Lovecraftian Giallo fusing its source materials' best (atmosphere, hallucinatory visuals & set-pieces) & worst (camp, misogyny, tired kill-scenes) qualities. Also the music is bonkers. Like 'Carnival of Souls,' this zombie flick is commendably ahead of its time & the vibes are mesmerizing while the actual scares often fall flat. Ultimately 'Messiah of Evil' is cool as hell--just prepare your eyes to roll a few times.
Rewatch. Still one of the best (and best-looking) American horror films around. You could set almost anything in a deserted beach town and I would probably enjoy it, but this film so good at exploiting small-town American life -and by extension, traditional 'American' values- in a horror register.
With the lucid visual poetry of Lynch's Lost Highway or Argento's Suspiria, and the loose daydream logic of 1971's Let's Scare Jessica To Death, Messiah of Evil is an early arthouse zombie film. There are very few scenes that aren't memorable, whether it be due to the style, atmosphere, creative ideas, or the acting (Greer was a high-class actor.) The resolution, however, is rushed, robbing some of its purity.
In the vein of some Cormanesque seaside horror classic, but with a bunch of brainless zombie coming to bore you. I suppose some very good cinematography by Stephen Katz suffices for people to scream at a masterpiece or a hidden gem, but they are probably accustomed to modern horror movies. If this one is not as famous as The Fog or Humanoids from the deep, there should be some reason.
Thoroughly enjoyed this one. A zombie film that had more in common with HP Lovecraft than George Romero. The nightmarish storytelling with lack of explanations made this film all the more ethereal. The sometimes difficult to listen to theme song added to the nightmarish quality of the film.