Now things are going to get totally bizarre as we reach the end of our adventures with Daniel Th1rte3n’s Top 10 Films. What could be stranger than androids, future barbarians, tentacle beasts, not one but two high school showdowns with the supernatural, swimming pool zombies, toads and bikers, and murderous salmon? Well, you ain’t seen my #2 pick Messiah of Evil yet!
I never viewed 1973’s (although it was released that year, it was actually filmed in 1971) Messiah of Evil, and never even knew of its existence, until I was introduced to it by a friend a few years ago, but when I saw it, it became an instant favorite. The film’s surreal atmosphere and outré situations went a long way in influencing me while writing my novella The House of Thirteen Doors.
Now describing the plot of this film will be a bit challenging, as a lot of things are never explained, and the film plays out a bit like a dream. Arletty travels to an artist colony named Point Dune, to visit her father, but upon arriving there she finds his house empty, and no one in town seems to know where he went. During the course of her investigations, Arletty meets Thom, a strange aristocrat dressed in an ivory colored suit, and his two female companions. Thom is in town attempting to learn of an ancient legend concerning a blood moon and a dark stranger that visited Point Dune 100 years ago.
Soon Thom and the girls move in with Arletty in her father’s mansion. As Arletty reads her father’s journal she learns he has become one of the strange vampire like creatures that roam the town at night, devouring everything living in sight (including Thom’s companions). As the blood moon rises, the dark stranger (a former minister and Donner Party survivor) returns and the vampires begin their final assault on the town, biting Thom in the process. As Thom returns to the house, he finds Arletty not faring much better as she is cold and vomits insects (never a good sign). Thom and Arletty attempt to escape Point Dune by swimming away, but Thom drowns and Arletty is captured. The dark stranger captures Arletty, but sets her free in order for her to spread the word of his coming. She is promptly locked away in an insane asylum when she attempts that. The End.
While not a feel good hit, Messiah of Evil is one of the most dizzyingly surreal films ever made, and although I described the film in detail, you have to see the film to experience it, as the story really plays second fiddle to the atmosphere the film exudes. You can purchase Messiah of Evil here!
An extra special thanks to the amazing Sean Hartter for providing the excellent artwork that accompanies this article!
Next time, our journey comes to an end with the greatest space opera of all time…and there’s nary a Wookie in sight! Stay Spooky!
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