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The Evil


Title: The Evil
Year Of Release: 1978
Running Time:
99 minutes
DVD Released By: Text
Directed By: Gus Trikonis
Writing Credits: Galen Thompson (screenplay), Gus Trikonis (screenplay)

Starring:
Richard Crenna, Joanna Pettet, Andrew Prine, Cassie Yates, George O'Hanlon Jr., Victor Buono
Taglines:
1. Witness Its Awakening.
2. Escape is just a nerve-shredding scream for salvation!
3. An ancient horror slept beneath the old haunted mansion... nothing could stop its escape!

Alternate Titles:
1.
The Evil Below
2. House of Evil
3. Evil
4. Cry Demon

Review Date: 12.1.20

Shadow's Title: "This Old Haunted House"

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Characters
C.J. Arnold – A professor of psychology, he operates a drug rehabilitation program that has been successful with a number of people. In an effort to expand, he buys/leases the old Vargas home in hopes of transforming it into a new home for the program. Every old house has its secrets, but this one seems to be sitting right over a gate to hell, which is only slightly less annoying than having gophers routinely dig up your lawn.
Caroline Arnold – She’s a medical doctor and one assumes that she helps out with her husband’s program when not pursuing her own career. The ghost of Emilio Vargas attempts to warn her numerous times to get the F out of his house, but it takes her a while to piece all the clues together. By that time her husband has opened the pit, released the evil within and gotten everybody trapped in the house.
Raymond Guy – A former student of CJ’s, he is now a Professor of psychology himself, just one step away from earning his PhD. He drives a sports car, wears what was then considered stylish clothes (but which now look ridiculous) and even bangs his hottest female student. He volunteers to help CJ restore the Vargas place, but in the end he finds himself in way over his head…literally, when the earth swallows him up.
Laurie Belman – She is Raymond’s student and lover, which makes me wonder if he has a new student that he bangs each year after the previous one graduates or is he sticking with this one? Laurie is the first one to stray into mindless panic mode when the group discovers that they are trapped, but a good strong slap brings her back to reality. Later she is pulled away into darkness by the croaking demon and never seen again.
Mary Harper – Since she showed up in the same truck as Pete and Felicia, I’m gonna assume that she is also a former patient of CJ’s that successfully passed through his rehabilitation program. She shows up to help with her German Shepherd dog, Kaiser. Too bad Kaiser gets possessed or turned evil, because he then tackles her and they both fall to their deaths.
Felicia Allen – Another former patient of CJ’s, she credits him with saving her life, which is why she volunteers to help clean up the Vargas house. Sadly for her, she becomes the target for the wheezing demon’s wrath, being thrown around and assaulted to the point where it tears her clothing away. Later gets a fatal dose of electricity.
Pete Brooks – CJ introduced him as the cook, so I don’t know if he was known for cooking food or meth. He might have been a former patient since he arrived with Mary and Felicia. He’s the first to get thrown across a room by the wheezing demon, after he panics. Later he tries climbing down the outside of the house with an electric cable. Gets zapped in the process and goes up in flames faster than a tweet from Donald Trump.
Dwight – Now here we have a guy who really got screwed. He was the outside contractor CJ brought in to help restore the house. He had no part of the rehab program or any stake in it. He was just doing his job and for that, the powers of hell decided that he needed to die. I wonder, when people are murdered directly by the devil or one of his demons, do they get an automatic free pass straight to heaven? Well they ought to!
Sam the Caretaker – Another poor slob (literally, he looked like a bum) who was just doing his job. The powers of evil weren’t even the ones who killed him! It was the ghost of Emilio Vargas who offed him as a warning for CJ and the others. I’m glad the practice of murdering servants in order to get unwanted guests to leave never caught on in the service industry. Though it would have made Downton Abbey a lot more interesting.
Decker – The realtor who shows the Vargas house to CJ and Caroline. He’s quite versed in the history of the place, though I’m not sure that revealing all the darker things about the place is the best approach when trying to seal the deal to either sell or lease the house. I wonder what sort of commission he got for it and whether he’ll have to return it after the events of the movie.
Kaiser – Mary’s German Shephard. Naming him Kaiser would be like naming a Bullmastiff, King or naming a Borzoi, Czar or even a Saluki, Sultan. This poor dog got a bum deal, influenced by evil to expose the location of the pit and then attack and kill his owner in a murder/suicide maneuver. Most bad dogs just poop on the floor.
Emilio Vargas – The guy who built the house and sealed Satan in the pit. As a ghost, he warns people to stay away, lest they inadvertently release the evil. These warnings take the form of hazy figures, blurry visions, confusing quotes on plaques and cryptic entries in his diary. Why can’t ghosts like him just appear and succinctly say, “Satan is chained in a pit below the house, I’d rather you not take up residency?” It would save so much time.
The Demon – Once the pit is opened, it releases this demon, which then stalks and murders almost everyone trapped within the house. Almost always intangible, it takes the form of a strong wind accompanied by evil laughs and/or a wheezing, croaking sound like Grandpa trying to pinch one off after eating too much cheese. The only time we do see it is when a shadowy arm grabs Laurie and pulls her up the stairs into pitch blackness.
The Devil – The bible says that “…Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14 King James Translation). If that is the case, I understand the spiffy white threads, but why go for the wild beard, overweight and balding look? The only thing that’s gonna strike fear into the heart of, is the ladies during happy hour at the local night club. I’ve seen neckbeards at the Warhammer store that look more frightening.

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

How far Disney has fallen.A black screen fades in on a mansion-sized house atop a hill. The title appears and the credits unfold as we see a middle-aged guy making his way up the grassy slope towards the house, broom, bucket and cleaning supplies in hand. At the front door, he steels his nerves before entering by indulging in a quick gulp of booze from a bottle, something I’ve gotten into the habit of doing myself before entering my mother-in-law’s place. He mutters something about the house and we get the idea that he really does not want to be there. Once he’s inside we see the place has not been occupied for many years, as cobwebs and dust are everywhere. I’m not sure this one guy is up to the task of cleaning this entire place by himself. Given the size of the house, it may well require an unholy alliance between Merry Maids AND the Maid Brigade.

