JULY 11, 2007
Messiah Of Evil was recommended by HMAD loyalist Scott, fellow champion of the Mill Creek budget pack. I estimate I’ve gone through about half of the set now, and damned if I’m not gonna be one sad son of a bitch when I watch the last one and never hear that bird chirping as the charmingly pitiful Mill Creek logo (complete with a wheel that is turning the wrong way in relation to the filmstrip coming from it) plays out one final time.
*Watches a film that doesn’t look like it was run over by a broken steamroller before its transfer to DVD*
The film begins as all films should, with a guy who looks kind of like me getting his throat slashed by a cute girl. We are then given a few credits (including the heretofore unheard of “Administrative Executive Producer”) before they are interrupted by a girl in a hospital, giving some off-kilter narration while an equally off kilter song plays on the soundtrack. Then the credits are free to resume themselves and we are off to Point Dune!
Point Dune is apparently a town filled with artists and assorted other hippies. Narrator girl’s (a name less strange than her actual name, Arletty) dad has disappeared, Dune being his last known whereabouts. So she goes about investigating, while hippies have slow dinners peppered with dialogue like “Yuck! This stuff is shitty tasting!” and occasional narration with puzzling lines like “The art dealer was blind” (how the fuck does he know what he’s buying?). You know how on MST3k they would always end the show with a ‘stinger’, which was simply the most ridiculous part of the film replayed again for our enjoyment? The entire first half hour of this film could be the stinger if Mike and the ‘bots ever sat down with this one.
In fact, I began wondering why anyone would recommend this movie to me, as I wasn’t even sure if it was a horror movie. Perhaps it was some diabolical plan to sabotage my whole “Horror Movie A Day!” streak (unbroken for nearly 5 months, that’s 150 movies!!!)??? But then, finally, the horror part began, and damned if the movie didn’t turn out pretty dang good. It’s sort of like a cross between Wicker Man and Body Snatchers. But with zombies. There was still some unintentional hilarity to be had (such as the hilarious sound the zombies make when they attack, which cannot possibly be described as anything but a cat howling), but some really good scenes too, like when a rather dumb looking girl sits down to watch a western and the theater slowly fills up with stealth zombies (patient, these guys are). And a lot of the zombies look like Herk Harvey in Carnival Of Souls, so you know they’re creepy as fuck.
And as much as I love Mill Creek (in a hateful sort of way), I really wish they would just give the films widescreen transfers (when you think about it, it takes more work to pan and scan a movie than not). This is one of the few films in the set that were shot 2.35:1, and strangely, rather than just crop it like a normal asshole would (who the fuck are these people who crop films for a living? Do they have no souls???), they cropped it down to about 1.85:1 and stretched the rest of the image vertically in order to preserve some of the screen information. It’s a nice gesture, but it just makes everyone look like they are playing Christopher Lee (possibly the source of my Wicker Man flashbacks). Sadly, I cannot locate a good copy of the film on DVD. This is definitely one that deserves better.
Pointless trivia: the guy who directed it went on to make Howard The Duck.
Pointlesser trivia: Walter Hill plays a small role. A fact made even more hilarious when you consider the climax, which features the zombies smashing thru a skylight window for some reason, resulting in a minute long montage of endlessly smashing glass. As Another 48 Hours has the world record for most glass broken in a single film, one must wonder if that’s where Hill began his obsession.
What say you?