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I was sitting here last night like I do every night, looking for a horror movie to watch. I looked through site after site and nothing seemed right. So I looked for something from the 70s, because I just like the way the world looked back then. I mean, Jesus, take a look at this huge pink movie theater!
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I’m so glad I chose carefully, else I might never have come across Messiah of Evil. The story is that Arletty has been getting strange letters from her father. Against his wishes, she follows him to the small beach town where he lives. There she meets Thom, who is also looking for her father for dubious reasons. Thom claims to be a collector of local legends, but you could write a whole academic paper on what Thom may or may not be. Anyway, he and his two “groupies” Laura and Toni, end up crashing at Arletty’s father’s pad with Arletty, cause, hell, it was 1973! But it’s too bad they came to town, cause everyone else there is either a zombie cannibal or cannibal chow. Supposedly this is a repeat of an event 100 years ago, as the group finds out from an old wino (my favorite horror archetype, the guy who knows more than what he’s telling).

When Arletty first arrives at her father’s house, he is nowhere to be found but our first look at the inside of the house where the movie takes place is this incredible painting of a bridge. The art is the centerpiece of the movie, because Arletty and company spend so much time in the father’s house, and the art lets her father be a character in the movie even though he doesn’t show up til the end. It lets us experience the evil in the town through his eyes better than he expresses it verbally.
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I believe that Arletty is standing on one side of the bridge, and her father has already crossed over. She is alive, and he is either dead or one of the living dead like the others in town.

Doesn’t this film have the most incredible set design? The walls are literally covered with both scenes of the zombies, all dressed in black that the hapless visitors will later meet
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the people looking in the window at her father as he paints them and spirals downward into a living hell
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the escalators which represent both a would-be trip back up out of the depths
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would you really want a laundromat in your living room?
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look at the scenic parking lot
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This dude was so spun out that he painted big ol zombies even in his bathroom, to torture himself? This girl looks like she’s in bad shape!
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Finally we see the townspeople at the Ralph’s. I like that they are at a Ralph’s because we don’t have them in Georgia, and The Dude in The Big Lebowski had a Ralph’s card he tried to use for ID, but even the Dude wouldn’t have done this at Ralph’s
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Yep, that’s what they do when they can’t get people, the other other white meat.
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And finally about 20 minutes from the end of the movie, her father shows back up, and he has some ‘splaining to do, before he tries to eat her. He even paints himself in his agony after she fights him off.
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He is blue, like a Celt going into battle to fight his new urge to kill his daughter. That’s not blood behind him, it’s paint.

The explanation is not as good as the visuals, but Arletty is interestingly doomed to paint all the time in reaction to the trauma just like her dad. But at least she’s safe in an insane asylum!

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