With a lot of mumbling to himself, he sets about the task of cleaning the place up. As he sweeps, he hears a loud creaking sound from deeper within the house, so he puts his broom down, grabs his flashlight and wrench and investigates. He wields the wrench like a weapon, so I suppose he’s not expecting the sound to have come from some creaky pipes than need an emergency tightening. He hears the sound again and follows it down into the basement. Well, naturally. It was either there or the attic. If there’s any sort of ghost or spirit hiding in a house, it’s gonna be in one of those two places ninety percent of the time. Sure, every now and then you hear of a ghost haunting the garage or the kitchen or the linen closet or even the outhouse (that will literally scare the shit out of you), but most times it’s either the very top or the very bottom of the house.

So this guy descends the stairs and creeps his way through the basement area, which is quite extensive and surprisingly well lit. Thinking that someone may be there – squatters or kids or horny teenagers, maybe – he keeps calling out for them to show themselves. He finally zeros in on the sizable furnace and after a brief hesitation, throws open the door and peers inside. There’s nothing there but cold ashes. He looks quite relieved to have found nothing and even says so aloud. It’s at this moment that flames come alive within the furnace and shoot outwards to engulf him. Completely on fire from head to toe, he thrashes around like a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance before dropping dead.

We cut now to a station wagon zooming down the road. Driving is realtor Mr. Decker with passengers Doctor CJ Arnold and his wife, Doctor Caroline Arnold. Decker is taking them up to the house where we were just at, as we see it atop the hill in the distance. It seems CJ wants to turn the place into a center for his drug rehabilitation program. When they arrive, Decker notes that the caretaker was supposed to meet them out front. I’ll wager three hundred quatloos that the missing caretaker was the guy who we just saw get barbecued. Calling out for “Sam” they head inside. The place is still quite dusty, as Sam didn’t get much of a chance to clean before he was deep fried. CJ notes the lack of light and Decker claims the wiring gave out years ago, but opens a nearby window shutter to let in some light.

Decker now launches into the prerequisite history of the place. It was built by a Mr. Vargas before the civil war. It was said his hair turned white by the time he was thirty (poor diet or mother-in-law problems?) and people hardly ever saw him again after that. Vargas died before he was forty. The house then served as a conservatory for young women when additions were made to the structure. After that it was vacant for many years until the local county took it over around the beginning of the twentieth century. Since then, no one has inquired about buying or leasing the property until CJ. As Decker relates all this, he takes them on a tour of the house. He mentions how there are natural hot springs in the area and that Vargas built the place directly over one. He then adds that the Indians avoided the place in times past, referring to the area as the “valley of the devils.” Well, that doesn’t bode very well, now does it? Decker says that whatever bad mojo the area had seemed to vanish once Vargas built the place, as if he put a seal on it. Well, if that wasn’t a big clue for later, I don’t know what would be.

Ghosts are terrible liars. You can always see right through them.Undeterred by all the work needed, CJ claims to have plenty of volunteers to help clean the place. Having made their way upstairs, the group now descends back to the ground floor. Caroline is at the rear and she pauses at the top of the stairs to blow some dust off her hand. She then turns and notices what looks like a hazy, white figure standing in a nearby room. She turns away for a second and then looks back at it, but it has vanished. When she gets to the bottom, CJ asks what is wrong but she brushes it off and says it was nothing.

At CJ’s inquiry, Decker claims that there was some who opposed the idea of turning the place into a rehabilitation center and in the past a few folks even wanted to tear the place down. When Caroline asks why, he says that there have been strange noises and accidents around the place that have fueled overactive imaginations. As he speaks, the three of them are standing close together in a circle. Dust begins to fall from the ceiling and just as Caroline notices and yells, “Look out,” a few boards come loose and fall on CJ. Luckily he got more dirty than hurt, so the three head back outside. CJ and Decker finalize the arrangements, while Caroline wanders over to a small grassy area at the center of the circular driveway. There’s a pedestal there with a gargoyle. She reads aloud from a plaque: Disturb not he who is here herald in chains. Yep, another warning that everyone is just ignoring. The three get back in the car and leave.

We turn now to a college or university. Professor Raymond Guy is teaching a class on psychology and finishing up for the semester. He explains that by next year, he’ll have his PHD, so they won’t have to listen to him anymore, as he will have moved on to other things. The bell rings and everyone files out except for Laurie Belman. She waits for Raymond and as they walk together we learn that the two of them are a couple and both will be helping CJ Arnold clean and restore the Vargas place over the summer. She’ll even get some school credits for it! They make plans for dinner that night at her place. There is a lot of smooching. I’m assuming these two are already at the professor/student fuckfest point in their relationship.

Returning to the Vargas place, CJ and Caroline arrive in that same shitty green station wagon they were in earlier. If that’s their car, then why was Decker driving it before? They are met by a guy named Dwight, who wears a tool belt and is no doubt part of their restoration crew. CJ asks him if he has seen Sam the caretaker, but Dwight says he has not. While CJ and Dwight discuss getting the electrical systems working again temporarily with a generator, Caroline heads inside with a box of supplies. She places them down near a fireplace and when she turns to look back at the door, she again sees a hazy white figure in the doorway. There’s a creak behind her and when she turns, a carving of a satyr head that is part of the decorative design of the fireplace mantle, turns to look at her. She looks back at the door, but the white figure is gone, replaced by CJ. He asks her what is wrong and she tries to explain what she saw. He convinces her it was just a trick of the light and shadows.

An ugly yellow Chevy pickup truck pulls up outside, bringing with it more tools and supplies as well as Mary Harper, Felicia Allen and Pete Brooks along with a German Shephard dog named Kaiser that belongs to Mary. It seems they are all graduates of CJ’s rehabilitation program…well, except for the dog, of course. I don’t think there is such a thing as Milkbone addiction. Raymond and Laurie now show up in his sports car and introductions are made all around.

Later inside, everyone is gathered around a fold up table that has been set up in the cavernous dining hall. CJ is going over what all they need to do. Step one is of course, cleaning the place. He hands out assignments. As they discuss things such as the electricity not being turned back on for a week or so, we see Kaiser the dog beginning to act uneasy. Hell, maybe it is Milkbone withdrawal. He gets up where he was lying and slips out of the room without anyone noticing. After walking around a bit, he makes his way down into the basement. He eventually comes to a halt in one place and begins pawing at the dirt floor. Pawing soon becomes all out digging. Along about now, everyone notices that the dog is missing just in time to hear him howl in the distance. They rush around trying to locate him and eventually make their way down into the basement. They poke around some and as Mary looks around, she spots Kaiser on top of the furnace. He looks at her, growls and then jumps. He scratches her shoulder and then runs away.

