Messiah of Evil (1973 film)

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Scene from Messiah of Evil (1973 film)...

Messiah of Evil, AKA Dead People, Deep Swamp, Messiah of the Evil Dead, Messiah of Evil: The Second Coming, Night of the Damned, Return of the Living Dead (1973 film) (not to be confused with the 1985 horror/comedy of the same name), Revenge of the Screaming Dead, The Second Coming, Blood Busters (1973)


"Terror reigns when he returns - terror you won't want to remember, in a film you won't be able to forget." 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.


  • Release Date: 1973
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror (gothic)
  • Setting: 1970s California seaside
  • Runtime: 1 hr 30 min
  • Starring: Michael Greer, Marianna Hill, Joy Bang
  • Director: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz
  • Writer: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz
  • Producer/Production Co: V/M Productions, International Cine Film Corp.
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • IMDb: (link)
  • Full Movie: (link) (link) (film appears to be in public domain)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: R (Violence, partial Nudity, Profanity, Adult Content)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; could be a very loose adaptation)

A surreal horror film with details such as the vanished father being a death-obsessed painter, the daughter falling in with a group of hedonists, the town people turning into ghouls, and the "dark stranger" as a sinister preacher whose awaited return comes from the sea, might point to some influence from H. P. Lovecraft on the film.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links

  • Parker at MrParker Reviews (YouTube) (link)
  • Ian Jane at DVD Talk (link) - "...rarely is a film as ripe with atmosphere and impending dread than this one."
  • Kylerexpop at Mutant Reviewers (link) - "The visual elements of the film, tending towards the dreamily experimental, imbue the simple story with much more gravitas than typical gore scenes and jump scares could ever provide."
  • Glitter Godzilla a Outpost Zeta, (link) - "The film does a fantastic job of just giving you the very edges of something huge and terrible descending on the town and that is when it works the best... It is pretty amazing that this movie doesn’t really get spoken about more often, especially in the wake of Lovecraftian tales of cosmic doom becoming so popular lately. Messiah of Evil definitely captures that flavor."
  • Richard Scheib at The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (3/5 Stars) (link) - "...a series of diary entries by her father that progressively describe how he is losing his sanity and becoming no longer human, Messiah of Evil has very much the feel of an H.P. Lovecraft film. ... What one liked about Messiah of Evil is Willard Huyck’s strange nightmare ambience. The narrative is not intended as a rational one. Things that happen don’t make sense or come with explanations..."
  • Giovanni Susina at The Mansion of Madness (link) - "... maybe, without knowing it; the characters were drawn further into their deadly situation subconsciously as if being controlled by the impending madness."


 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

While searching for her missing father, a woman comes to a town crawling with flesh-eating zombies.


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements

Keeper Notes