Messiah of Evil (1973)aka "Dead People", USA, written, produced, and directed by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz
This outstanding little movie deserves far more attention than it ever got. Every once in a while, a team of filmmakers comes along, and creates something extraordinary. G. A. Romero's "Night of the Living Dead", the British Hammer Studios' films, Roger Corman's E. A. Poe film adaptations, John Carpenter's "Halloween", Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead", and so on - all of these have become milestones, sub-genre icons in their own right. "Messiah of Evil" easily had the stuff to do so, too. It's surreal, scary, artful, and atmospheric. It merges European gothic cinema and modern American cinema into it's own unique, coherent blend. Why this one remained relatively unknown can to some degree be attributed to it's confusing distribution, and legal problems: it was released as "Return of the Living Dead", "Revenge of the Screaming Dead", and "The Second Coming", before finally settling with "Dead People" and "Messiah of Evil". But upon viewing it immediately becomes obvious there's something going on here, an approach that - at the time - hasn't been seen on such a scale before. Where "Night of the Living Dead" had expressionist imagery in some scenes, and "Rosemary's Baby" had a short dream sequence, "Messiah of Evil" went all out subconscious - the disjointed world on the borders of reality, somewhere between grotesque and dead serious, art, madness, and reality. Your mind is the movie. If "Messiah of Evil" had reached a wider audience when it was released, it might today perhaps be called the mother and father of films like "Phantasm", "A Nightmare on Elm Street", and "In the Mouth of Madness". In any case, it's a must-see. All hail the Messiah.
Enjoy watching "Messiah of Evil"!
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