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Messiah of Evil (1973)

R | | Horror | 2 May 1973 (USA)
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.


Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz (uncredited)


Willard Huyck (screenplay), Gloria Katz (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Greer ... Thom
Marianna Hill ... Arletty (as Mariana Hill)
Joy Bang ... Toni
Anitra Ford ... Laura
Royal Dano ... Joseph Lang
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Charlie
Charles Dierkop ... Gas Attendant
Bennie Robinson Bennie Robinson ... Albino Trucker
Morgan Fisher Morgan Fisher ... Unknown
Emma Truckman Emma Truckman ... Unknown
Dyanne Asimow Dyanne Asimow ... Unknown (as Dyanne Simon)
Herb Margolis Herb Margolis ... Unknown
Alex Michaels Alex Michaels ... Unknown
Walter Hill
Laurie Charlap-Hyman Laurie Charlap-Hyman ... Unknown


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


Meet Albert. Albert likes good music, motor trips by moonlight, and...eating human flesh. Albert is one of the...(Dead People) See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

2 May 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Messiah of Evil: The Second Coming See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Many of the extras in the film were unemployed NASA workers. See more »


The sound towards the end somehow develops a three-second delay from when the characters open their mouths to when we actually hear their voices. See more »


Toni: I'm really hungry. I got the munchies.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The recent DVD release (under the title Messiah of Evil) contains a version of the film that omits the song "Hold on to Love" that opens and closes some versions of the film. See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Wonder Woman (2016) See more »


Amazing Grace
Lyrics by John Newton
[Sung by (Joy Bang)]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The measuring stick of 1970's B-horror
1 October 2008 | by TromafreakSee all my reviews

You know those 70's B-horror gems, like Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, or A Virgin Among The Living Dead, often described as obscure, surreal, incoherent, atmospheric, and dream-like? Well, those qualities mentioned, apply to Messiah Of Evil more so than anything I've ever witnessed. A low-key, intentionally(?) confusing story, told in a somber, yet astonishing manner. The atmosphere of this film will put you in a trance, and keep you there.

Arletty, who may or may not be sane, driving in the pitch black, frantically making her way to Point Dune, a small, California, coastal town, her father is in danger. Once the destination is reached, Arletty stops by a gas station, seemingly unalarmed by the nervous attendant, and the horrifying, giant albino. Once Arletty makes it to her fathers house, and after reading his diary, it becomes obvious that there's a problem either her father has gone insane, or something evil has taken hold, but the only sure thing, is that the old man is nowhere to be found. After an awkward scene, in which Arletty meets Thom, and his two girls, an old drunk gave her the low-down on the town, which might help uncover the mystery surrounding her father. Arletty seems rather indifferent to the fact that Thom and his two girls have invited themselves to stay with her, for a while. Between the missing father, a seemingly empty town minus the dead people, and, not to mention, the moon, being on the verge of turning red, maybe some company wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Messiah Of Evil is what a Jess Franco masterpiece would be like in a perfect world, and hell yes I see the irony of the fact that Willard Hyuck would go on to give birth to a fowl bastard called Howard The Duck. What I find intriguing is that Messiah Of Evil has yet to get an official DVD release. No extras, no audio commentary, and you guessed it, no pristine screen quality, hell, even Criminally Insane got the digital treatment. Maybe the mystery that is Messiah Of Evil will remain in untarnished obscurity, somehow I doubt it. I love how, very little is explained, like, the relationship between Thom and his two girls is barely even acknowledged, and why is Arletty always so distressed, yet disturbingly calm? And what does that giant, nightmare of an albino have to do with any of this? I've heard this film compared to the work of Jess Franco, and David Lynch, and to movies like Carvival Of Souls, and Let's Scare Jessica To Death. Well, whatever. The way I see it, you don't compare Messiah Of Evil to all that, you compare all that to Messiah Of Evil. From the seemingly unrelated, opening scene, to the incoherent, yet hopeless ending, Messiah Of Evil is one of the true black diamonds of horror. 10/10

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