Caroline helps Mary bandage her shoulder scratch in the dining hall. CJ and Pete return to say that they’ve looked everywhere but can’t seem to find the dog. He doesn’t think Kaiser could have gotten out of the house. Mary is worried at Kaiser’s behavior. She’s had him since he was a puppy and he’s never acted vicious in his entire life. To help clear her head, Mary decides to go upstairs and start on the cleaning. Pete accompanies her. Now alone, Caroline tells CJ that the house frightens her. She explains that she feels there is an evil in the house and that Kaiser could sense it. He tries to comfort her and chalk it all up to coincidence and her imagination.

“Seriously, what’s the point of rattling chains and moaning if your guys are so noisy that you can’t even here me?”CJ leaves to crack the proverbial whip on his team. We hear thunder and lightning outside and Caroline walks to a window to look outside. When she turns back, she again sees that hazy white figure in the doorway. It fades away as she looks at it. She walks to the doorway and out into the hall. She gazes around some then approaches some stairs leading down. She looks down and sees the figure descending the stairs. It seems to beckon for her to follow. When she reaches the bottom she again spots the figure in the entrance hall, over in the corner near the front door. Several of the others are there as well, cleaning the place, but none of them give any indication that they see the figure. Caroline then walks to that corner. The figure has a disappeared, but she opens a set of doors nearby that lead into an old, extremely dusty study of some kind. There is a desk covered in cobwebs and on top is an old book with about a hundred years’ worth of dust on its cover. She brushes it away and we see that the cover reads: Diary of Emilio Vargas.

She picks the book up and turns to leave. The cover on the desk suddenly slams down, startling her. Then the fireplace flares to life. As she looks into the flames, she sees a vision of a blacksmith hammering a red-hot metal crucifix. CJ enters, sees the fire and thinks she started it. He then notes the diary that she dropped on the floor. He picks it up, opens it and finds that every page is blank. As he flips through it, he does come upon some writing towards the back of the book. Both he and Caroline read aloud what it says:

Whatever strong and noble soul would set the holy seal upon the gate…to guard the place in life and death til time is no more, then no man will set loose the beast within.

Thunder roars as they finish. The book has no more writing in it. Caroline then says that she saw the man who built the house and it was he who made the fire in the fireplace. CJ again tries to rationalize what she says, but she is firm in her feeling that there is something in the house and that they are being warned to get out. CJ says he can take a hint and then leaves the room. She places the diary back on the desk. I have to wonder why the diary was even there in the first place. The thick layer of dust on everything in that room would mean it has sat on that desk for decades, but wasn't the house used as a girl's school according to Decker? Why would they leave that room untouched and unused? When the school shut down, did someone leave the diary there as a warning for some future interloper?

Elsewhere Felicia and Laurie are cleaning an enclosed porch area when they notice that outside the windows are metal bars that would prevent anyone from entering or exiting. Laurie asks Felicia how she came to be part of the group so the other woman shows her the old needle marks on her arm and says that CJ saved her life. They open the door to head back inside and discover Pete, hanging from his neck by a rope. He sways there, eyes all bugged out. The women scream, but Pete comes to life and calls it a joke. Felicia chews his ass out, while Laurie seems genuinely shaken by the experience. She is still crying. Wow, what fortitude. Yes, finding a body like that would be frightening, but I think most women wouldn’t be so fragile in their reaction to it. I bet she cries over spilled milk, too. Horror films have come some way in the years since this one. Yes, we still get the stereotypical frightened-screaming-panicky females, but they are becoming more and more rare. Fear is a natural reaction to things, but horror cinema has a history of having the female characters overdo it in such situations. These days, a more restrained and natural display of fear is more common, thank goodness. Anyway, they leave Pete hanging there. He pleads with them to come back and help him down, which begs the question, how did he even get up there by himself?

CJ is prepping a lantern and preparing to venture back down into the basement to see about getting the furnace working. While he heads down the stairs, Felicia accompanies Mary in another search throughout the place for Kaiser. Caroline asks Raymond about the necessary conditions in a house like this one to cause the appearance of “figures.” Notice how she didn’t say ghosts or spirits. Meanwhile, Mary and Felicia have made their way into the kitchen. On one wall is a large dumbwaiter. On the dumbwaiter is a large crate, positioned halfway between floors. Mary pulls the ropes to raise it and then Felicia pops open the crate. Inside is the burned corpse of Sam the caretaker, which promptly falls out onto the floor. When they see the immolated body, they both scream, like banshees, no less.

The lengths some guys will go to in order to hide their porn stash.“Who disturbs my slumber?”In the basement CJ is examining the furnace. Thinking he hears something, he turns and looks around him. He walks around some, thinking it could be Kaiser, and calls out to the dog. It’s then that he notices the spot in the dirt where Kaiser was digging. Something has been exposed. He puts his lantern down and begins clearing the soil away to reveal a metal crucifix stuck between a latch and two large handles. He removes the cross and then pulls at the latch, opening it. He then tugs at the handles, but they don’t budge. He grabs a nearby piece of lumber and tries using it to pry the handles open, but is stopped when a voice calls out for him to come to the kitchen quick. He grabs his lantern and leaves.

As soon as he is gone, the big metal doorway in the earth opens by itself, releasing smoke and steam. The entire house shakes violently, throwing everyone to the floor wherever they are located. The earthquake effect is simply accomplished by the tried and true method of shaking the camera and then having the actors throw themselves around like they're falling down drunk. Felicia falls down the stairs and is knocked out. I thought she was in the kitchen? Is the kitchen on the second floor for some odd reason? Dwight finds her after a frantic run through the hallways. As he approaches her to see if she is okay, loose electrical cables drop from the ceiling and encircle him like tentacles. He screams and thrashes around quite a bit while being electrocuted. Finally, he drops to the floor with a couple of last spasms. He’s dead.

Suddenly, throughout the entire house, every door, window and shutter now slams shut on their own. Everyone who isn’t passed out or dead now convene in the entrance hall where they try their best to open the front door and windows, but some unknown force is keeping them all tightly shut. Pete – who has somehow gotten down from his hanging gag – screams, “I want out!” and then goes to grab the shutters over one window. An invisible force that sounds like a tornado, lifts him up and tosses him across the room. The others pick him up and see that he’s okay for now. CJ then says “Dining room!” and everyone runs like mad for that location as if this was another film based on the board game Clue. As they haul ass, Caroline sees Felicia passed out on the stairs and checks on her along with Mary. They rouse Felicia and the three stare at Dwight’s body. Caroline mutters, “It’s this house!”

