The Sentinel

Dir: Michael Winner
Starring: Christina Raines, Chris Sarandon, Burgess Meredith, Eli Wallach

Michael Winner comes in for a lot of flak, but I kinda like the films of his I've seen. This is another example, a horror movie with an all-star cast (even the unknowns are all-star: Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum and Tom Berenger all get barely-speaking roles. Goldblum, amusingly, even gets dubbed!) which mushes together genuine sideshow mutants, cannibalistic lesbians in leotards and nose violence on zombie fathers, all in an apartment block which just happens to be a gateway to hell. All this and John Carradine as a blind priest - who could want more? Well, Cristina Raines makes a fine fashion model but her character is way too dumb to be a heroine, staying in her flat long after any sensible person would have run, screaming. Hey, I guess cheap accomodation is hard to find in New York. Sarandon, as her boyfriend, is more pro-active, trying to find out what the hell (hohoho!) is going on, and Meredith is good as a creepily fey neighbour. It swings wildly between understated and excessive, with Albert Whitlock's effects more than up to the latter. You're never quite sure whether all the weirdness is just in the heroine's mind, at least, up until a finale, reminiscent of Tod Browning's classic horror film, where out come the Freaks. A surprisingly effective mix of schlock and horror.


The eyes have it!
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