The history of horror is full of forgotten gems. This is especially true pre-1980 as the more reserved nature of the film industry meant that many darker or gorier pictures never saw widespread release. But, the dawn of easily accessible home media and streaming has people putting these forgotten films back in the spotlight. And right now, Reddit’s /r/horror subreddit is praising a late-70s horror classic.
It all started when /u/xxplodingboy posted a thread to /r/horror declaring that “The Sentinel (1977) is a very good horror movie that gets no love.” Other users quickly dived into the thread to agree with /u/xxplodingboy and show their love for the movie.
The Sentinel was directed by notorious English film director Michael Winner, the man behind the Death Wish franchise and the Peter Ustinov-led Poirot adaptations. The film follows Alison Parker, a neurotic fashion model who moves into an old house in Brooklyn. However, a few days after moving in, strange events happen, including Alison developing random illnesses and strange noises filling the apartment. On top of this, Alison’s neighbors are very odd. They include a blind priest and the elderly Charles Chazen. The latter throws a disturbing birthday party for his cat, a scene that several people in the thread reference while discussing the movie.
However, things get very strange when Alison complains to the landlord, only to be told that only Alison and the blind priest live in the building. A fact the landlord proves by showing Alison that the rooms she had seen people inside are actually empty. Alison’s boyfriend, believing that Alison is delusional, sends Brenner, a friend of his, to check the situation out. Things quickly unravel as Alison starts to see stranger and stranger things and learns the true history of both the apartment and her boyfriend.
Many in the thread praise the cast. It is easy to see why as The Sentinel features early appearances by many actors who would become big stars down the line, including Christopher Walken, Beverly D’Angelo, and even a very young Jeff Goldblum.
However, many point out that the film likely bombed for a reason, with several users arguing that Michael Winner, a director mostly known for his action films, wasn’t the best choice for this very surreal horror film.
Others also point out that some of the film’s elements are very insensitive and problematic when viewed through the modern lens. Specifically, it’s choice to cast disabled people as monsters.
The Sentinel is, without a doubt, a product of its time, especially as it pulls heavily from 1970s surrealist films. However, regardless of your opinion on how well the film holds up today, it is undoubtedly cool to see a group of people come together to praise lesser-known or overlooked cinema, as it helps people discover films they may love.