Meanwhile, CJ, Raymond and Pete are trying to open the windows in the dining room, with no luck. Try as they might, they cannot break the windows. They then grab their fold up table and position it like a battering ram. As they run at the window another blast of wind pushes the table from their grasp. Laurie begins to panic, saying that they will never be getting out, etc. She becomes more and more hysterical to the point where Raymond has to bitch slap her in order for her to shut up. He comforts her as she begins to cry again.

Next we see Caroline and Felicia as the latter is reclining on one of the cots they brought with them. She asks Caroline what is happening in this house. Caroline says that she doesn’t know then tells Felicia to get some rest after hitting her head so hard when tumbling down the stairs. Uh…isn’t that the last thing you want someone with a possible concussion to do? She leaves Felicia alone in a room by herself. I’m sorry, if I was in that situation, I’d insist on taking my snooze in the same room as everyone else. None of this left-alone-in-another-room bullshit for me. Haven’t any of these morons ever seen a horror film before? When shit gets real, you always stick together as much as possible.

The others have all gathered in the entrance hall, by the fireplace, which now contains a fire. CJ sums up the facts: 1) Dwight is dead. 2) So is that guy found in the kitchen. 3) They are all locked inside the house. 4) Not all of them can act very well. Oh, wait, that last one was one of mine. Sorry. After all the talk about how long it was going to take to get the electricity turned back on and working, why hasn’t any of them mentioned how Dwight was killed or notice the bright light bulb above their heads? I can only assume that the generator mentioned in passing by Dwight before he died is working for them. CJ now asks if anyone has a logical explanation for what has happened. Raymond takes this opportunity to engage in the time honored tradition of pulling answers out of one’s ass and expounds upon his theory that over time the house could have soaked up some of the power around it, like the atmospheric conditions that exist outside at that very moment. Then that power could suddenly be released. Pete thinks the weird shit has something to do with the storm. Laurie jumps on to that idea as well and even Mary asks if the static electricity in the air could have been responsible for making her dog go nuts. Caroline says that it not the storm, but something else. Pete asks how she knows this and she replies that she doesn’t know for sure, but thinks the key to it all is the diary of Emilio Vargas. She and CJ explain to the others about the diary, all the blank pages and the one bit of writing in it. She still thinks it was a warning of some kind. She then relates how she has been seeing a vague figure around the house. She believes there was a great conflict in the house between good and evil. Having had enough of the crazy talk, CJ and Pete leave to go search for a way out.

Now is not the time to practice your break dancing.Upstairs, in that room all by herself, Felicia is asleep, but is thrashing around on her cot, sweating up a storm. So she’s either dreaming about sex or some kind of monster chasing her. Of course it could be worse. She might be dreaming that a monster is chasing her because it desires sex with her. I had that dream once. It was all I could do to get away from Rosie…er…the monster, and I woke up bathed in a cold sweat. I don’t ever wish to repeat the experience. So Felicia wakes from her snooze and as she sits on the cot, the door leading to the hallway opens. She gets up, walks towards it, but it slams shut before she can leave. An invisible force begins throwing her around the room and we can easily see the wires attached to the actress that pull her in one direction and then another. Not done pushing her around, the force begins tearing at her clothes, ripping her shirt and pants off in tatters. A she struggles; there is a strong wind that blows through the room as well as an evil male laugh. Of course I experienced those last two things all the time as a kid when my dad would let loose with one of his toxic farts. She makes it over to another cot, where she collapses on her back, but then begins bouncing up and down like someone was jumping on the thin mattress.

Her screams alert the others, who have not heard her until this very moment. Did they think she was just screaming for the hell of it? Maybe they thought she saw a spider or a bug? Whatever the case, they now all come hauling ass to her room. Funny enough, we see CJ and Pete ascending some stairs, but as they approach the door, they are descending the stairs. They all run in to find Felicia thrashing around on the cot in her underwear. CJ quickly covers her with a blanket. She’s hysterical and they gather her up so she can join them. CJ says to Raymond that they should all stay together and no one should wander off on their own. Good idea! A little too late, but good idea!

Night has now fallen and the thunder, lightning and rain continue outside. CJ is running around, trying to track down the source of a banging sound. He finds it at the top of one narrow staircase: the door leading to the viewing platform atop the house’s tower is opening and closing due to the high winds. He yells for Pete to grab some cables. Maybe he plans on using them as rope and climbing down the side of the tower? Pete brings all the cable he can find on short notice. CJ ties one end around a support column and prepares to climb down. Pete then convinces CJ to let him go first, seeing as how he’s younger and lighter. Wow, what an indirect way of calling someone old and fat. So they throw the other end of the cable over the side and grasping it, Pete climbs over the railing and begins climbing down. Part way down, the wind picks up and Pete is tossed around on the cable. There’s a sound like someone croaking and I don’t know if that is supposed to be this new wind or an additional sound aside from the wind. Pete tries to climb back up and CJ begins pulling in the cable. Suddenly, electricity runs through the cable, forcing CJ to drop it. Pete however cannot let go and it lights him up like a Guy Fawkes effigy. Pete goes from being totally soaked from the rain to being completely engulfed in flames in about 1.5 seconds. He drops to the ground below, dead. Still on fire, but dead. CJ stares in horror at his body. The strong wind forces him back inside.

Later, in front of the fire in the entrance hall, CJ relates to the others what happened to Pete. He blames himself for it. Felicia says the house is trying to kill them, but Caroline says it’s not the house, but something in it. Laurie thinks it was just the lightning hitting the cable that killed Pete and CJ agrees. Raymond thinks there is some other force at work and wants CJ to admit it. He then launches into a speech about how CJ was always one for exploration and seeking new answers to things and thinks he should apply what he once taught to the present situation. About now Raymond notices that the lights are on and notes that the generator is still working. This gives him an idea.

Now we see CJ and Raymond using a rotary saw to try and cut through the front door. After their attempt, the door shows little damage but the teeth on the sawblade are worn flat. CJ wonders if Dwight had any heavier blades and Mary runs off to look for the dead guy’s tool case. As she runs in one direction, Caroline gets up and walks down a different hall. What happened to not letting people go off alone? That went right out the proverbial window. CJ notices Caroline leaving and follows her to the enclosed deck area, which is where they have placed the dead bodies for now. She is piecing things together and mentions the story that the realtor Decker told them about the warm springs and how the house was built over them. She thinks that Vargas built his house here intentionally. She notes that ever since the house closed itself up, there has been the faint smell of sulfur in the air. CJ then gets an idea, having noticed that the house has numerous lightning rods atop it. He wants to get the surviving cable, affix them to the house's electrical collector and then connect them to the metal bars that are placed outside some of the glassless windows. He hopes to generate enough heat to bend them.

A new film from the school district: Safe use of power tools.Back at the front door, Raymond is beginning to look a little unsettled. He takes the rotary saw with his right hand and with his left hand pressed against the door, runs the blade straight through the middle of it. Mary returns at this point and screams at the sight. He just turns and then collapses on the floor. It looks like he didn’t finish the job as his hand is still in one piece, but I’m sure there’s not too much holding it together. CJ and Caroline return and try to use a belt as a tourniquet. Mary runs upstairs to retrieve some bandages. Again, they let her go by herself.

Mary runs up some stairs, down a hall, up more stairs and down another hall before coming to a closet. How far away are these bandages? Sheesh. She opens the door and…it’s Kaiser, her dog inside. Alas, Kaiser is no longer a good doggy but a bad, mean doggy. She turns to run and he chases after her. I don’t know if it was meant to sound like a dog growling, but the sound of a TIE Fighter from Star Wars is heard as she runs down the hall, Kaiser hot on her heels. When she gets to the end of the hall, Kaiser leaps over the camera at her. The force takes them both over the railing and they fall to the ground floor with a thud. You actually see the dummies made to look like a woman and a dog go THUD on the ground. Caroline runs over to look. Both Mary and her dog are dead, the former sporting a nasty wound where her once beloved and gentle pet ripped out her throat. As Caroline looks up the spiraling staircase, we hear distant laughter. Then she passes out.

When she wakes up, she finds herself stretched out on an antique divan with CJ looking over her. They’re by the fire in the entrance hall and at first she is comforted by his presence, but soon grows angry with him when he won’t acknowledge what is going on. She claims there was something evil inside the dog that made him kill Mary, but he doesn’t believe that. He tells her to get some rest and that he is going to join the others in the Solarium, which is that enclosed deck area with the dead people. He, Raymond and Felicia are going to give his earlier idea a shot. When he gets there, CJ notes that Mary’s body is not there. Raymond says that he put it by the stairs near the entrance hall. CJ says that the dog’s body was there, but Mary’s body was gone. Whoops. Well, you know how easy it is to misplace a corpse. It happens all the time!

We return to Caroline, who is resting before the fire. She looks up and sees that hazy white figure again, only this time it’s not as hazy and you can see details, like hair, a face and even old fashioned clothing. The figure, who is a male, reaches out an arm to her and gestures to the floor. She looks down and finds the large metal cross that CJ discovered earlier in the basement and which he’s obviously forgotten about. She picks up it, examines it and when she glances back, the figure has vanished again. She looks around and sees it beckoning to her from a few feet away. She walks over as it disappears again. Now she enters the banquet-sized dining room and sees CJ, Raymond, Felicia and Laurie gathered around their fold up table, Mary’s body resting on top. Raymond is bent over, kissing the dead woman passionately and when CJ turns to look at Caroline, he’s been fuglied up with some seriously bushy eyebrows. Caroline brandishes the cross and as the others recoil from it, CJ is blown across the floor, out of the room and all the way to the study, where he stops before a large mirror. He gazes into it, sees his fuglied up face and screams. Caroline runs up to him and holds him as he stands and yells, “God help me!” The mirror cracks.

Sometime later, CJ sits before the fire, examining the cross alone with Caroline. He says he found it in the basement but doesn’t remember bringing it up. Caroline shows him where she found it. She wonders why she is the only who sees the spirit in the house, who she believes is that of Emilio Vargas. CJ expounds on his lifelong disdain for matters of faith when concerning such things as good, evil and human souls. Now, he’s not so sure. She feels Vargas is trying to help them. She believes there has to be a key “to this prison.” CJ remembers the diary, so they rush to the old study and look it over again. They find the one page with writing and CJ reads from it. It mentions an angel descending from heaven, a deep pit, a chain and the dragon (which is what Satan is sometimes referred as in the bible). It goes to explain that Satan will be chained in a pit for a thousand years and then released. As they ponder this, the diary is torn from their hands to land on the floor, accompanied by a sound like an asthmatic trying to hit a high note after smoking five Cuban cigars. The book bursts into flames. CJ tries to stomp out the flames, but the asthmatic gets louder and louder.

Elsewhere, Raymond is in an attic-like area and has hooked one end of their cable to the lightning rod accessible through the rafters. He hollers for Laurie to hook up the other end down stairs. She heads down some stairs, unwinding the cable as she goes. Isn’t anyone going to discuss what happened earlier with Mary’s dead body? Why were they all gathered around it like that? Why was Raymond smooching it like a lover? Why was CJ’s eyebrows looking like something from a Neanderthal’s wet dream? Were they all possessed? In a trance? On drugs? WHAT? If the answer was drugs, I wanna know, cuz I sure could use something about now to get me through this movie. On second thought, I’ll pass. I don’t need the nightmares that would result.

Anyway, one of the freakiest parts of the movie – in my humble opinion, at least – is about to occur. It also shows that whoever designed this place must have later worked for Sarah Winchester, as we see Laurie descend some stairs, reach the landing, turn and then come down a few more steps, uncurling the cable as mentioned. The stairs turn again and descend further, but a few steps away is another staircase that leads up into darkness. How many different staircases does this place need? There’s this new one, the one she was just descending and the spiral staircase that empties out near the entrance hall. Who designed this place, M.C. Escher? Anyway, Laurie drops the cable and walks over to this other staircase leading up. Another length of cable has been placed on the bannister. She picks it and promptly drops it. As she bends over to pick it up, a dark shadowy arm reaches in from out of frame to grab her. She looks up and screams at whatever it is she sees. We do hear that same asthmatic howling again.

Usually people slide DOWN the stairs.About now Raymond arrives, just in time to see a side view of Laurie’s legs as they vanish up the stairs into the dark, as if something was pulling her. She screams again and he runs after her. He reaches the stairs and rushes up into the dark. We cannot see what transpires, but the asthmatic is really putting on a show, howling up a storm. Finally with a scream of his own that sounds like someone just rammed an ice cube up his butt, Raymond comes bouncing down the stairs alone. He looks back up, and we can barely see movement in the dark. Not worried about Laurie anymore and probably figuring he can always find another student to bang, he picks himself up and leaves.

