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Poster for Messiah of Evil (1974) 50th Anniversary Restoration
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Messiah of Evil (1974) 50th Anniversary Restoration

Opens on January 12

Director: Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck Run Time: 90 min. Rating: R Release Year: 1973

Starring: Anitra Ford, Joy Bang, Marianna Hill, Michael Greer, Royal Dano

Country: United States
Language: English

About the film:

After receiving a string of unsettling letters from her father, Arletty arrives in a sleepy California coastal town called Point Dune. Dad is nowhere to be seen. Instead, Arletty finds a town full of drugged-out burnouts, barren shopping centers, and… something else.

“an undervalued gem of American gothic filmmaking… Messiah of Evil is a triumph of mood and atmosphere”

—Budd Wilkins, Slant Magazine

Echoing everything from Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls to Mario Bava’s Kill, Baby… Kill!, Messiah of Evil is a swirling vortex of Lovecraftian terror, analog synth attacks, and grisly bloodshed from the team who’d later go on to make Howard the Duck (1986). Marianna Hill, Michael Greer, and Elisha Cook Jr. star in this unjustly overlooked major work of independent American horror that’s primed for (re)discovery.

About the filmmakers:

Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz were a married filmmaking team who worked together on various films, including Messiah of Evil (1974) and Howard the Duck (1986). They worked alongside George Lucas on the screenplays for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) – directed by Steven Spielberg – and American Graffiti (1973), which earned them the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay. Hyuk and Katz’s other screenplays include Director Stanley Donen’s Lucky Lady (1975) and Director Mel Smith’s Radioland Murders (1994), as well as French Postcards (1979) and Best Defense (1984), both also directed by Huyck.

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