Another day, another movie starring a legend of Hollywood. It has been a while since I have watched a movie starring Lon Chaney Jr. Actually, it has been almost two years since I have watched a movie he was in, that being The Cyclops. Of course, everyone is mostly familiar with him being The Wolf Man so it is nice to see him in other roles. Today’s movie is rather interesting because it is actually an anthology of episodes from a Swedish TV series called 13 Demon Street. Movies like these can be a bit hit or miss so let’s see how this one does as I watch The Devil’s Messenger.
The plot: Satan is sending the various souls to Hell when he comes across a woman named Satanya, who had committed suicide. Satan decides to offer Satanya a deal to make her experience more bearable in exchange for her going back to Earth and collecting some more souls for him.
Story 1 – Don Powell is a photographer who enjoys taking pictures of models while trying to hook up with them. His agent, Charlie, suggest to Don that he take a vacation and Don heads up to the northern country side. Walking along through the snow, Don takes a picture of a man and his horse, then takes a picture of a house. As he finishes taking the picture of the house, a woman walks outside and right past Don, ignoring his attempts to talk to her. Don follows after the woman and ends up killing her, then quickly leaves and heads back home. As Don develops the pictures he took, Charlie shows up and says that he arranged for a magazine to do a profile piece on Don, but Don doesn’t seem happy. Later, Don goes to an exhibit of his pictures and sees the one of the house there and while Don and the magazine editor praise the picture, Don gets upset as he sees the woman standing in the doorway of the house. Grabbing the picture and taking it back to his house, Don looks at it again and notices the woman has gotten closer in the picture. Dixie, one of Don’s models, shows up and attempts to seduce Don but he ends up turning her away and she comments that his vacation has changed him. As the woman in the picture continues to get closer in the frame, Don meets with Charlie and tries to tell him what is going on but Charlie doesn’t believe him. Don returns back to his studio and sees the woman he killed lying on the photo set and approaches her. When Charlie arrives at the studio, he finds Don has died of a heart attack and he finds the picture of the house ripped in half. As he puts the two pieces together, the woman is nowhere to be seen.
Satanya approaches Satan and tells him that Don’s soul is on his way, then complains about how he ruins people’s lives. Satan responds by telling her that people ruin their own lives, before showing her her next assignment.
Story 2 – Some miners are working on a tunnel when they discover a giant block of ice containing a woman buried in the ground. The block of ice is transported to the museum, where scientist argue over how to get her out of the ice and who should be in charge the project. Dr. Ben Seastrom becomes infatuated with the girl and wants to take charge of the project but the head of the museum overrules him and places Dr. Olsom in charge. When Seastrom is left alone with the girl, he begins talking to her and calls her Angelica. Olsom enters the room and questions what Seastrom is doing and Seastrom ends up killing him and freezing his body. The next day, since Olsom is missing, Seastrom is placed in charge to the frozen girl. As he works on thawing out the girl, the frozen girl open’s her eyes and Seastrom remarks that he knew she was alive. Suddenly, he notices the area where the girl is has begun to fill with water and he realizes that she might drown. Meanwhile, an investigator arrives at the museum and tells the curator that Olsom was last seen heading to the museum but when the curator says that he never arrived as Seastrom said he was the only one there, they decide to head down to speak with him. Back in the ice room, Seastrom grabs a fire axe and begins chopping away at the ice to try and save the girl but watches as the chamber fills with water and refreezes. As the others enter the room, they see a portion of the ice fall apart and find that there is nothing left of the girl inside.
Satanya returns to Hell and approaches Satan, who tells her that he has come up with a rather diabolical act. He then tells Satanya that she will be going after John Radian, the man that drove her to commit suicide.
Story 3 – John Radian is speaking with a psychiatrist, Dr. Hume, about a recurring dream he has been having and the psychiatrist believes that John is afraid to face whatever the dream may show him. When he leaves the office, a woman walks by him, just like in his dream, and he decides to follow her. When he enters an alley, he approaches a door and, unlike in his dream, he opens it and heads inside. Inside, he finds a fortune teller, who reads his fortune and says that he will die before midnight. When John presses her for more information, she tells him that she will be the one to kill him, though she doesn’t know how or why, as she doesn’t know him. When he leaves, he encounters some men that remind him of aspects of the fortune tellers’ prediction, and he immediately tries calling Dr. Hume but he is out of his office. He goes to a police officer and asks to be arrested for the night but the officer refuses. John heads back to the fortune tellers’ place and decides to stay there until midnight, to prevent him for killing her. As the fortune teller goes to make some tea, John calls Dr. Hume and tells him what is going on and says if anything happens to him, that the fortune teller did it. As midnight approaches, John gets more and more agitated and ends up stabbing the fortune teller and pushing her off the ledge of the stairwell. As John goes to check on the body, the building starts to crumble and the figurehead shaped like the fortune teller falls on him and kills him. As the authorities arrive to deal with the body, Dr. Hume shows up and asks about the fortune teller, but is told that John’s body was the only one there.
Satanya escorts John to Satan and John wonders what he is doing there. Satan explains that Hell has become overcrowded and he needed two lovers to help him with his plan and gives them a formula. When Satanya asks what to do with it, he says that they need to deliver it to them (and points towards the camera/audience). He says that “they” will use the formula, which is the formula for a 500 megaton bomb, and scenes show explosions on the Earth and fires ravaging the cities.
This was an interesting concept but I think it could have been done better. The acting was ok, with Lon Chaney making an interesting Satan. The story portions that were taken from the TV show were pretty good and had a lot of suspense to them, but the dubbing at times was a bit off. The scenes with Satan and Satanya were a little odd and somewhat confusing, as they honestly seemed somewhat thrown together just to try and tie in the stories. The overall tone was pretty good and actually got me curious to watch the rest of the TV series, but that is a story for another time. Still, it’s worth watching at least once.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5