The Incubus

Year: 1981
Production Co: John M Eckert Productions Ltd
Director: John Hough
Writer: George Franklin/Ray Russell
Cast: John Cassavetes

One would expect this film to be a grindhouse classic in the vein of Zombie Holocaust or The Corpse Grinders, but it seemed director John Hough was intending to make a serious horror movie.

It can't escape the ropey effects and obvious budgetary constraints, but it's less about the ghoulish subject of rape and murder by a demonic spirit from beyond and a cool/schlocky monster than it is about the mythological being from which the movie takes its name and the stranglehold of fear it holds over a small town.

In fact, a review I read online that mentioned gratuitous nudity and gore made me wonder if the writer had seen any video nasty-era horror films. Despite the potential for trashy, campy splatter and exploitation it was decidedly understated. There are only a few scenes of bloodshed, certainly no worse than the torture porn movement of today, a smattering of nudity (none of it gratuitous) and no sex despite the teenagers throughout the cast.

There's also, believe it or not, a story. The reporter who falls in with the small town doctor (Cassevetes) will be instrumental to the movie in a way you won't believe and provide a truly shocking final scene.

When a young man with an enigmatic grandmother starts having nasty dreams about a demonic spirit that attacks women, a spate of rapes rocks the town. The new doctor is still an outsider, worried for his teenage daughter's safety as the attacks get bloodier and more frequent. The police are getting nowhere and the attacks start to look increasingly like they were perpetrated by something that isn't human.

The grandmother knows more than she's letting on, and with visions of druids and witchcraft plaguing the young man even as he dates the doctor's daughter, things are sure to go pear shaped as the town's dark history resurfaces.

The climatic monster is scary looking but its only in one scene and rather than being the actual monster (which we never really see), it's more of a mental allegory.

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