Messiah of Evil
MESSIAH OF EVIL
aka, DEAD PEOPLE
or, REVENGE OF THE SCREAMING DEAD
or, THE SECOND COMING. 1973

Directors: Willard Huyck
& Gloria Katz

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Messiah of Evil Something of a zombie flick, Messiah of Evil; aka, Dead People has also been known as Revenge of the Screaming Dead or Second Coming (1973).

The husband/wife directorial team was also responsible for Howard the Duck (1986), which might lead one to suppose they were only capable of rubbish. Yet as screenwriters they were responsible for such successful stuff as American Graffiti (1973) & Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom (1984). So who can guess why there's so little evidence of competence in their very few directorial efforts.

People in the California coastal village cry tears of blood as they turn into pale ghouls that hunt in packs, devouring untransformed people.

Messiah of EvilThe government knowing the town is infected with something awful plan to blow it off the face of the map, so the hero has a limited amount of time to find the magically instant cure at the last possible minute.

The same thing happened a century earlier when the man in a black robe arrived in the village.

He was the only survivor of the infamous Mormon cannibals of the Donner Party, & apparently was transformed into the Messiah of Evil who lives in the sea.

Why or how in the sea the film provides no clue, though incorporating Mormon historical allusions might be a clue. If the "prophet" Joseph Smith is being lampooned as an inside-joke by the writer-directors, Smith did often allude to the sea in his popular fantasy novel, & even claimed of himself, I kid you not, "Deep water is what I am wont to swim in."

Messiah of EvilThe man in the black robe is returning & the moon shall shine red as the zombie infection causes villagers to do such interesting things as go to the movies & sit around the only unzombified popcorn-eating movie fan left in town.

It's all silly hooey, & the notion that the taste of human blood induces zombie ghoulism is not given any basis by which it might be regarded as marginally credible.

Occasionally something so baselessly moronic happens (like one of the zombies deciding to paint his own face blue) so that any viewer's bewildered headshaking serves as the greatest reward the film can receive.

Still, given how egregiously bad zombie films can be, this one certainly isn't one of the worst, & is almost stylish in its awfulness rather than merely awful.

Continue to:
Oasis of the Zombies (1981) & Snake People (1971)

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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