HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Sentinel, The Gates Of Hell
Year: 1977
Director: Michael Winner
Stars: Chris Sarandon, Cristina Raines, Martin Balsam, John Carradine, José Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Arthur Kennedy, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Deborah Raffin, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Jerry Orbach, Beverly D'Angelo, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Berenger
Genre: Horror, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Alison Parker (Cristina Raines) is a top fashion model who appears in television advertisements, about as far away from the world of the supernatural as you can get. However, as a sect of the Catholic church gathers in Northern Italy to discuss an upcoming crisis, Alison and her boyfriend Michael Lerman (Chris Sarandon) are working out their relationship. They have lived together for two years and Michael wishes to get married, but she is looking for more independence and opts to look for a place to live on her own as he looks for somewhere they can share. She gets her way, but her choice is a bad one...

Coming in the wake of the Satanic horror films that were kicked off in popularity by the success of Rosemary's Baby, The Sentinel was nothing if not unoriginal, and very much in the shadow of the likes of The Exorcist and The Omen. Not that writer-producer-director-editor Michael Winner was bothered about that, all he wanted to do was thrill the audience, but in his hands it was clear he lacked a real flair for the genre, often mistaking sensationalism and disgust for genuine chills, leaving an absurd and uncertain impression in the viewer.

In fact, although the plot, based on Jeffrey Konvitz's novel, makes little sense on close examination, if you cannot work out where it's all heading after the first twenty minutes then you may be among the few for whom this film holds real surprises. Alison finds her new, furnished apartment in a Brooklyn building and moves in, a little worried about the figure who sits by the top floor window staring out, though she is reassured by the estate agent he is a blind priest. Once she settles in, she discovers her neighbours are somewhat, shall we say, eccentric, and begins to be, well, unsettled.

Poor old Alison hasn't had a happy upbringing as we see in a bizarre flashback where, as a teenager, she returned home unexpectedly to stumble in on her aged father romping with two prostitutes, which landed her in hospital after trying to commit suicide with the shock. This is significant in that she has sinned against God Almighty, yet there might be a way to save her soul if she's lucky. Or unlucky. You can practically see Winner off-camera waggling his eyebrows at every significant or over the top sequence, such is the heavy hand he brings to the film.

Also notable is the number of guest stars Winner drafted in, probably for a day or two as with the Amicus horror anthologies, so here and there you get Ava Gardner as the estate agent, Martin Balsam as a professor (in a scene lasting about a minute), José Ferrer as a priest and up and coming talent like Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum in small roles. Star spotting may take your mind off the encroaching boredom as uninteresting Alison and her equally flat boyfriend work their way towards the big reveal. That big reveal caused controversy for using people with actual disfigurements and handicaps to represent the demons, merely the topper to a series of bad taste moments, but really The Sentinel was not worth bothering about; it's a tacky cash-in, and only Burgess Meredith's gleeful villainy lifted the mood. Music by Gil Melle.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3255 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Winner  (1935 - 2013)

Opinionated British producer-director whose early comedies - You Must Be Joking, The Jokers, I'll Never Forget Whatsisname - were promising enough, but come the seventies he had settled into a pattern of overblown thrillers.

Of these, Death Wish was a huge hit, and Winner directed two similar sequels. Other films included horrors (The Nightcomers, The Sentinel), Westerns (Lawman, Chato's Land), thrillers (Scorpio, Dirty Weekend) and disastrous comedies (Bullseye!). Also a restaurant critic.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: