Messiah of Evil (1973)
Sticking with the year of my birth, Messiah of Evil is a masterpiece in a different vein to Don’t Look Now. The mood is just as intense, but achieved through a series of impressive set pieces, a creepy seaside location, unsettling set designs, and a constant drip of respectable-looking citizens doing weird and unsettling things.
Arletty is looking for her artist father who’s gone missing from his home in the seaside town of Point Dune. She runs into Thom, who is interested in the legend of Point Dune’s blood moon, but is familiar with her father’s work and didn’t know that’s where he lived. He and his girlfriends, Toni and Laura, appear at Arletty’s father’s empty beach house because the townsfolk won’t rent the unconventional group a room. Going through her father’s increasingly morbid diaries, they try to understand the mystery of his disappearance as the danger from the oddly-behaving townsfolk grows.
A pickup truck has bodies in the back with eyes gouged out. An artist’s studio is painted with staring faces. Groups of suited people gather over bins in alleyways. People bleed from the eyes for no reason. The slightly sleazy Thom begins to care for Arletty, who might be succumbing to the town’s evil, and honestly, I can’t get enough of this vibe.