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Messiah of Evil (1973)

R  |   |  Horror  |  1973 (USA)
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A young woman goes searching for her missing artist father. Her journey takes her to a strange Californian seaside town governed by a mysterious undead cult.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Greer ...
Arletty (as Mariana Hill)
Joy Bang ...
Anitra Ford ...
Joseph Long
Charles Dierkop ...
Gas Attendant
Bennie Robinson ...
Albino trucker
Morgan Fisher ...
Emma Truckman ...
Dyanne Asimow ...
Unknown (as Dyanne Simon)
Herb Margolis ...
Alex Michaels ...
Laurie Charlap-Hyman ...


A young woman goes searching for her missing artist father. Her journey takes her to a strange Californian seaside town governed by a mysterious undead cult.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Terror you won't want to remember - In a film you won't be able to forget. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead People  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The murals in Joseph Long's home were created by Gloria Katz's college roommate. See more »


When Arletty is tending to Thom towards the end of the film, Thom is on his back and has some blood on his face from his ear, which she wipes away. In the next shot, the blood is back. See more »


Charlie: Don't be afraid. I'm an ugly old man, but I'm harmless.
See more »


Edited from Gone with the West (1975) See more »


Hold On To Love
Music and Lyrics by Eliane Tortel
Sung by Raun MacKinnon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An Interesting, Somewhat Hidden Diamond in the Rough
20 November 2005 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

Virtually unknown horror pic from the 70s about a woman looking for her missing artist father and finding some kind of zombie cult wiping out a Californian seaside town. The story's flaws are legion as huge holes fill much of it, yet the story about a man coming from/to the canyon a 100 years ago that had been a member of that infamous party forced to consume...well, it was interesting in nothing else. In the beginning of the film some care and effort had been given to help distinguish who was a member of this flesh-eating cult that work together, play together, and rip flesh together. You won't see any gore at all gore-hounds - so this one may not be for you. In point of fact, there is little actually seen in the film other than people at a table gnawing meat(from what looks like it came right out of a supermarket)and like scenes. What this film DOES have going for it are some very clever scenes amidst an obviously constrained budget. There are no names here except Elisha Cook Jr. in a pretty good cameo as a crazed drunk and Royal Dano as the film's narrator and a central character. Other than that we have the daughter played by beautiful Marianna Hill and a man with two girls as his companions holing up in Hill's house when asked to leave town. The man likes mysteries and the girls want to leave. Both are pretty; Anitra Ford, star of such films like Invasion of the Bee Girls, is sultry and decent and her leggy, young co-star is, well let's say its one of the more interesting stage names, Joy Bang. In fact Joy is in the best scene in the film that takes place in a movie theater. The theater is empty at first and each successive scene has more and more of these "beings" moving into the background of the theater and then on all sides of her while a God awful scene from a trailer for a western starring Sammy Davis Jr. plays on the big screen. This scene was darkly humorous and chilling. There were other scenes too, but before I get too carried away with what I did like - this film has some flaws. The aforementioned script has lots of unexplained or poorly explained things throughout: how does the man come from the sea? what is the significance of the guy that eats rats? why was the art dealer blind?(an unusual touch) Where had...? OK, I have lots more but the point has been made. The film's budget is very low. Nothing is shown on screen that might have exhausted the smallest of budgets except for a lot of paint being thrown around a room and one stunt man wearing an outfit that was set to flames. The town used for location shots suits the creepiness of the plot and adds to the film's atmosphere. The acting is not real bad nor is it real good. The four central characters were all chosen not for their abilities but rather for their physical features. They could have been a lot worse in front of the camera in their defense. The ending is way over-blown too. Flaws notwithstanding, I liked this film overall and was impressed with much in it(just loved that movie theater scene) and heartily recommend it to the viewer of low-budget quality horror films.

19 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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