Oft-referenced (Ghostbusters, 1984; The ‘Burbs, 1989) but witless horror yarn presents an intriguing tale with all the subtlety and sense of mystery of a shovel to the cranium. Often the words “Michael” and “Winner” are deal breakers for me, and The Sentinel is beset by his innately trashy sensibility.
Here's an onanistic lesbian ballerina, just to prove I wasn't kidding.
They warned me about these Greenwich Village parties...
Cristina Raines' reaction to being cast in this film.
It’s not entirely lost – the final image of Alison, decrepit, blind, cocooned in a nun’s habit, retains some impact. But Alison is loaded down with comic book traumas; the flashback to schoolgirl Alison stumbling in on her father having an orgy, getting slapped around for her sins – he even tears off her crucifix necklace, so we get the point – and then making her first suicide attempt, is stupefyingly sensational. In the idiotic climax, John Carradine, to save the day, has to press his way through one of those hand-grabby free-for-alls that irresistibly calls Ed Wood to mind.
Snips and snails and puppy dog tails...
Only once does Winner’s vulgar bent pays off, in one sequence where Raines, scantily dressed in a nightie, armed with a carving knife, prowls her haunted house, encounters her dead father’s ghostly form and furiously stabs him – for this scene, at least, he captures some of the heady, morbid sexuality of underground gothic art.
Take warning, Kate Moss! This is where your coke-snorting, girl-kissing model lifestyle is leading you!