|This is poster art for another movie, but I wanted SOME image!|
MYSTERIOUS TWO (1979/1982 - color)
The short version: “An enigmatic man and woman promise some vague enlightenment for their cult-like followers, but what are they really up to?”
A young Robert Englund plays a good guy! He’s a deputy in a small desert town. I found that worth noting.
Mysterious Two was a failed pilot for a series that never materialized. That’s too bad because, while well-produced, the pilot leaves a lot of mystery to it’s titular Two. (Not only did it not go to series, but the release was held back for three years!)
Okay, there’s this pair of enigmatic characters, "He" and "She", who are spreading some sort of gospel which is vague on details but promises enlightenment. The exact nature of these two is never made clear, but there are hints that they’re supposed to be from another planet. They travel the country and preach about their promised enlightenment, gathering together followers who are eager to join in some sort of journey (to the stars?). He and She promise a revival-type meeting where the fortunate ones will be chosen and taken away.
Eager to join He and She, families and individuals have abandoned their lives and sold their possessions. A huge crowd gathers in the appointed location, filled with both followers and skeptics.
The authorities are convinced He and She are con artists.
A reporter believes so too, but has a hunch they’re even more dangerous.
A young flute-player comes to the gathering to find his girlfriend, who just up and left him to be with He and She.
There’s a lot of mysterious stuff going on, and we can’t tell if He and She are con artists, Martians, or false prophets, but the pair shows up in a tent filled with light and invite Those Who Are Chosen to leave with them. The next day, the left-over crowd wakes to find they had all blacked out during the night. The tent is now gone, and so are the people who went inside, including the reporter, and the flute-player and his girl.
Don’t read further if you wish to see the film. While largely without resolution, it is pretty intriguing should you wish to give it a go.
The Chosen Ones find themselves on a school bus headed into the desert. When the bus breaks down, the stranded people begin to bicker, until He and She lead them to an abandoned missile site over the hill. There, the people are herded into separate buildings and made to wait for some sort of cleansing process. This involves green light, but we’re not let in on much else.
In a disturbing subplot, He and She arrive to help a pregnant woman and take her away. When she turns up later, she’s no longer pregnant and has no memory of being so! Even creepier, the others have forgotten her condition as well! The flute-player, not totally committed to He and She to begin with, gets antsy and tries to find help.
Although held back a couple of times, our hero does manage to escape and returns with the police. To his horror, upon returning to the missile site, he finds everyone has vanished! Determined to uncover the truth and retrieve his girl, the guy follows He and She across the country with the intentions of shutting them down.
Again, things are left pretty open-ended, and we never uncover the mystery of the Two, yet the film is still thought-provoking and well-made. I’d say it’s worth a look. While a fictional story, it actually has a basis in then-recent events. The film is based on real cult movements that spread across the country in the 70′s and early 80′s, a time when the occult and the paranormal were in vogue. Among the inspirations, a flying saucer cult that eventually morphed into the Heaven’s Gate cult which committed mass suicide before the turn of the century.
That lends a disturbing reality to the events we see unfold, despite the touches of the fantastic that give rise to more questions than answers. Certainly the film can’t be faulted on it’s title, the Two in question are indeed quite Mysterious! (The production title, according to the Database, was Follow Me If You Dare.)
Interesting cast. John Forsythe and Priscilla Pointer play the title figures, and they are joined by Noah Beery Jr., Vic Tayback, and Robert Pine, in addition to the previously mentioned Robert Englund.*
[*Editor Ken: The film also stars James Stephens, who played the lead character James Hart on the excellent TV series The Paper Chase. Running opposite Happy Days when that was the number one show on television, its initial CBS run was cut brutally short. After the show emigrated to Showtime (perhaps the very first program to go to from free TV to pay cable) and eventually ran its course, Mr. Stephens co-starred on The Father Dowling Mysteries.]