Thursday, June 15, 2017

woolgathering in the dark

MESSIAH OF EVIL (1973; d: Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz)

Sometimes when a movie's narrative is muddled, when the characters don't much matter, your connection or attention becomes tenuous at best. And so you put your feet up and stretch into leisurely repose, and vague ideas are offered and forgotten, and dark mutterings insinuated, and through it all your mind teeters, disengaged and then—what, how—all the sudden this nightmare is most familiar. How did I get here—I mean, what happened?  Is this a dream?

MESSIAH OF EVIL doesn't always make much sense, but on a quiet, lonely night like this one, it'll make due.

For the surreal, nightmarish set pieces alone...

At a dark, desolate gas station with an unnerving stranger...

Or on a late, lonely visit to the supermarket...

Or in a movie theater near the border of Hell...

MESSIAH OF EVIL is waiting to lull you into a hazy it can feed your nightmares.

And so when you find yourself alone, watching late at night...

...and you get the feeling you're not quite alone...

...just keep telling yourself, “It's only a movie.”

But whatever you do, don't scream.

It will only make a bad dream worse.

So, run if you will...

But keep telling yourself to wake up.

Before the nightmare consumes you.

But dreams can't really harm you...

Can they?


  1. the entire film has been posted on youtube several times. it is public domain. it is also available on many discount compilations :

  2. . the first time i saw it i thought it was the most boring film i had finished. later i went back and re-watched it and was blown is a meditation on dread.

  3. wikipedia: "An urban legend regarding the film exists that a key subplot regarding the true nature of Michael Greer's character "Thom" and his connection to the "Messiah of Evil", aka the "dark stranger" was cut from the final edit of the film.[3][unreliable source?] Greer plays the "dark stranger" in the flashback sequence and at the end of the film, Thom tells Arletty of a dream he had, placing him in a situation similar to the "Donner Party", that the "dark stranger" was present at.[4] This leaves the question of whether or not Thom was the reincarnation of the "dark stranger" or the actual "dark stranger". In an interview with Michael Greer to promote the film "The Gay Deceivers", he states that he will be playing "the devil's son" in his upcoming film, Messiah of Evil


  5. back in the 80's there was a guy here in town who would never wear a shirt. he always wore scandals. he always wore cut off jeans as shorts. he worked as a carpenter. he looked just like those pictures you see of Jesus. he had long hair + beard. this guy however was always up to no good. he was all the time in trouble. he was in and out of jail. his nick name was evil Jesus. everyone called him that. once his dad got drunk and tried to kill him with a poker from a fire place and ended up sticking the poker all the way through his palm. once he was standing on an incline in front of a bonfire. from the top of the incline it looked like he was standing in the bonfire, but they flames were causing him no harm. a bunch of teen age girls were freaking out. once he working on the roof of the local court house. it is about a three story tall structure. i was pulling in the parking lot because i worked there at the time. for some reason we made eye contact and he just started at me ... with his hair blowing in the wind. any way, the title of the film always reminds me of the local guy's old nickname. the guy doesn't look like Jesus any more. he has problems with his liver and is all fat and bloated now. he still seems to be allergic to shirts.


  7. Haha! Evil Jesus sounds like a horror movie waiting to happen. Thank you for sharing this story about the *real* messiah of evil!

    The first time I saw Messiah of Evil was on VHS, when I was 11 or 12 yrs old. While my initial reaction was less than enthusiastic, those scenes stood out enough that I would later give it another look. I wish I could find out what ever happened to Bennie Robinson...that guy was amazing, could've had quite a career in horror movies.

  8. 'Meditation on dread' quite perfectly sums it up for me, John. Thanks again!

  9. I find the narrative pretty logical. The storytelling is what keeps things off kilter. Even the great/horrible song the producer forced the director to include contributes to the strangeness. Cook Jr.'s presence would give any film a bizarre pedigree. Love it to death. The women in the film are tantalizing, and the female lead, I believe, is Fredo's wife in "Godfather II."

  10. Thanks Greg- didn't catch your comment until now (which shows you how accustomed I am to visitors here). I love it to death as well, had no idea Marianna Hill was in the second Godfather movie! And I agree, that song, however easy on the ears, it's an indelible part of the mix.