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

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Richard Crenna
THE EVIL (1978 aka House of Evil). Director: Gus Trikonis.

C. J. Arnold (Richard Crenna) and his doctor wife, Carolyn (Joanna Pettet of Casino Royale), decide to renovate a brooding, half-dilapidated old mansion with the help of some friends and colleagues. These include teacher Raymond Guy (Andrew Prine), his student-girlfriend, Laurie (Mary Louise Weller), young Pete (George O. Hanlon Jr.), who plays dumb practical jokes, Felicia (Lynn Moody), and Mary (Cassie Yates), who brings her German shepherd along. Unfortunately, there's some sort of presence in the house that C. J. inadvertently lets loose when he opens up a pit in the basement. It isn't long before the group finds itself trapped in the mansion, with the doors and windows literally sealed by some force that won't let them break through no matter what. Needless to say, the members of the group die in various awful ways, often related to electrocution. The Evil is not a terrible picture -- it has some atmosphere and suspense as well as some creepy situations -- but in making its evil Satanic force so literal at the end it's almost comical. Some of the actors are on occasion defeated by the melodramatic sequences they find themselves in, although Victor Buono [The Strangler] proves effective (despite the absurdity of his role) in the film's finale. Somewhat reminiscent of The Legend of Hell House, which came out five years earlier.

Verdict: Not much subtlety to this! **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill - Another one I have never seen, though it is a genre I really love. I am a big fan of Buono! Was this a TV film or cinema release, do you know? I need to see this!

William said...

This was a theatrical release that came and went. I love Buono, too, and he certainly has an interesting part in this. It was on youtube as "House of Evil."