The Incubus (1982) He is the Destroyer!

Once upon a time, one of my favorite video stores was closing and selling off its stock and so I went to feed upon its carcass like a slobbering vulture. I had a limited amount of funds and so many a Sophie-esque choice was made that day, one of which would come to haunt me in shameful, near psychotic ways. My haul was to be complete after one final DVD decision. I could either get AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS (1973) or THE INCUBUS (1982). I had not seen the former and I owned the latter on VHS and so in the spirit of open mindedness and expanding my horizons, I left doe-eyed THE INCUBUS behind. What kind of a person does that? A fool.

As it turned out I had severely underestimated my love for THE INCUBUS and richly overestimated my giving a crap about AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS! In order to rectify the situation, I jumped over to Amazon to rescue my mistake only to find it out of print with its price tag soaring by the minute! To buy it at three or five times the amount that I had recently snubbed my nose at was impossible! I was an idiot and suddenly my life was incomplete. There was a hole in my heart that went all the way to China and that howling abyss could only be filled by one thing. It was as if I had lost a leg in a war and was now cursed with a phantom ghost leg except for the war and the leg part. (Please note that while all of this nonsense is going on there are actual real tragedies taking place all over the world.)

What was wrong with me? By my calculations this behavior was the exact opposite of Zen. I was acting like one of those horrible record troll people who hang off of cardboard boxes at garage sales with crazed looks in their eyes prepared to strangle anyone who gets in the way of their precious Gollum prize! I had to snap out it. I had to stop checking Amazon every week with the sole purpose of torturing myself! Why was my sense of well being tied to something so trivial and why did I feel like I had somehow betrayed a part of my youth? I’m not what I own and yet I can’t help thinking nobody deserves to have this DVD more than me! I might have just stopped the madness and bought it at any price but you know…you just know… as soon as I did that it would become available again and I’d be a chump again.

I had to get off the merry go round and so I gave up. The dust settled, the cuckoo went back in the clock… and soon, as predicted, THE INCUBUS was rereleased on DVD! See miracles really do happen when you set your sights low and happen to be the pettiest person on Earth! I even waited (the hubris!) for a used copy and got it super cheap! Victory was finally mine! It came in the mail and I welcomed it with open arms and I was contented for exactly one second! Hooray for me.

I really do like THE INCUBUS more than I lead on in THIS review. Now that we’ve been through the ringer together our relationship has grown even stronger. It’s got some hammy acting, at least one instance of truly horrendous dialogue (I don’t want tenderness!) and a less than stellar script (based upon a book that probably shouldn’t have been adapted in the first place) but Lord love a duck, the general vibe of it sings my wretched song. How are you are not going to love this perfect bubble of time when the eighties were becoming the eighties but were not all bright and wacky yet? Is there anything better than a movie that wants to be a slasher and a gothed-out supernatural tale at the same time? I want to be both those things too!

I know some folks find this movie super sleazy on account of all of the wall-to-wall demon rape going on. I guess it is but it’s all presented as so grim and depressing that it’s hard for me to see it as exploitive. Personally, I’m more interested in the oppressive wall of monstrous sexual angst I believe it shares with the same year’s AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION and THE BEAST WITHIN. Seriously, what is it with that year? Where the planets aligned in some specific way? Anyway, in my book, director JOHN HOUGH is criminally underappreciated. He’s done great stuff (TWINS OF EVIL, LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, the excellent AMERICAN GOTHIC), some noteworthy stuff (WATCHER IN THE WOODS, the WITCH MOUTAIN movies) and even a lovable stinker (HOWLING 4: THE ORIGINAL NIGHTMARE). Really, what DVD collection is complete without all of his movies? Oh no.

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Amanda By Night
Amanda By Night (@amanda-by-night)
8 years ago

A few thoughts I had while reading this review:

1. I love any review that uses the word “hubris.” Well played, Unk.

2. Years and years ago when I was still living in Las Vegas, a good friend of mine was walking around the desert (!) and found a box full of beta tapes. This was well passed the beta stage but pre-DVD… anyway, he threw out the movies but gave me several of the boxes, including one for And Now the Screaming Starts. I actually tacked it up on my bedroom wall, and spent countless hours staring at it with joy. I did see the movie sometime later and thought it wasn’t as cool as its box art. You live and learn, right?

3. I STILL have not seen Incubus and had no idea it was on DVD. Life is crazy.

4. I adore you guys.

Chuckles72 (@chuckles72)
8 years ago

Ah, The Incubus….. This one scared the crap out of my sophomore year college roommate. We were not getting along at the time and I secretly reveled in his fear – the guy was up all night with the heebie jeebies! I could not understand what he was so afraid of – seemed pretty cheesy to me.

ozne (@ozne)
8 years ago

I don’t recall ever seeing this one but it could be I saw it when it came out. I’ll have to check it out and see if any memories surface. It looks really good. Thanks for the recommendation.

By the way, another movie with a similar title worth seeing is “Incubus (1966)” with William Shatner. I really like how everyone speaks Esperanto. It just gives the movie an other-worldly vibe.

Atomx11 (@atomx11)
8 years ago

Ah, yes… 1982 always get my vote as one of the greatest years for movie releases.
JC’s The Thing, Creepshow, Poltergeist, Halloween III, Q the Winged Serpent, Cat People, Friday the 13th III, Beast Within, White Dog, Visiting Hours, Amityville II, plus (although not horror) First Blood, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, etc…
Ahh, what a year!!! My 17 year old son often remarks how lucky I was to have grown up in the 80’s and I can’t disagree.
Again, thanks for the great site, I enjoy the nostalgia, plus I get plenty of ideas for movies I’ve missed/never seen throughout the years. Keep up the great work.

gcg (@gcg)
8 years ago

My dad brought me to see this on a double bill with Horror Planet at a movie theater that specialized in disreputable double feature cinema. He was oddly blithe about taking me to horror films, whereas I recall him attempting to cover my eyes at the cunnilingual interlude during Eating Raoul, probably because my mom was with us. Yuck!–consensual sex. Yay!–demon rape. He did refuse to see the second feature after the respectable presence of John Cassavetes and John Ireland failed to compensate for the dreary sleaze; judging by the poster’s appearance, I think he was expecting The Changeling redux. I was crushed when he made us leave. Horror Planet (Inseminoid), as it turns out, is an Alien rip-off that I still haven’t seen to this day. And I haven’t seen The Incubus since that night in the theater. I remember one thing about the movie: a dream sequence, I think, during which a big hairy spider falls slowly into a woman’s gaping mouth. Is this an accurate memory, or did I, in fact, have this dream?

gcg (@gcg)
8 years ago

Ah! Thanks for clearing that up. (I think this qualifies as a micro-Traumafession posed and solved in two comments. Nicely done!) Clearly, my memories are confused.