WIHM: DAY #19 MESSIAH OF EVIL
One late night when I was a junior in high school I was browsing the tube and came across a film, that would later take me a decade to identify. I didn’t have a title or a director and I’m pretty sure this was something on TCM Underground at like 2am way back when even prior to the invention of the iPhone. Behold my surprise when I rediscovered the film all based on a particular scene and it goes like this; A woman runs into a super market late at night and its eerie as hell until she realizes there’s a cultish group of people eating raw meat in the frozen food section. Awkward. But it always stayed with me. Just the absolute chillness of being in supermarket late at night whether you’re buying Bacardi rum or a bag of Fritos there’s just something about shopping at the nocturnal time of day that freaks me out. Probably because the weirdoes come out at night and anything is possible.
MESSIAH OF EVIL has great mood, depicting what used to be a “piss poor town” referenced in the film as Point Dune also considered, “deader than hell”. Great quotes but also really brings the mob mentality when cannibal type dead people start invading the land. Did I mention the creepy Albino guy? He’ll give you nightmares while hauling bodies in his pickup truck while modestly paying for someone to fill up his tank. This of course sets the tone for how the story roams into sinister terrain. Its really about a woman, who goes looking for her missing father in a small coastal town which happens to be dominated by a strange cult that likes to attack and eat people. Yay.
Directed by a married couple, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, this film needs a good restoration but also really hones in on the 70s vibe, which I totally dig as it marries art and mystery together in a very bona fide way. Its a treasure cult classic, and in some ways I feel like it lingers in the shadow of George Romero's 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in terms of gritty filmmaking and low budget effects.