Tuesday, June 7, 2011

#305. The Evil (1978)

Directed By: Gus Trikonis

Starring: Richard Crenna, Joanna Pettet, Victor Buono

Tag line: "Witness Its Awakening"

Trivia:  This movie was shot in an old abandoned health spa and resort

Sam (Ed Bakey) is the caretaker of the Vargas estate, and though his job has never once required him to venture inside the abandoned mansion that sits on the grounds, he must do so today in order to clean the place up for the new owners. As he's sweeping the dusty floor, Sam hears a noise that sounds very much like children laughing. So, he decides to investigate. Following the sound down into the dank, dreary basement, Sam cautiously approaches the furnace, positive that the children are hiding inside of it. Yet when he throws open the furnace door, he finds nothing. Just then, fire bursts out of the chamber, and within seconds, Sam is completely engulfed in flames. Thus begins 1978's The Evil, a fun, if somewhat pedestrian, haunted house film.

The new owners of the Vargas estate are C.J. Arnold (Richard Crenna) and his wife, Dr. Caroline Arnold (Joanna Pettet), who plan to turn the mansion into a drug rehabilitation clinic. Shortly after finalizing the purchase with the realtor (Milton Selzer), the Arnolds set to work fixing the place up. Assisting them is their good friend, Professor Raymond Guy (Andrew Prine), as well as several of C.J.'s former patients. Not long after they start, C.J. discovers a large metal door hidden under the dirt in the basement, one that's been bolted shut with a crucifix. Hoping to investigate further, C.J. pries the door open, and in so doing unleashes an evil presence that immediately seals off the entire house, trapping everyone inside. As the group works at finding a way out, the evil is busy coming up with new ways to kill them off, one by one.

The Evil certainly has its moments, even if most of them aren't particularly original. When Caroline first enters the house, she notices a ghostly figure standing in the doorway, which seems to be motioning to her. Startled, she looks towards the wall, just in time to see one of the wooden gargoyles turn and stare at her. From this point forward, The Evil will pull one familiar haunted house trick after another from its bag (such as doors slamming shut, noises that come from nowhere, etc), yet even if the film does lack originality, it still manages to make the most out of the "old standards" it so readily falls back on, often generating just the right number of thrills to keep you on your toes.

In fairness, not every scene in The Evil is a predictable one (there's a very entertaining cameo appearance by Victor Buono, playing the embodiment of the house's evil, that's undoubtedly unique), but these moments are few and far between. And yet I would still recommend The Evil; even if it doesn't offer anything new, what it does have more than manages to get the job done.


Anonymous said...

goodbye doctor i will miss the planet macabre horror reviews+ratings+recommendations + thanks for the really nice final episode + i am glad the fans got you back for one last time + it was an honor being a valued listener something lacking in the podcast world

oliver from uk

DVD Infatuation said...

@Oliver: The honor was all ours. In fact, if it wasn't for fans like yourself, we wouldn't have come back for one more! Thanks so much for the kind words...they mean a lot to all of us!

And thank you for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

Episode 15 was an excellent send off. I loved hearing that the Podcast had over 30000 women listeners. Sometimes I feel alone in the horror world as it seems like there aren't many women around.

Wyona / Canada

Anonymous said...

Could you let me know the percentage of listeners you have in Canada? It is something I am curious with to see how many Canadians support horror. Sorry for the dual messages.

Wyona / Canada

Anonymous said...

I just happened to stop by Planet Macabre to see the latest news and was happy as could be to see another show!!!

The fan episode was amazing!!!

DVD Infatuation said...

Thanks for stopping by!

@Wyona: I'm glad you enjoyed the episode, and I can tell you just from my correspondences with the listeners of Planet Macabre that you are DEFINITELY not alone! In fact, I would venture to guess I received just as many e-mails from female listeners as male.

I'll have to check into the breakdown of listeners in Canada. Those numbers were provided by Billchete, and I don't have them at my disposal. But I will certainly ask.

@Anonymous: It's always nice to get a surprise, isn't it? Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks to you both for your support of the show. It is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for a fan sponsored show. It is nice to hear that us fans actually have a voice.

Other podcasts should take notice from the start to finish of Planet Macabre. They could learn bunches.

DVD Infatuation said...

The bonus episode was our pleasure. Thank you for the kind words, and the wonderful support you and all the fans have given the show since it launched. It has meant the world to us.