Just a personal note: we never see what grabbed Laurie aside from a dark arm. We only see her reaction to it, which was a face made of pure terror. We don’t know what Raymond encountered in the dark, only knowing that it pushed him back down the stairs. THAT is what I find to be scary, the not seeing what they saw. That enables my mind to conjure up something more horrifying than what the producers could have put on screen and makes it so much more frightening. It’s that fear of the unknown. After all, the only thing more frightening than a closed door is imagining what is on the other side.

Back in the solarium with the dead people, Felicia is hooking up more cables to the metal bars. Raymond joins her and says nothing about Laurie. They finish hooking up the cables and go to leave when one of the cables comes loose and falls to the floor. She tells him to go on ahead and she will just take a second to fix it, which she does. He runs to a switch box and flips a switch. Electric current flows through the cables and into the metal bars. As Felicia steps closer to look, Mary’s body suddenly sits up. This startles Felicia and she backs away into the window, touching the metal bars. ZAAP. She is electrocuted. Mary’s body falls on its side. Raymond arrives to see Felicia’s lifeless body spasm due to the electric current now running through her. He turns and bails.

Running into the entrance hall, Raymond sees the shutters over one window open. We hear the asthmatic again, but Raymond wastes no time in running and throwing himself through the window and out into the rain. Now suffering numerous cuts, he picks himself up and yells, “I’m free!” He laughs and yells it over and over in manic glee. He runs away from the house, but passes over the grassy section that is in the middle of the circular driveway. The same spot that holds that ugly statue and plaque. As he steps on the grass, he starts to sink as if it were quicksand. The asthmatic is back, croaking and wheezing as Raymond sinks into the earth. There is also an evil laughter that fills the air as the ground swallows him. Once he’s gone, the window he crashed through magically repairs itself and the shutters close once again.

Morning is coming and we see that the fire has died down in the fireplace and we see CJ holding the metal cross, Caroline seated near. Though no word is said, I’m assuming they know of the fates that befell Laurie, Felicia and Raymond. Behind her appears the ghost of Emilio Vargas who walks up to her and settles down inside her body, possessing it. Vargas, through Caroline, now tells CJ that he killed Sam the caretaker to force them all away, but they did not heed the warnings. He says that he sealed the pit, but CJ released the evil. He tells CJ that the key is in his hands. Vargas tells him to seal the pit, return the beast and do not disturb this place again. With that, Vargas is gone. CJ tells Caroline they have to go down into the basement.

 

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

 

The pair grab a lantern and along with the cross, head toward the basement. The asthmatic returns, croaking, wheezing and blowing wind at them. They press onward despite being pushed back by the gale. They descend into the basement and locate the hatch in the soil that is now wide open. From deep within there is a light and smoke curls up from the pit. CJ tries to close the hatch, but the wind and the asthmatic continue to blow harder than a two-dollar whore. The earth starts to shake and Caroline, losing her balance, falls into the pit. CJ calls after her and then after a brief hesitation, jumps in as well.

“Sorry, the lake of fire is undergoing maintenance today and I have to greet you here.”CJ and Caroline find themselves in maze of smoke (or is that mist?) filled passages with stone walls. They search for the cross, but cannot locate it. As they fan out to look for it, CJ walks down one passage, turns a corner and sees light from further down this new passage. He continues on, reaching the end of that corridor and entering another. At the far end is a doorway, with bright light on the other side. He approaches and when he walks through, we hear evil laughter. He finds himself in a white void, filled with smoke (or mist) that conceals the floor as well as the walls. The place could be fifty feet across or fifty miles. Not far away there is a stone throne that is situated on a small dais and seated in this chair is a fat, bearded guy in a white suit. He has a balding head, but wild hair in back and on the sides that flare outwards. I shit you not. The movie just went from paranormal horror and took a left turn straight into full on camp.

CJ approaches this figure, who calls him an endless source of amusement. He tells CJ that everything that happened was his fault. He denied the warnings, he opened the door and could not accept what it all meant. When CJ asks what he wants, the fat guy says that he fills his accounts and wants to know the location of “that piece of holy excrement.” That’s a pretty harsh way to talk about a man’s wife! Oh, I guess he meant that metal cross. The fat guy, who is of course Satan the devil himself, if you have not guessed that by now, wants the cross destroyed and wants CJ to do it. CJ gives him a “fuck you” look and then the devil unleashes some sort of psychic attack that has CJ grabbing at his head and covering his ears. My guess? He implanted Justin Bieber songs in his head that won’t stop playing. The devil’s appearance also changes. His eyebrows have grown thicker and his wild hair is no longer puffed out, but is closer to his head.

As CJ moans in pain, the devil says that he feeds on terror. CJ falls to his knees and the devil prattles on about how this is costing him nothing and how he can easily keep CJ here forever in more pain imaginable. I don’t know, I can imagine quite a lot, having survived countless Hallmark Christmas movies forced upon me by The Other Half. CJ tries to walk away, which of course the devil finds insulting. “You defy me? You insignificant speck of vomit?” I think the devil really needs to up his game. These insults suck. The devil increases his psychic attack and CJ is pulled back towards the devil’s chair. The devil transforms now, his face getting hairier, uglier and now with horns protruding from his forehead. He gleefully watches as CJ begs to die. “There is no respite for you here,” the devil tells him. Ah, so it’s the DMV!

This is when Caroline comes racing up out of the smoke (or mist) with the cross. She must have found it. She plunges it into the devil’s chest. He lets out a scream and smoke/mist/vapor starts pouring out of the wound. His torture of CJ stops. He and Caroline bolt for the door. The Devil pulls the cross from his chest, hurtling it across the chamber, before falling back on his chair. The cross lands near the exit “We are SO getting our cleaning deposit back.”and CJ scoops it up as he and Caroline flee. They race back through the stone passages as the place starts to shake. They reach the opening and he pushes her up, then tosses the cross up to her. She conveniently finds some rope, anchors it over a large pipe and then drops it down, allowing him to climb out of the pit. This time, he is able to move the hatch – probably because the devil was weakened – and once shut, they close the latch and jam the cross through it again to keep it sealed.

All throughout the house, the shutters, windows and doors now open back up, letting in the morning light. CJ and Caroline waste no time in racing outside. They embrace and look back at the house. In an upper window they see the ghost of Emilio Vargas, who waves a farewell to them. With that they hop in their shitty green station wagon and drive away. The front doors to the house close once again. They’re gonna have to come up with one whopper of a story to tell the authorities in order to explain all those dead bodies. Roll credits.

