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Film / The Devil's Messenger

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The Devil's Messenger is a 1961 anthology horror film combining 3 episodes of the 1959 B&W Swedish television series 13 Demon Street with some new scenes featuring Lon Chaney Jr., Karen Kadler and Michael Hinn.

Satan enlists the help of a suicide victim in Hell to lure unsuspecting earthly victims to their eternal doom. Contains three somewhat unrelated Twilight Zone-esque stories (a photographer goes insane after raping a mysterious girl in the snow, a 50,000 year-old woman found frozen in an ice field is fought over by scientists, and a man's death is foretold in dreams).

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Tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: Former lovers Satanya and John.
  • Compilation Movie: Combines 3 episodes of the 1959 B&W Swedish television series 13 Demon Street with some new scenes featuring Lon Chaney Jr., Karen Kadler and Michael Hinn.
  • Death by Falling Over: In "The Girl in the Glacier", Dr. Seastrom hits Dr. Olsen in the cold room, and Olsen hits his head on a protrusion as he falls. It is not clear if Olsen is dead at this point or just unconscious, but Seastrom then finishes the job by dousing him in freezing liquid.
  • Death by Looking Up: In "Condemned in Crystal", John Radian is kneeling over Madame Germaine's body when the bust of her on the wall—damaged in their fight—falls. He looks up and is crushed by it.
  • Devil's Job Offer: Satanya arrives in Hell having committed suicide, and Satan offers her a job as his messenger: delivering objects to mortals on Earth that will trigger their dooms.
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  • Did Not Think This Through: In "The Girl in the Glacier", Dr. Seastrom is attempting to thaw Human Popsicle Angelica from her block of ice. Too late he realises that the inside of the block is melting faster than the outside and that she is going to drown before he can get her out.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In "Condemned in Crystal", John Radian is plagued by a recurring dream. His psychiatrist encourages him to confront the dream by visiting the building where the dream is set. However, as he arrives on the street where the building is located, the events of the dream start to play out for real.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Satan rules over one, although most of the scenes in Hell take place in the overcrowded waiting room.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: At the end of the film, Satan points directly at the camera while saying how the mortals will destroy the world with the formula Satanya and John will deliver.
  • Framing Device: The stories are linked by Satan employing Satanya as his messenger and dispatching her to Earth.
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: In "The Photograph", the scream of the woman Donald rapes and murders is shown triggering an avalanche.note 
  • Human Popsicle: In "The Girl in the Glacier", scientists discover a 50,000 year old woman frozen inside a glacier.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: The line of damned souls waiting admission indicates that people arrive in Hell wearing whatever they were wearing when they died.
  • Job Title
  • Kill It with Ice: In "The Girl in the Glacier", Dr. Seastrom knocks Dr. Olsen to floor and possibly kills him during an argument in the cold room. He then makes sure of the job by opening a pipe and dousing Olsen in freezing liquid.
  • Love Before First Sight: In "The Girl in the Glacier", Dr. Seastrom falls in love with a girl inside a block of ice.
  • No Name Given: The girl Donald rapes and murders in "The Photograph" is not named: she is credited as 'Girl in Photograph'. As no one except Donald ever interacts with her, or can even see her image, it is possible she may only exist in Donald's tormented mind.
  • Pretty in Mink: In "The Photograph", Dixie is wearing a fur coat when she arrives at Donald's apartment in an attempt to win him back. However, he drives her away because he is obsessed with the photograph that is trying to kill him (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Railing Kill: In "Condemned in Crystal", John Radian stabs Madame Germaine and she staggers through the railing on the landing and plummets into the lobby.
  • Reincarnation Romance: In "The Girl in the Glacier", Dr. Seastrom believes that he and 'Angelica'—the Human Popsicle—were lovers in her time, and he died before their love had run its course. There is no evidence that this is anything other than a delusion of his unbalanced mind.
  • Spooky Photographs: In "The Photograph", Donald takes a photograph of the beautiful young woman he later rapes and murders. When he develops the photograph, he sees he her standing on the path in front of the house. However, anyone else who looks at it sees only the old farmhouse. Each time Donald studies the photo, the woman has moved further along the path towards, until her face fills the entire photo. He rips up the print, and the woman's body appears in his studio; lying in the same position that she was when he killed her. He examines the body, and it reaches out and strangles him. His agent finds Donald's body lying alone in the studio. When he examines the ripped up print, it contains nothing but an old farmhouse.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The central theme of "Condemned in Crystal". The fortune teller Madame Germaine tells John Radian that he is destined to die that night, and that she will be the one to kill him. Every action John takes to avoid his fate inevitably draws him closer to it; even killing Madame Germaine before she can kill him.


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