(Don Haldane, 1971)
The exceptional talkiness of this occult potboiler is redeemed by its surprising literacy. Amounting to a “Faust” retooled to the Toronto art scene of 1971, it affords viewers the pleasure of seeing future Nabob pitch-man “Jay” (Michael J.) Reynolds play a cranky hippie artist who gets in on a virgin sacrifice so as to rescue his muse from dying reincarnate Jack Creley. Nowhere near as action-packed as you might hope, but the writing is so precise, the small cast of performers so committed and so engaging, that the talk ends up managing your rhythms right down with it, settling into a slow unnerving creep that is broken up effectively by a particularly bloodthirsty black cat. And even if the relentless prattle about ancient Greek cults and eternal life doesn’t sound like your thing, in fact it runs alongside a fairly detailed and mordant examination of the economy and work life of the artist, allowing for just enough grimly ironic subtext to get you through the heavy stuff.