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Satanya (Karen Kadler) comes to Hell's Gate because she has killed
herself. But Satan (Lon Chaney jr) has pity with the woman (or so he says)
and promises her that she can stay out of Hell as long as she does his
bidding and delivers objects to earth that will in turn send their
recipients (or at least someone) to Hell for good.
- The first object is a camera that goes to a cynical and promiscuous
photographer, Donald Powell (John Crawford), who just takes a week of
fashion photography to photograph some art. Among other things, he takes a
picture of a farmhouse, out of which then exits a woman. He tries to chat
her up, but she doesn't seem to notice him. Finally at a quiet spot, he
rapes and kills her ...
Back home, he is more tense than ever, while his agent has gotten him,
a show at a gallery ... and wouldn't you know it, the photo of the
farmhouse is to be the centerpiece of the exhibition.
In shock, Donald tears the photo off the wall and takes it back home -
but at home, he suddenly sees the woman he has raped and killed, appear on
the photo, first only as a small figure in the back, but soon she seems to
be coming ever closer to the camera, until she finally fills the picture.
In shock, Donald tears apart the picture, and at exactly this moment, the
woman appears in his appartment for real ... and he dies from shock.
- The second object is a pick, used by a miner to open a shaft to a
woman frozen in solid ice. Soon, a gang of scientists take the woman in
ice to a museum, with two of them, Olsen and Seastrom, fighting over who
will be responsible for the woman in ice. But eventually, Olsen, being an
anthropologist, wins out over Seastrom, much to Seastrom's dismay, since
he has fallen in love with the woman in ice (and even buys her cloths). So
one fine day, Seastrom kills Olsen and freezes him solid in an iceblock.
Then he begins to thaw the woman, who really seems to be alive ... but
then she drowns inside her iceblock from the melting water (obviously this
iceblock melts from the inside to the outside). But at the same time the
iceblock Olsen was frozen in also melts ... and when the police, looking
for Dr Olsen, arrives, they find
Seastrom, obviously gone mad, with the dead Olsen ...
- The third object is a crystal ball, and the story has to do with John
Radian (Michael Hinn), Satanya's ex-lover and the very cause for her
suicide. Radian seems to have an unfounded fear of a certain house he
dreams about every night (and always wakes up screaming). So his
psychiatrist advices him to enter the house, and so Radian does, only to
find a fortune teller inside who tells him that the same night, at
midnight, he will be killed, and he will be killed by her. Radian decides
to not give the woman the chance to kill him, so he stays with her to
watch her every move so she can't surprise him. Still the closer it gets
to midnight, the more nervous he gets, until he picks one of the fortune
tellers knives and stabs her dead, just before midnight. Then he flees the
building, but a statue of the fortune teller, positioned over her door as
an advertisment, suddenly falls down on him and strikes him dead ...
When the police arrives, the building turns out to have been abandoned
for years and the fortune teller Radian kiled was probably only a figment
of his imagination.
... when Radian comes down to earth, Satan immediately recruits him as
a messenger as well, because for his next assignement he needs a real life
couple: Radian and Satanya have to deliver the formula for a 500 megaton
atom bomb, to finally blow the earth to Kindgom Come ...
The Devil's Messenger is actually 3 episodes of the
American-Swedish TV-series 13 Demon Street cobbled
together, with Lon Chaney jr and Karen Kadler as Satan and Satanya (what a
great, silly name) only appearing in the framing story. Reportedly, the
series as such never aired on television.
The film itself is by no means good (which probably
goes for the whole series), but if you do like slightly trashy horror,
it's a so-so anthology film, it has its ok moments, it
has its dull moments, but most important of all, it does have its
unintentionally funny moments as well. And the not too well written
stories are all mercifully short. And
you can see Lon Chaney jr probably at the height of his alcoholism (at
least he looks it), but still in full command of his dark but soothing voice.