Satanya (Karen Kadler) is a suicide victim that finds herself standing before the portal to hell. Working at a desk checking people in is Satan (Lon Chaney Jr.). Satan tells her that because she was a suicide she may be able to avoid going to hell. To do so she must go back to Earth and perform three separate tasks. In each task she will provide someone with something that will be instrumental in sending these individuals to hell. Once the tasks are done she can stand before a tribunal to see if they will allow her to avoid hell.
In her first task she is to give a special camera to photographer and womanizer, Donald Powell (John Crawford). Powell goes on vacation with the camera and takes pictures of various images. One picture is of an old farmhouse with a walkway in front. After he takes the picture a woman (Eve Hossner) walks out of the house and past him. He chases the woman, rapes and kills her. Back home he tries to destroy the picture of the farmhouse but it keeps showing up and begins to haunt him. Even though she was never in the original picture, each time he looks at it the woman shows in the picture coming closer and closer to him.
In her second task Satanya is to deliver a pickaxe. While digging a tunnel miners find the body of a 5,000 year old woman. Scientist Dr. Ben Seastrom (Frank Taylor) becomes obsessed with the frozen woman. He calls her Angelica (Sara Harts). He believes she is alive and that he is in love with her. He will kill for her and does.
Satanya hasn’t been happy delivering items that drive people to do evil things. Satan tempts her with his third item. With it she can get even with John Radian (Michael Hinn), the man that she loved who drove her to suicide. She is to deliver a crystal ball to Madam Germaine (Gunnel Brostrom). With it John will learn that his immediate future is death.
“The Devil’s Messenger” was released in 1962. It is a portmanteau style anthology and a compilation film consisting of three stories. "The Photograph", "The Girl in the Glacier" and "Condemned in Crystal". All three stories were directed by Curt Siodmak.
The stories are not exactly great. Some of that could be because of the editing. The highlight is actually Lon Chaney’s overacting. It is, however, a little on the obscure side. The only one that has a somewhat decent plot is “The Photograph”. Possibly because it is an updated telling of M.R. James’ story “The Mezzotint”. Still they’re not horrible, just not very interesting.
The stories are edited from three separate episodes of the Swedish/U.S. television series “13 Demon Street” that were aired in 1959. The stories were shot in English but were originally aired with Swedish subtitles. The blanket story of Lon Chaney as Satan was new film to replace the original footage where he hosted the television show. Chaney was brought to Sweden to do the new footage.
“13 Demon Street” was a weekly television series similar to the format of “The Twilight Zone”. Each week was a new and separate horror story. The series aired between 1959 and 1960 in American syndication. Thirteen 25-minute episodes were produced. The shows were made in Sweden but were in English. Lon Chaney Jr. was the host. He introducing each episode at his home at 13 Demon Street, which was some kind of purgatory. Chaney was supposedly condemned for some unstated crime and he presented each story as a representation of other crimes that were worse.
The series was originated by Curt Siodmak, who also wrote some of the scripts and directed several episodes.