Friday, October 23, 2009
The Devil's Messenger
Although The Devil’s Messenger was released in theaters it was actually 3 episodes of a failed Swedish anthology television series called “13 Demon Street”. An aging Lon Chaney, bearing a striking resemblance to my paternal grandfather, played the Devil and he was added as a wraparound to these 3 random stories. In the first story a photographer is haunted by one of his photographs after he rapes and murders a woman. In the second story a 50,000 year-old woman is found in a block of ice and she becomes the obsession of a scientist. In the final tale a psychic tells a man that he will die by her hands by midnight.
Although the stories in The Devil’s Messenger have their charm, the real treat is seeing Lon Chaney pulled out of the mothballs in an attempt to add some respect to the whole affair. The tales themselves aspire to have the gravitas of the Twilight Zone but ultimately fail. The first 2 stories are engrossing but the third is a 20 minute tale that could be told in 5. Chaney has never looked worse and the “hell” set looks like it was assembled with cardboard and scotch tape. It continues to amaze me that there has never been another good anthology series since The Twilight Zone, although The Outer Limits is a guilty pleasure.