Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

INCUBUS


INCUBUS (1981). Director: John Hough.

In the small town of Galen a series of women are being attacked, sexually assaulted, and murdered -- along with some male friends and relatives -- by an unknown assailant. Dr. Sam Cordell (John Cassavetes) notices some very inexplicable things about the condition of the bodies, while reporter Laura Kincaid (Kerrie Keane) wants to find out what, if anything, the authorities may be hiding. Then there's Tim Galen (Duncan McIntosh), the boyfriend of Cordell's daughter Jennie (Erin Flannery), who has visions of the murders and thinks he's going crazy, and his grandmother Agatha (Helen Hughes), who is one weird old lady. This is based on Ray Russell's ingenious and creepy horror novel, but it doesn't do the novel justice. There appears to be a lot of post-production tampering and a lot of stuff has probably been left on the cutting room floor. If you haven't read the novel, you may be scratching your head at the conclusion -- huh? Still, this is an eerie, strangely compelling picture, and some of the gruesome assault scenes are well done. Well-acted by all, especially Cassavetes, who is excellent. John Ireland plays the sheriff, Hank. Mr. Sardonicus is a better film based on the work of Ray Russell. A better film directed by John Hough is Legend of Hell House.

Verdict: Not in the best taste, but creepy. **1/2.

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