BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Evictors (1979) - Blu-ray Review

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The Evictors (197) - Blu-ray review

3 beers

Writer/director Charles B. Pierce (The Town that Dreaded Sundown, The Legend of Boggy Creek) really likes small town horror.  I don’t disagree with his tastes either.  I live in a small town – with no local police department – and, let me tell you, some of my neighbors, well, they can make the skin crawl.  And the noises one hears from the woods behind our house!  Nights can be pretty interesting around here, but none of it is as interesting as the eerie events in The Evictors.

Which is why Pierce’s cult horror film, about a demented family who refuse to let others live in the home that was violently taken from them when the bank foreclosed on the property in 1928, makes for a damn good thriller.  This is (sometimes) above average b-movie material, Horror Hounds, and Scream Factory – having just released the film on blu-ray with a new HD transfer sourced from the original camera negative – knows it has its fair share of fans out there.  I'm sure the cult following will continue to grow in response to this release.

You see, the story of this “haunted house” doesn’t begin with Ben (Michael Parks) and Ruth Watkins’ (Jessica Harper) purchase from their friendly realtor, Jake Rudd (Vic Morrow, who gets top billing here).  It begins with a sepia-toned flashback as an old-timey police car comes roaring to a stop out front of the Monroe house.  Bullets go flying into the windows and doors of the house as the Monroe family opens fire upon all the trespassers.  It’s an explosive couple of minutes that rattles the brain.

The sequence ends with a freeze frame; the horror as a family is massacred over the ownership of the house.  It is meant to give pause in the audience.  This is the territory of the picture.  Cross this threshold and Hell awaits. 

Fourteen or so years later, Ben and Ruth step foot inside the Monroe house and know the house and the property is EXACTLY for them.  They are quick to sign and move in, making it theirs.  They know nothing of its sordid history.  The know none of what the townies know concerning all the people who have owned the house since 1928 and, shockingly, what has happened to them.  They don’t even know why the people in the town won’t talk to them…

Because they know.  It’s just no use making friends with ANY person who moves into that house.  They’ll be gone soon enough, just like all the rest who reside in what the Monroe family owns.

The Evictors is low budget and it certainly is a little creaky when you first set foot inside, but the movie delivers some unsuspecting twists and turns that actually pay off.  Of course, we know – as we always do – a bit more than the Watkins do throughout the film, but the home invasion narrative holds enough back to be shocking upon its knife-twisting conclusion. 

And when Ruth, who faces night after night alone due to the demands of Ben’s job, starts getting “visited” by strange figures on the porch and inside the house, there won’t be a nerve left that hasn’t been rattled.  Shadows become threats.  Footprints are threats.  And Ruth is just this close to snapping.

With a limited use of gore to deliver its ’79 shock factor, The Evictors deftly hearkens back to another era of filmmaking in order to unsettle its audience.  Brazen suspense is the name of its game.  And it works to deliver an absolute shocker of an ending that will leave your mouth hanging open.  They didn’t?  They did!  Those bastards!!!

When The Evictors comes a knock-knock-knockin’ upon YOUR front door, good luck on finding sanctuary. 

The Evictors (197) - Blu-ray review

MPAA Rating: unrated.
Runtime:
92 mins
Director
: Charles B. Pierce
Writer:
Charles B. Pierce
Cast:
Vic Morrow, Michael Parks, Jessica Harper
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
It was a small Louisiana town where people live and love and die and no one ever thought of locking their doors... except in the Monroe house.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I keep getting the strangest looks."
Theatrical Distributor:
American International Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 18, 1979
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 27, 2017
Synopsis: It all began years ago, when the decedents of the original owners fought a bloody battle to prevent foreclosure on the property. They were never seen again, but their oath that no one would ever live in their house had led to a startling chain of events. Years later, the Watkins (Michael Parks, Tusk and Jessica Harper, Suspiria, Phantom Of The Paradise) discover the first brutal murders. In a panic, they buy firearms to protect themselves – but nothing seems to keep out the vengeful spirits. Now, a new family wants the farmhouse.

The Evictors (197) - Blu-ray review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- June 27, 2017
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The Blu-ray preserves the film's native 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer.  The Evictors, considering its age, looks pretty good.  There’s a substantial bump in detail and clarity that most will notice when compared to previous releases. The film often takes on the warm appearance of its Louisiana setting, and colors are nicely saturated.  Black levels are decent, though there's a fair bit of crush thanks to the mid-level 35 mm stock.  Wide shots are clear and crisp, and close-ups often provide good facial detail.  A lossless 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mono mix, which is true to the original presentation, is included

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None.

Special Features:

Nothing too tremendous to report here, but the vintage pressbook is interesting enough to sit through … once.

  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Vintage Pressbook Gallery
  • Radio Spot

The Evictors (197) - Blu-ray review

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