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4.0 out of 5 stars
A resilient rock that could have been a gem, Oct. 31 2010
Available now for the first time on DVD, Gus Trikonis' "The Evil" was released in 1978 and has remained a favourite among haunted house movie lovers for decades. Even though there is little to the film that is original, it's cast, location and direction lift it out of the realms of its low budget origins and have made it a memorable favourite.
A psychologist (Crenna), his wife (Pettet) and their student assistants gather at a vacant house to begin some experiments of a nature that is only vaguely suggested in the script and, of course, never developed. But as soon as they arrive, apparitions appear, furniture moves, and people start to die. As in many horror films, there is some deathless dialogue and gaping holes in the plot and characters' logic.
Many viewers have commented on the camp value of o the film's ending, where Crenna's character battles with the devil himself (played by "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" veteran Victor Buono). My opinion is that it is in keeping with the film's themes and story structure, and, since it takes place in the basement of the house, probably within its budget too.
After having watched the film on DVD since it arrived last week, I am still not sure exactly why I have enjoyed "The Evil" so much after all these years, but I still do. Maybe it's in seeing a rock that, with a little more polishing, could have been a gem. Cheers to Roger Corman's company for resurrecting it out of its tired and worn (and pan/scan) VHS oblivion and allowing old fans to see it like new, and new ones to discover it.
1978; 89 minutes; Horror/Thriller, Writer: Galen Thompson; Director: Gus Trikonis; Cast: Richard Crenna, Joanna Pettet, Andrew Prine, Cassie Yates, George O'Hanlon Jr., Lynne Moody, Mary Louise Weller, Victor Buono.