 

The End.

 

Review

“We are SO getting our cleaning deposit back.”Haunted houses have been around since the dawn of time. There has always been locations, be they naturally occurring like caves or deep forests or constructed in some fashion from simple homes to grand mansions to giant castles, that people claim to be haunted by either the ghosts of departed humans or other worldly spirits of some sort. Modern science has debunked a great many things that in times past were considered evidence of the supernatural, but there are still things today that will often defy explanation. Are spirits and ghosts real or has science just not advanced far enough to further explain these phenomenon? It all comes to down to each individual’s belief, faith and knowledge.

In many films featuring haunted houses, the characters will enter the abode with the full understanding that the place has been reported as haunted, whether they believe it or not. Often the visit is under the guise of trying prove or disprove the haunting itself. In The Evil, we have a group who for the most part, are completely clueless as to the history of the Vargas house. They waltz right on in and are quite surprised when the place closes up tight and traps them. While the film does convey it some, I feel like more should have been made of the rising terror as the group tries to rationalize what is transpiring and grows ever more desperate in their escape attempts. With a large cast to kill off, this could have been drawn out just a bit more, with the tension growing worse after each death. Instead, aside from a couple instances, most of the deaths all occur very close to one another towards the end, as if the filmmakers realized the movie was careening toward a conclusion and they needed to jettison several characters as soon as possible. This isn’t to say that the film drags on too long or bogs down in the middle, because it actually keeps a pretty decent pace, portioning out scares, exposition and narrative advancement in equal measure. It’s just my personal taste would have liked to see the demises spread out a bit more.

“We are SO getting our cleaning deposit back.”The characters themselves, due to the large number of them, don’t really get too much time form development. We know that CJ is the usual ardent scientist, refusing to give in to what he deems to be superstition and overactive imaginations. On the flip side is his wife Caroline, who as the one seeing the ghost of Emilio Vargas and being subject to his clues, realizes that they are being warned away. Later once trapped, she insists that there is something in the house that has them trapped rather than some natural occurrence. Raymond Guy comes off as something of a playboy, with his sports car and groovy clothes. Pete is the requisite practical joker and Felicia is the former drug addict that CJ helped through rehab. The rest are basically filler and exist just to pad out the body count. They all turn in credible performances with the material they have, though if there is any scenery chewing, it is reserved for Victor Buono and his brief role as the devil at the film’s climax. A mainstay of TV throughout the 60’s and 70’s, he might be best known to genre fans as the reoccurring villain King Tut on the old Batman series. Here, he hams it up something fierce, portraying the devil with a sense of playful glee, with an undercurrent of pure malevolence.

The visual FX for the film are frugally done, echoing techniques that have been around for decades. There really isn’t anything new to see here. In one scene the wires used to push/pull an actress around as if being assaulted by an invisible force, are clearly seen. More convincing is the fake hand in the brief shot where Raymond nearly cuts his hand in two with a rotary saw. Less effective are the effects showing electricity arcing through an object, which just looks like it was draw in to the existing frames. There really isn’t anything here that could not have been achieved for a TV movie of the week. Sound is used quite heavily to help convey a sense of fear, with the predictable evil laughter, heard several times. More unique is the wheezing sound used for the invisible demon that terrorizes the group. I’m not sure of the sound was meant to resemble wind or if the resemblance to a human voice was intentional. I do know that it sounds silly on occasion. As for the film’s music, I found that it fit the movie very well. It was certainly a product of its time, reflecting the style that was common for horror films of the 70’s.

So overall, I think The Evil is a decent film. I find it hard now to believe that it was rated R upon release, as there is really nothing in it to warrant such a rating by today’s standards. There is minimal blood and guts, and not that much swearing, so I can only surmise that the “intense” nature of the film garnered that rating. For some people the movie might seem to drag in spots, but the film just needs to make sure it sets everything up properly before moving on. Horror fans will probably enjoy it, but again, by today’s standards the movie is not at all scary, though a creepy moment or two might squeeze in before it’s over. The strange turn at the end with the devil may throw many viewers off for its sheer camp quotient, while others will just nod along appreciatively. Either way there are certainly better, as well as far worse, entries in the haunted house genre.

 

Expect To See:
Animals Gone Berserk – There’s one cute German Shepherd dog that reminds me a lot of the pet I had as a kid. Mine was a big Baby Huey. The one here gets influenced by the minions of hell and goes crazy.
Demons – Once the morons in the movie open the hatch over the pit, a demon is released that begins killing them one by one. Almost always incorporeal, it sounds like an asthmatic giving his best at a pig calling contest.
Extreme Violence – While not too explicit, the violence here is pretty brutal, with people burned alive or electrocuted or suffocated in mud or compelled to gouge out their eyes. Wait, that last one was only felt by me.
Ghosts – The ghost of the man who built the house warns people to stay away, even killing to stress his point. It makes me wonder why he wasn’t so proactive when the place was a girl’s school. Too many cute females to gawk at while they undress?
Gore – There is not a lot of this. Just a single shot when Raymond uses the rotary saw to cut through his hand. In the Reel world there’s some blood but the appendage remains miraculously intact. In the Real world, he’d have bled to death.
Haunted Houses – Kind of hard to not include this one since the bulk of the movie takes place in a haunted house, though I have seen Bigfoot movies without Bigfoot, or a zombie movie with no zombies, so such things do happen.
Misogyny – At one point the character of Felicia is left alone to rest. The croaking demon takes this opportunity to slap her around the room and tear at her clothes in a display that would even make Chris brown cringe.
Satan – Old Lucifer himself shows up at the very end, having been confined to the pit and eager for release. The first thing he needs to do is get himself a NordicTrack cuz damn, he’s been hitting the donuts pretty hard alongside Homer Simpson.
Skin – When Felicia is abused by Croaky the Misogynist demon, it tears at her clothes, reducing her to just her undergarments and exposing lots of skin. Considering the circumstances, it’s definitely not a moment for titillation.
Underground Hijinks – The basement to the Vargas house resembles the catacombs under Paris, but then again, the place does pre-date the civil war. Once they descend further into the pit, things really get weird.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: 8 including one dog
Alcoholic drinks consumed: 1
Cups of coffee consumed: 4
Cigarettes smoked: 3
Cigars smoked: 1
Pipes smoked: 1
Falling people: 2
Falling dogs: 1
Burning books: 1
Burning people: 3
Demon winds that spring up out of nowhere: 10
Times ghost of Emilio Vargas shows up: 8
Times wheezing demon is heard: 12
Times wheezing demon is seen: 1
Times we hear devil’s laughter: 5
Characters reduced to tears: 3
Viewers reduced to tears: at least 1
Percentage of movie taking place inside house: 79.79%
Percentage of movie taking place in hell: 7.03%

