An unexpected watch… comes in the form of a 1970s horror film from the streaming site Shudder. Last week, I was on Shudder looking at the countless movies I have on my watchlist and randomly picked this film because I had previously just watched The 50 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen (on Prime) and this movie was on the list!
So today, I’ll give a review over 1978’s The Evil.
The Evil, my goodness, this movie was a ride I was not expecting. I do have some quick notes because this was watched last week, I tried to remember everything I could. The plot of this film is pretty simple: a couple is buying a place to reform it into a drug rehabilitation center, but the structure is a gateway to hell and the Devil. Somehow for me, I just took “devil” as in oh they must have conjured something evil but no, no, said Devil is there and just having a field day!
Pros to this movie are: I like the characters, there’s an interesting bunch and I enjoyed watching these characters try to survive or succumb to their demise. I also liked the structure of said building. It did look like a house in some capacity but it did read more like a hospital or rehab center with the larger rooms, it’s 2 or 3 stories, there’s some religious implication with the cross attached at the roof, but from the outside, it looks less intimidating but there are also gargoyle statues outside. The kills and special effects were very, very cool. It did look goofy at certain points a la the “ghost” manifestation.
The structure’s special effects are impressive, too, for the time period. The mansion or structure, under possession of the devil, doesn’t let anyone leave or enter so it’s keeping them hostage with the windows being shut, the doors to leave are locked, and there’s a presence aka the devil’s doing stalking after the characters. One of the attacks is when one of the female characters is in a room alone recovering and is tormented and thrown around like a rag doll, clothes being ripped off her, being slapped, abused and as hard as it was to watch, I was more impressed with the effects of the clothes being torn, her being thrown around the space. A big part of the special effects are wind and I wonder if they used large air blowing machines or larger fans or even like a leaf blower (were they a thing in the 70s) to create the effect. Also, makeup special effects were great as well.
I also enjoyed one of the main character’s journey from being a non believer in what was happening in the mansion, even if he saw it with his own eyes, he always rejected it to then coming to the realization that oh, there IS something here and it’s dangerous. There is no science to save them, it comes down to believe, good versus evil, heaven (with the cross) and hell (the devil) and for someone to believe in that as well, it took me a minute to realize who said the guy in white was… he’s not an angel. Well, he’s a fallen one.
Some cons were that some of the scenes felt repetitive. Especially when it came to the confrontations or attacks. I’m assuming the budget was limited so they had to use their resources and do the best they can.
The movie as a whole is worth a watch. It is available through Shudder (as far as I know) and it stars Richard Crenna, Joanna Pettet, Andrew Prine, Cassie Yates and Victor Buono. The Evil was directed by Gus Trikonis and gets a 3.5 out of 5.