The Devil’s Messenger – Sweden/USA, 1961

The Devil’s Messenger is a 1961 anthology horror film combining three episodes of the 1959 Swedish television series 13 Demon Street directed by Curt Siodmak (Donovan’s BrainThe Wolf Man) and written by Leo Guild. 

Herbert L. Strock (The Crawling Hand; Blood of Dracula; I Was a Teenage Frankenstein) directed the footage featuring Lon Chaney Jr., Karen Kadler and Michael Hinn.

With the assistance of his reluctant yet seductive subject, Satanya (Karen Kadler), Satan (Lon Chaney Jr.) attempts to recruit new people to join him in Hell.

Satanya targets a sex-obsessed photographer, a scientist who discovers a woman frozen in ice, and the man who drove her to commit suicide. Ultimately, Satan’s plan is to blow up the planet with nuclear bombs…

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Reviews:

“The emphasis is on the weaknesses that already exist in the victim’s characters, and the inevitability with which those weaknesses lead them to their doom. There are no stunning surprises, but the atmosphere of moral degeneracy, the very dark tone, and Lon Chaney’s outrageous performance make it an entertaining enough way to spend 70 minutes…” Cult Movie Reviews

“All three episodes are brisk and exciting, although somewhat poorly shot […] These stories fall into the familiar Twilight Zone/Tales from the Crypt format, but they work this format skillfully. The unknown actors show vigor and seriousness. The music is fierce. And – best of all – they are thematically linked.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

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[Spoiler] “The end of the movie is particularly great, as Chaney starts talking to “us” (that is, the presumed audience) and then nukes the entire world for some reason. We see that one house from the nuclear blast stock footage get blown apart for the 80 millionth time, and then the movie just ends. Kind of awesome.” Brian W. Collins, Horror Movie a Day

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“The individual episodes here aren’t bad, but they don’t exactly sparkle, either. The first one is probably the best; it involves a photographer who finds himself haunted by one of his photographs after he commits a rape/murder. The second starts well (a woman is found frozen alive in a block of ice for 5000 years), but ends lamely, and the third (about a man discovering his destiny in a dilapidated old building) is just average.” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

See pressbook at Zombos’ Closet

Choice dialogue:

Satan: “Love is such a stupid emotion.”

Dr. Ben Seastrom: “What is time but a conception of man?”

Main cast:

Lon Chaney Jr., Karen Kadler, Michael Hinn, Ralph Brown, John Crawford, Bert Johnson, Frank Taylor, Chalmers Goodlin, Gunnel Broström, Sara Harts, Jan Blomberg,  Inga Botorp, Eve Hossner.

Filming locations:

Stockholm, Stockholms län, Sweden

Wikipedia | IMDb

Image credits: The Last Drive-In | Zombos’ Closet

One Comment on “The Devil’s Messenger – Sweden/USA, 1961”

  1. A couple of episodes of 13 Demon Street popped up on some old Something Weird DVDs, one of them being the lady in ice installment. Not very impressive, but the premise wasn’t bad. Chaney was man condemned to spend eternity at the title house, until someone on Earth committed a sin worse than what his unspoken one was.

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