Welcome to a new, Halloween-centric feature, trick 'r treaters! The Arrow in the Head staff (along with some special guests) will be recommending obscure fright flicks throughout the month of October, hopefully enhancing your "31 Days of Horror"! Welcome to UNSEEN HALLOWEEN! (See previous entries HERE!)
PLOT: Smoking hot model Alison Parker (Cristina Raines) moves into a creepy apartment in New York that is more than meets the eye in terms of the shite that is going down in there. All I’ll say!
LOWDOWN: After THE EXORCIST came out and KILLED the Box Office in 1973, a slew of Beelzebub related flicks were pumped out, hoping to catch that same lightning in a bottle. Most of them flopped and were forgotten but somehow THE SENTINEL stood the test of time and became a cult classic. I personally have been hearing the "title" for eons and didn't know anything else about the film beyond that. After hearing about it AGAIN via social media recently (Scream Factory recently released a Blu Ray of it) I decided to finally seek out this little ditty and give it a whirl. And yeah, I now know why it's a cult classic. Talk about a wild ride! Based on Jeffrey Konvitz’s (who also co wrote the screenplay with director Michael Winner) 1974 best-selling novel of the same name THE SENTINEL started off with a familiar set-up (hot chick moves into new place – sees odd things - hears bumps in the night) and then decided to go buck nuts with it all.
Big fan of that nighty right here!
I'm talking about wacky neighbors (wait till you see Beverly D’Angelo decide to aggressively masturbate in front of our lead gal out of the freaking blue - creepy yet arousing), vicious kills (with Special Effects by legend Dick Smith) an overall perverted streak, a horde of freaks of nature (Winner used real life deformed peeps in the film, much to dismay of the PC crowd at the time) and a spooky white eyed figure that popped out here and there. This flick was a f-ing madhouse. Plot wise, I gotta hand it to the movie, for a while there, I had ZERO idea as to where it was going, which is always a big plus for me.
A couple of twists took me aback and the WHO and the WHY behind the lunacy on hand wound being more original than your average genre flick. Moreover, the cast was stand out! Ava Gardner, AITH fav Chris Sarandon, Burgess Meredith (cut me Mick), John Carradine and Jeff Goldblum were all in the house! Even Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger surfaced in tiny roles! The former nodded and smiled for the most part while the latter showed up at the end.
Trust me, she's quite the guitar player!
Now granted it definitely had some pacing issues, director Winner is better at doing action (like Death Wish, Death Wish 3 or The Mechanic) than horror in my useless opinion (some of his choices were flat). The acting was off in moments as well but on the whole, it`s hard not fall in love with something that is this freaking bold and off the wall! A great movie to watch at the BEGINNING of one's Halloween movie night with a drink in a hand and pals around! You can definitely crack jokes during the slower moments and you'll spit out all kinds of WTF when the horror and sexually charged shenanigans will kick in! Fun stuff!
BEST GORE BIT: I guess the "dude gets his nose sliced off" bit would be the stand-out gore moment. I felt that one!
DRINKING GAME: Knock back a shot every time our lead chica has a befuddled look on her face. You'll be wasted and talking jibberrish in no time!
WHERE CAN YOU FIND IT?: You can now find the film on Blu-Ray! Get it below!