I'm a sucker for haunted house movies. As a believer in the paranormal, it's one of the few subgenres which has the capacity to scare me, since I believe it very plausible that it could happen to me at some point in my life. So when I started watching 1978's The Evil, I was pretty amped up. The film is about a man who buys an abandoned mansion, with the intent to open a rehab clinic, but as renovations get underway, he and his team discover that the house is full of dark and malevolent spirits and entities.
The Evil has a lot of promise and potential but it loses itself as it progresses. The first ten minutes of the movie are excellent and set a standard that, unfortunately, isn't matched again. The script is very straightforward, at least until the end of the movie, and it's a quality that I appreciate. We are interested in seeing paranormal activity occurring, and that's precisely what we get. There's nothing frivolous or unnecessary added to the movie, and even though some of the effects are questionable, it still makes for a decent viewing experience.
But I wonder if perhaps the premise is a bit too thin, because the film feels very stretched out. The director struggles to maintain suspense as the movie moves forward, and I think it’s because the plot and script don't afford him enough material. At some points, I began feeling a bit bored, and I think it's because too much of the same thing was happening over and over again.
With that said, The Evil is still a cool, low budget flick, and one that should be seen by anyone who's interested in the paranormal. With good set design, cinematography, and score, it's worthy of multiple viewings, so long as you aren't expecting anything mind blowing.
What are some other lesser known haunted house films that you could recommend?
Krampus (2015): Writer/Director #michaeldougherty gifted us one of the greatest Halloween films of all time with 2007s Trick ‘r Treat and, a long 8-years later, he came back with another festive horror flick in the form of Krampus. The film is a fun take on Christmas “cheer” and focuses—for a large chunk of the film—on the negative aspects of the holiday: greed, less than well-loved family coming to town, and familial resentment. Thankfully, this passes the sniff test for a Christmas horror film in that it actually focuses on Christmas themes. Dougherty appears to be having good fun satirizing the holiday season from the word go with a hilarious credit sequence that shows retail shoppers at their absolute worst. The supernatural elements of the film are introduced slowly and from a safe distance for a large portion of the movie and this does a good job of keeping us in suspense for the inevitable confrontations that make up the second half of the film. While this is all good, the film might take a bit too long to get going but, thankfully, we are blessed with a solid cast to keep things interesting featuring @mradamscott @toni_colletteofficial @davidkoechner @emjayanthony #kristastadler and #conchataferrell all putting forth strong stuff. When the signature baddie—and a diverse cast of henchman—do fully appear, we do get a ton of fun sequences with the family members besieged by all form of twisted Christmas monsters. Dougherty kept the film at a PG-13 but there definitely some moments that push the envelope a bit—and that’s a good thing. The humor is prevalent throughout, however, which balances things out—although, it might not be as funny as it thinks it is. There are a few visual missteps during the more chaotic sequences where the camerawork renders things difficult to make out. This is a shame because the SFX work is top notch (Krampus, himself, is a sight to behold!). With a few flaws, Krampus is still a great Christmas horror and feels like an extension of Dougherty’s previous film. It’s mean-spirited, yet heartwarming, and remains a fun example of the sub-genre! #movie_mattinee @oscarwatchpod @samenightmovie