Sunday Streaming:: The Evil (1978)

Who doesn’t love a haunted house flick? The problem is some reach for subtlety and grab uneventful and long-winded instead. THE EVIL seems to know that it doesn’t have the mastery required to go the suggestive route so it pulls out all the stops and puts on a real show. This is a haunted house movie where things go down and they go down in your face (utilizing old school effects, thankfully.) It flirts with silliness and plays with many a cliché but you can’t accuse it of not delivering. RICHARD CRENNA stars as a psychologist who along with his wife and a merry band of victims decide to restore an old house with a troubled past. The group are separated and dispensed of one by one with the clockwork of a slasher movie and a man-eating lawn makes attempts of escape appear hopelessly futile.

THE EVIL was filmed in a real castle in Montezuma, New Mexico and, per usual, the utilizing of an actual space with authentic history pays off. Frankly, the location alone is more than enough to recommend this movie. THE EVIL is more frivolous fun than under the skin unsettling, but it’s not completely brain dead either. Unlike many a haunted house flick, it comes off as generally interested in the supernatural. An eleventh hour, from left field, appearance of VICTOR BUONO as Satan himself may leave a campy taste in some mouths but I refuse to throw stones at something so unexpected and idiosyncratic (the questionable reveal was reportedly excised from some theatrical versions). If you dig non-stop seventies era atmosphere or just have a taste for old houses in general then this is a must see that, despite its hoary nature, still throws some truly original creative curves. Watch it on TubiTV HERE.

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2 years ago

I have not seen the movie and TubiTV is not available in my country BUT let me just say how gorgeous that house on the first screen looks. It just drips atmosphere.

Dr Nick Riviera
Dr Nick Riviera
2 years ago

As always, Unk, thanks for the thoughtful and charming review.

But, counterpoint! I watched this for the first time back in May. My thoughts at the time were (cue flashback effect)…

Well, you could tell that they tried to take this seriously and make a good film. It’s always nice to see a late 70’s horror film centered around all adult characters. But this is a silly film. Richard Crenna is out of his element (did he even HAVE an element?) in a horror film. By the time Victor Buono shows up as the honest-to-God Devil we’re really in facepalm territory. There are many worst horror films from the seventies but that doesn’t mean that this one is any good.

So, mileage may vary etc.

Matt Sunshine
Matt Sunshine
2 years ago

To both Dr Nick and Unk, I agree…with you both. Does it make sense? Nope. How can I explain. Lance, as you typed “Who doesn’t love a haunted house flick?” Love ’em. Bring me more. Can we love ALL of them however? Especially when some of us are constantly searching for them.

This is the kind of movie that pisses me off. The Evil and The Haunting (1963) both actually. I love the houses. I love the atmosphere. Others seem to be fans and talk them up. So, why don’t I like them?

I keep watching them both, hoping for me to finally see what I’ve been missing. Hoping this time they will grab me and I will be adding them into my collection and watching them with eager enjoyment every autumn season. But it’s just not happening.