Directed by Gus Trikonis [Other horror films: The Darker Side of Terror (1979), She’s Dressed to Kill (1979), Dance of the Dwarfs (1983)]
I’ve seen The Evil once before, but to be entirely honest, it’s been so long that almost all of this seemed new to me. There was only a single scene I even marginally remembered, which was perhaps one of the better scenes in the film, but otherwise, I don’t think The Evil really turned out that great a movie.
The main problem here was that the film was rather dry and none too exciting. I liked the idea behind the plot (as generic as haunted houses tend to be), but when the excitement starts up, very little of it really makes that much of an impact on me. I think that without the saw blade scene and the finale, this would be a lot more forgettable, but even with those two sequences representing, there’s not a whole lot going here.
Victor Buono makes a small appearance toward the end, and I sort of liked him here, but given the short amount of time we spend with him, he can’t lift the whole of the film up. Richard Crenna (who also starred in the similarly dry Death Ship) reminded me of John Ritter throughout the movie, which was nice, but otherwise, I didn’t find him that engaging a main character. Both Joanna Pettet and Mary Louise Weller stood out decently, Pettet playing a strong female lead, and Weller being the eye candy (especially in that red shirt).
Otherwise, there’s a bunch of people here who make virtually no impression, and we don’t really get to learn that much about any of these people. If you can keep their names straight, more power to you, but as most of them die throughout the film (and the exact people you expect to survive do so), I don’t know if that really accomplishes much.
I wish I remembered my feelings toward this one when I first saw it. Personally, I’d guess that I probably found it worse this time around, as the story and setting (a creepy, rather large mansion) do possess a small amount of charm, but I was pretty bored during this one. The Evil had potential, and I think that the film could have been good, but this final product is very much a lackluster one, no matter how fun Buono or the saw blade scenes are.
This is one of the films covered on the Fight Evil podcast. If you want to hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one, look no further: