At The Movies With Angry Gorilla


The Sentinel

Once again, I found myself hanging around at home with my bunny pal, Edgar Esther Constabulary, snacking on various fruits, drinking copious amounts of whiskey, and needing to watch a film with Christopher Walken in it. (I have always loved him, mainly because we have similar indomitable fur issues.)  I was fortunate enough to run across the delightfully gross cult classic, The Sentinel, from 1977, and as if the primate gods were smiling rather than hurling poop from above, it even has a touch of Jeff Goldblum in it.  (I love him too, but for different reasons that you would not understand. I was young and I needed the money.)

The Sentinel stars Cristina Raines, who plays a young, tall, thin, gorgeous model and Chris Sarandon, who plays a lawyer who is boning the young, leggy, beautiful model, Cristina, but who was married to a woman who jumped off of a bridge and fell to her death, specifically because her husband was boning a young, ravishing, statuesque model with lovely porcelain like skin.  Sarandon and Raines are living together as lawyer and model, but Raines decides she wants to get a place of her own, so her realtor, played by the legendary, Ava Garner, shows her a super terrifying, old, huge, suspiciously under priced house/building place with a scary looking blind priest who lives on the top floor and just stares out his window all day at nothing in particular because he cannot see.  Obviously, she takes the place.

Promptly after moving in, Raines starts to meet her neighbors, who other than the aggressive public masturbation displays during tea time and cat surprise parties where they say, “black and white cat, black and white cake” repeatedly, seem pretty normal to her, apparently warranting no need for excessive concern on her part just yet.   Once Raines does get that subtle twinge of say, maybe stuff is a little crazy fucked around here, things start to escalate pretty quickly.  Let’s just say, if you like old naked men and lesbians who point and laugh a bunch and Beverly D’Angelo’s boobs, but you are not terribly attached to parakeets and cats and human faces looking like what you have grown somewhat accustom to them looking like, you won’t be disappointed.

When Gaines’ new living situation finally gets problematic enough for her (like the fact that all of her neighbors, with whom she has danced, dined, and celebrated cats, turn out to actually be dead murderers of themselves and others), she starts spending more time at her lawyer boyfriend’s place and expressing to him and a couple of detectives, one of whom is played by Christopher Walken (at last), all of the unpleasant bizarre crap she has been through in her new charming home (of Satan).  Sarandon mistrusts his girl’s stories at first, but after doing some researchy lawyer stuff at the library, he discovers some pretty freaky shit is about to go down in Gaine’s new home that may or may not be the passage way to the gates of hell and the living quarters of a bunch of not particularly attractive dead people and one gross blind priest.

Sarandon asks a friend to stay with Gaines while he goes to Satan’s house to try to fix everything, expressing his concern to the friend for Gaines’ safety and even her life, but the friend is throwing a party that night and has all of the little cakes and hats already so it cannot be canceled to shut down the gates of hell.   Luckily, thinking fast, Sarandon helpfully suggests, “Let her come to your party, she’ll love it.”  Against all odds, Gaines does not love the party because she feels like she might die and/or be perennially tortured; she decides to go and find her lawyer boyfriend at the awful terrible building to feel better.

The last bit of this film gets exceptionally nuts with no shortage of dead people, all suggesting that they go to hell and be together where everyone is really deformed and suicidal, dead lesbians eat parakeets and cats and your boyfriend’s face.  Don’t worry, it all works out in the end pretty much, except that every living soul who enters the evil house building is eternally doomed and the abominable, and the murderers, and the whoremongers, and the sorcerers, and the idolaters, and the liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  Well, good night.

I give this film one angry thumb up because my only complaint is that it did not have enough Christopher Walken and not nearly enough Jeff Goldblum and I am all out of whiskey and I just swallowed my gum.

angrythumbs up



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