4 out of 5 stars
Continuing my exploration into horror this month, I happened across another Chris Sarandon classic; this one somewhat forgotten to the general public. Unlike ‘Fright Night’ ‘The Sentinel’ hasn’t received a remake but remains a cult classic 1977 adaptation of the Jeffrey Konvitz novel. For such a bizarre film, innumerable stars of various eras, which include Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Beverley D’angelo, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, Ava Gardner, and many more can be found popping up in the most inconsequential of roles like some abstract symposium of Hollywood past, present and future.
After ‘Death Wish’ and ‘The Mechanic’ Michael Winner directed this contribution to the ‘satanic horror’ genre, with a film that is strange enough to stand apart from its peers. I’m not saying it is entirely unique, but ‘The Sentinel’ definitely possesses the haunting imagery and memorable scenery necessary to leave a pleasant aftertaste upon the cinematic pallet. The concept behind the plot is very simple; the Catholic Church uses ‘sentinels’ to guard the various gates to hell around the world and the film follows the coronation of a new sentinel for the Brooklyn gate. The movie makes a blatant statement about what is classified as desirable and undesirable, especially within the eyes of the church. As usual, there is the subtle hint that an epic battle is being waged between good and evil, although it isn’t as present in this film as in others. There are no priests brandishing crosses in the face of Satan, nor possessed children. Continue reading