Just imagine for a moment, if you will...imagine what would've resulted if Irwin Allen (director of such big budget, celebrity-riddled movies such as The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno) had this thought on some fine day long ago: "What if I, Irwin Allen, were to make a movie that is like a celebrity-riddled jambalaya flavored with Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist and Freaks? Whatever would that movie be like? Mmm...jambalaya is cajun satisfaction.". Now don't get your hopes up, because to my knowledge, Mr. Allen never asked himself any such thing (nor do I know whether or not he liked jambalaya). If he had asked himself, however, and then he had, you know, made the movie, it might have turned out alot like the 1977 flick The Sentinel.
Here's the skinny, all brief-like because there's so much in the movie that me typing all the details would make my fingertips catch on fire and you reading all the details would make your eyes shrivel up and fall out:
Magazine cover girl Alison Parker (Cristina Raines) moves into a luxurious-yet-mysteriously-cheap Brooklyn brownstone, meets some wacky neighbors, and pays for her sin of attempted suicide by having to sit watch at the gateway to Hell.
What was that? Did you say..."Meh. Sounds OK"? Well, take it back, because this movie is sometimes cheesy, sometimes scary, and all the time over the top! And oh, honey, the celebrities...we're talking mega-watt starpower, baby! Check out this roster and see if you still say "meh". You get:
-a mustachioed Chris Sarandon
-a leotard-clad Sylvia Miles (*shudder*)
-a mustachioed Jerry Orbach
-a leotard-clad Beverly D'Angelo
It's like Horror Movie of the Network Stars or something! That list alone should be enough to get you watching, but if it's not, then how about this:
Yes, it's a cat in a party hat, and no, I can't explain it here. Still not enough? OK...how about if I tell you that Alison's first suicide attempt was due to her walking in on her naked elderly father cavorting with two large naked ladies? And they were all feeding each other cake and were thus covered in frosting? And we see it all in a flashback! What? Now you don't want to watch it? Hmm. But you MUST. There's a few scenes ya just need to SEE, and I don't want to spoil 'em here.
I'm tellin' ya. If you like supernatural thrillers from the 70's, you'll like this movie. If you like the idea of seeing Beverly D'Angelo make Alison extremely uncomfortable by masturbating through her leotard during a coffee visit, you'll like this movie. If you like cats in party hats, you'll like this movie. So watch it already! And then go read the book it's based on, The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz. And then read the sequel, The Guardian.
What a find (thanks, Rachael!)! I give this movie 8 out of 10 Beverly D'Angelo stinkfingers!