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The Sentinel
Hexensabbat

USA 1977
produced by
Jeffrey Konvitz, Michael Winner for Universal
directed by Michael Winner
starring Cristina Raines, Chris Sarandon, Arthur Kennedy, John Carradine, Martin Balsam, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Deborah Raffin, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Jerry Orbach, Beverly D'Angelo, Hank Garrett, Robert Gerringer, Nana Visitor (as Nana Tucker), Tom Berenger, William Hickey, Gary Allen, Tresa Hughes, Kate Harrington, Jane Hoffman, Elaine Shore, Sam Gray, Reid Shelton, Fred Suthman, Lucie Lancaster, Anthony Holland, Jeff Goldblum, Zane Lasky, Mady Kaplan (as Mady Heflin), Diane Stilwell, Ron McLarty
screenplay by Jeffrey Konvits, Michael Winner, based on a novel by Michael Konvits, music by Gil Melle, special visual effects by Albert Whitlock

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Alison (Cristina Raines) is not only a successful model who has a lawyer boyfriend, Michael (Chris Sarandon), who honestly cares for her, and a new, charming appartment - she is also a deeply troubled woman, who made a suicide attempt after she caught her father (Fred Stuthman) in bed with two women and neither of them her mother (Lucie Lancaster), and despite she loves Michael dearly, she always has to push him back because she needs space to breath ... and she has fainting spells.

Eventually, too, she starts to be annoyed by her neighbours, first and foremost Mr Chazen (Burgess Meredith), but when she complyins about this to the realtor (Ava Gardner), she tells her there are no neighbours, safe for an old and blind priest (John Carradine) who sits by the window all day and does virtually nothing else - and to prove this, the realtor even leads Alison through the empty appartments of the building.

Then Alison is visited by her now dead father, and somehow she stabs him, then runs through the streets in shock until the police picks her up - but they can't find a trace of anyone who has been stabbed, be it her father or anyone else, and they start to think she's a mental case - all but one over-eager detective (Eli Wallach) and his sidekick (Christopher Walken), who actually suspect Michael of wanting to drive her insane, as they also suspect him of having murdered his previous wife.

Michael though really cares for Alison, and he tries to help her uncover the mystery as he does not think she is crazy, and somehow he links everything to some church secret that has to do with the priest living in Alison's appartment building, and also with another priest, Father Franchino (Arthur Kennedy), who seems to follow her around. And when Michael gets his hands on some secret church files, his suspicions are confirmed: It seems that the blind priest is guarding a gate to hell, and he is to be succeeded by Alison ... that very night.

Michael tries to do everything to keep Alison from spending the night in the appartment building (since he thinks that will save her for good) and tries to put an end to the sinister goings-on in the appartment building on his own, but he fails on both accounts (and hey, how is a lawyer ever going to resolve the war between good and evil in the first place).

Michael meets his end at the hands of the hordes of hell, and Alison shows up in her appartment building after all, being menaced by the hordes of hell, who are only fought back when the blind priest and Father Franchino arrive on the scene ... and they make Alison the blind priest's successor in the end, and for the next I-don't-know-how-many-years she will sit in front of the priest's window, her eyes blinded of course ...

 

On close inspection, the plot of this horror-mystery might not make all that much sense, but it's filled with weird plottwists and bizarre sequences aplenty to keep one from caring too much about the storyline anyways, and thanks to an uneasy atmosphere tht permeates the film it works perfectly well as a shocker a bit in the vein of The Exorcist. Truth to be told, The Sentinel is no bona fide classic, it's too pulpy in too many places to be, but it's fine and enjoyable horror entertainment.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD