending will stick like glue in your mind for days. Lovely Christina Raines go through hell in her new apartment, while everyone around her just act like unhelpful loonies. The movie has many famous people in small parts (a Winner trademark), but knowing some of them are now big stars, like Chris Walken, Jeff Goldblum and Tom Berenger, can be a bit distracting. It's not hard to see though, why this is such a cult classic.
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on 19 May 2017
This wouldn't play in my region so I am very disappointed. Have tsken a chance in ordering another copy.
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on 4 August 2015
Like it or loathe it, Michael Winner was a very good director delivering audience-pleasing narrative texts that were of their time, but very well made, which tapped into the public conscious of the time.
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on 28 April 2017
After waiting some time for this to be available, it has arrived at last. It was just as good as it was when I first saw it in the cinema on its release.
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on 7 September 2013
Made in 1976 during a glut of mid 1970's satan/occult themed productions (The Omen, To the Devil a Daughter, Race with the Devil, The Devil's Rain etc) it is based on a book written by Jerry Konvitz and adapted by Michael Winner. The front cover pretty much gives the plot away - 'there must forever be a guardian at the gates of hell' - so, as the viewer is aware of this, the only question is whether Winner (who directed, produced, wrote the screenplay and edited it) can pull it off or not. If it's no good then it'll mainly be his fault. In truth, it's a mixed bag, Winner direction is, well, Winner's direction i.e. unsubtle in the extreme and painfully average - seldom can a director be so derided by his critics and yet still manage a 40 year career. Some of the acting (mentioning no names) isn't very good and some of the actors (Ferrer, Balsam) have very little to do. Throughout the 70's Winner managed to attract all star casts for his productions (see Won Ton Won) and this is no exception, they were usually great, aging stars on their way down (here we have Gardner, Ferrer, Kennedy, Carradine) and up-and-comers on their way up (Sarandon, Goldblum, Walken, Berenger, D'Angelo etc who would all become stars in the next decade). The trouble with these all star casts is you spend too much time star-spotting - 'there's a young Jeff Goldblum!' etc - and not enough time on the film. Maybe, that's the point, especially given the hokey sub-Rosemary's Baby type material. At about an hour and a half it's not exactly lengthy and just as your interest is about to sag we reach the finale where it begins to make some kind of sense. Annoyingly, the film is almost completely ruined by the awful, overpowering score that drowns out any dialogue. This is particularly annoying as there are no subtitles. Includes a directors commentary by Winner who's a great raconteur. Worth watching to say to people you've seen it but you won't watch it again and again.
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