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The Sentinel Reviews

Although it boasts an incredible cast featuring actors ranging in age and experience from John Carradine and Burgess Meredith to Christopher Walken and Beverly D'Angelo, THE SENTINEL is a truly repulsive film. Raines is a top-flight New York City fashion model who takes a breather from her relationship with her fiance, Sarandon, and moves into a gorgeous brownstone in Brooklyn Heights. She soon discovers that her neighbors are more than a little strange. There is a lesbian couple (Miles and D'Angelo), an eccentric and nosy old man (Meredith), and a blind priest (Carradine) upstairs who always seems to be standing guard. Well, it doesn't take long before the weirdness begins, and Raines eventually learns that the apartment building is the doorway to hell and the blind priest is the sentinel assigned to guard it. Furthermore, she discovers that she is destined to replace the priest and become the new sentinel. Although the script has potential, director Winner performs his usual hack job on the material--making the whole thing rather cheap and repugnant. In the climax, the horribly deformed and grotesque denizens of hell come forth; it was later revealed that the creatures were a mix of Dick Smith's special makeup and actual deformed people Winner had recruited from freak shows and hospitals. Whereas Tod Browning showed the warm humanity of such people in FREAKS (1932), Winner cruelly exploits their handicaps for the purpose of repulsing his audience. This alone makes the film detestable.