Directed by Albert Lewin and René Cardona • 1957 • United States, Mexico
Starring Steve Forrest, Liliane Montevecchi, Eduardo Noriega
Albert Lewin (PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN) codirects this singularly strange and fascinating philosophical horror film. Spectacularly shot on location in Mexico in vivid, hallucinatory color, THE LIVING IDOL traces the terror that is unleashed when an archaeologist (James Robertson Justice) excavates an ancient Mayan idol of a jaguar—a totem of a centuries-old human sacrifice that may be ready to claim its next victim. Blending camp exotica with ruminations on mythology, reincarnation, and the hypocrisies of modern “civilization,” Lewin crafts a delirious, should-be cult classic that, like the mythic statue at its center, exerts a strange power.