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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)




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 ... Stabbing Victim in Prologue
Laurie Charlap-Hyman Laurie Charlap-Hyman ... Unknown


After losing contact with her artist father, Arletty travels to the west coast. Though she doesn't find him, she meets Thom, an odd wealthy man who's travelling with 2 lovers, Toni and Laura, to meet her father. She reads his diary and realises there's something strange with the residents of this California town. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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:

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Did You Know?


The pickup truck Bennie Robinson drives was owned by art director Jack Fisk. See more »


Bennie Robinson's character mispronounces the name Richard Wagner (see trivia). See more »


Arletty: [narrating] We sit in the sun and wait. We sleep. And we dream. Each of us dying slowly in the prison of our minds.
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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 Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth (2000) See more »


Amazing Grace
Lyrics by John Newton
Sung by Joy Bang
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User Reviews

An Interesting, Somewhat Hidden Diamond in the Rough
20 November 2005 | by BaronBl00dSee 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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