07 Min – There’s no one else on the road, what’s he honking at?
15 Min – Moron extra looking right into camera.
16 Min – I think you could put an eye out with those huge collars.
29 Min – Lightning effect, despite clear blue sky seen through window behind her.
30 Min – The fireplace is playing Conan the Barbarian.
34 Min – Brown trousers alert!
35 Min – How does he take a leak with those pants?
36 Min – Stiff- in-a-box.
42 Min – Female gets bitch-slapped.
47 Min – The wires yanking her around can clearly be seen.
50 Min – Ten seconds after saying to not wander off alone…he’s wandered off alone.
60 Min – The dog sounds like a TIE fighter.
60 Min – Somebody call PETA!
66 Min – Well, that’s seven years bad luck.
71 Min – Brown trousers alert!
73 Min – Random act of violence to a glass window.
77 Min – There’s that TIE fighter sound again.
84 Min – She just shanked the devil.
87 Min – Time to bail. What will they tell the cops?


Shadow's Drinking Game: Whenever someone says the word HOUSE, take a drink.

 

Images Click for larger image

I did the same thing when
this film started.


“I’ll be taking applications for teacher’s
aid, teacher’s pet and teacher’s
naughty student who needs a spanking.”




The reality of cheap student housing
was beginning to sink in.

 
“Oh, so you’re one of those douchebags
that wears their sweater over the
shoulders like some kind of scarf.”

“Throw me a frickin’ bone
here, people!”

“You said it was written in Latin.”
“It is…Pig latin.”


 
“It’s my invisible ink tattoo.
Cost me three grand.”

 
“Another suicide attempt, Pete?"
That’s the fifth one in the last
twenty minutes.”


What’s with those pants?
Is he in a marching band?

“Pardon me, but could anyone spare
a salve or some aloe vera?”

The typical female reaction to when
a man eats a booger.


“No, I’m not interested in a foursome!”

This neighborhood is so rough, instead
of flaming bags of poop, the kids
leave flaming corpses at your door.

“I am the ghost of…huh…what?
No, my name is not Jacob Marley.”

“Get me to Super Cuts, quick!”

“Well how was I supposed to know
that would happen if I
read it out loud?”


“Time to shut this production down
and move on to a real acting gig.”

“Holy crap, we seriously need to
replace the smoke detectors.”

“Hey, don’t you think the wine cellar
should have…well, you know…wine?”

After an hour of wandering around
Bed, Bath and Beyond, CJ finally
found the Beyond department.


“It’s called Muzak, and we play it
24/7 around here.”

“I think you can turn the
humidifier down a bit.”

“Pardon me while I smoke.”

“Ya’all don’t come back
now, ya’hear?”

 

Immortal Dialog
Keep In Mind

Discussing the man who built the house.

Caroline: “This sounds weird, but…I think there’s something here. And I think what he’s trying to tell us…”
CJ: “What? Who’s trying to tell us?”
Caroline: “We’re being warned to get out.

Shadow’s Comment: You’re doomed ! Hear me? DOOMED!


  • If you find a large hatch in the ground under your new home, don’t open it under any circumstances.
  • It’s possible to cut 90% of your hand in half and still have it remain fully functional.
  • Some articles of clothing are more combustible than gasoline-soaked wood.
  • Possessed dogs sound like imperial TIE fighters.
  • Ghosts can never simply be straightforward.
  • Extremely bushy eyebrows are a mark of the devil.
  • Molesting dead bodies is a group activity.
  • The devil has had dental work.
  • Hell resembles a set for an 80’s rock video.

Trying to find a way out of the house.

Caroline: “That saw’s not going to work. Nothing is going to work.”
CJ: “Maybe it’s not.”
Lightning flashes outside
CJ: “The lightning rods. Lightning. I saw lightning rods on every peak of this house when we drove in this morning. If we still have enough of Dwight’s cable left to reach from the collector to these bars maybe we can create an energy field. Generate enough heat to try to bend them.”

Shadow’s Comment: Don’t forget to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.

 

Movie Trailer
This Film & Me
I can clearly recall seeing the TV ads for this film as a young child of nine. The thing that really sticks out in my mind is the image of that hatch in the ground opening by itself and all that smoke being released. Of course at nine, the movie looked like it would be extremely scary, but there wasn’t a chance in hell (pun intended) that my mother would let me go see a film like this. Given her conservative Christian background which she indoctrinated me with, she saw films like this as a sure way to let Satan himself into our home. Even if there was a segment on a variety show like Real People or That’s Incredible or even Ripley’s Believe It Or Not (with the late Jack Palance of course, and if you remember any of those shows, you are OLD just like me) about a haunting, my mother would make me turn the channel as she did not believe in ghosts and thought all supernatural activity was the work of demons. As a kid I was half-convinced that Satan was lurking around every other bush, waiting to scare me to death. These days, mom’s been dead for nearly 18 years and I long ago researched religion in-depth and emerged an atheist. My horror movie collection contains titles that would have made mom grab her bible and start praying at the top of her lungs while burning my “unholy” films. And guess what? Satan still hasn’t shown up. Anyway, despite remembering when this film hit theaters, I never was able to see it, even years later when I could watch such stuff without mom looking over my shoulder. I ended up forgetting all about the movie as the years went by. It wasn’t until the double feature DVD was released that I was like, “Oh, yeah! That movie!” I settled in to watch after 30+ years of waiting and…promptly fell asleep. I tried watching it a time or two since then, but always lost interest partway through it. It wasn’t until this review that I forced myself to watch the damn thing in one sitting. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. It’s not scary at all and is dated and silly now, but I can see where it could have caused a few folks to soil their knickers back in the day.


 

Rating
Shadow Says


Shadow's rating: Five Tombstones



The Good

  • Good performances
  • Creepy house
  • A couple of really good scares

The Bad

  • Wires spotted in one scene
  • Some things are not explained
  • Wheezing demon

The Ugly

  • Makes a total left turn into camp at the end
  • Bushy eyebrows look ridiculous

 

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