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The Evil (1978) - Blu-ray Review

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The Evil (1978) - Blu-ray Review

3 beers

It’s not the house!  It is something IN the house!

This is why, when looking at homes to purchase, I avoid considering much older homes to live in.  In my family, it’s not even up for discussion.  Watching the defunct furnace in The Evil suddenly spring to life and blast Sam the caretaker (Ed Bakey) into a burning inferno in the film’s opening moments is all I need to confirm my suspicions.  These haunted homes, especially ones hailing from the Civil War era, are to be avoided at all costs because, as is the case in this low budget thriller, the devil himself just might be living there.

Victor Buono (King Tut in the Batman television series with Adam Ward) as the Devil?  Sure, I’ll bite.  Come at me, The Evil.  What have you got in the way of spills and thrills?  With every actor seeming to wear a wire, there is quite a lot of dragging about that goes on in its 90-minutes.  Everyone gets tossed about to create an atmosphere where the spirits roam free.

"memorable as a late 1970s entry into the whole haunted house category of horror films thanks to its solid handling of low budget thrills inside a great location"


The Evil is not a total waste of time.  The buildup is rather interesting.  Eerie strings and early growls from a German Shephard named Kaiser leads to Dr. Caroline Arnold (Joanna Pettet) pleading with her husband, Psychiatrist C.J. Arnold (Richard Crenna), to cancel his plans to clean-up and refurbish the house as a rehab center.  She’s already seeing a white spirit in the house lead her around. This special effect is pretty cool and, as the movie goes on, the effect gets better and more interesting, allowing us to see a lot of detail.  

Pretty soon, she will be lead to an old book in an empty room in the house and begin to see spooky visions of the man who built the house many, many years ago.  Something or someone is trying to tell her something.  Meanwhile, the cleanup crew – some of Arnold’s prior patients – are hard at work at getting the house ready for its new career.

But something inside is going to put up one hell of a fight before that happens.  Its time of imprisonment is coming to an unholy end.

Director Gus Trikonis is to be praised for his expert handling of some pretty typical haunted house shenanigans.  Some of the scenes, especially when the group gets “locked” IN the house by an unseen presence, are downright crafty.  We get interesting angles, doors to the outside that won’t open, and a scene in which one of our actors is yanked back from the window by an invisible entity.

The Evil (1978) - Blu-ray Review

Before it goes all demonic on its audience, The Evil is pretty typical, save for a few scenes in which there is physical harm done by something powerful and invisible to the team assembled here.  It is; however, memorable as a late 1970s entry into the whole haunted house category of horror films thanks to its solid handling of low budget thrills inside a great location.  Shadowy figures here give way to devilish clues and so on.  Call them visions or flashes or spectral impressions.  Something here, in the battle of good vs evil, has left a permanent stain upon its history and it is dying for some company.

Co-starring Andrew Prine and Lynne Moody (who has a standout scene while alone in a room as she is attacked repeatedly), The Evil makes its return to homes this Halloween season thanks to Scream Factory.  Horror Hounds will want to watch this movie at least one time.  I mean, hell, it isn’t every day that you get to witness Prine saw his own hand in half or Buono make his appearance as the great horned one.

The beast has been unleashed!

The Evil (1978) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
89 mins
Director
: Gus Trikonis
Writer:
Galen Thompson; Gus Trikonis
Cast:
Richard Crenna, Joanna Pettet, Andrew Prine
Genre
: Horror | Thriller
Tagline:
Witness Its Awakening.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Don't question me. I have little enough patience. That "thing" shall be destroyed and you are going to see it done. Where is it?"
Theatrical Distributor:
New World Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 5, 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 18, 2018
Synopsis: A psychologist (Richard Crenna) and his wife (Joanna Pettet) buy a dilapidated historical mansion with a dark past in this terrifying chiller. Hoping to restore the estate and turn it into a drug rehabilitation clinic, he accepts the help of some of his students and current patients. But when a secret door in the basement of the house is opened, the malevolent presence within is unleashed, trapping everyone inside. One by one, they are picked off by the unspeakable terror that has awoken ... and the doctor learns that even though his name is on the deed, the house belongs soul-ly to The Evil.

The Evil (1978) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- September 18, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

With a new 2K scan of the original camera negative, Scream Factory gives fans of this little shocker something to celebrate.  The images are crisp and detailed and retain their edges.  Framed in a tight 1:85:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer is good, good stuff.  Colors are bold.  Shadows run deep and the crisp textures in the walls and in the backgrounds of this haunted home are focused.  The DTS-HD mono soundtrack is perfectly suited for the film. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • • Fans are treated to a cool commentary as director Gus Trikonis, writer Donald Thompson, and DP Mario Di Leo reunite to discuss the film.

Special Features:

Fans get a theatrical trailer and a TV spot.

  • • Theatrical Trailer
  • • TV Spot

The Evil (1978) - Blu-ray Review

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