I had to have come away sourly after the first time I saw tonight's review back in the VHS eighties, my usually unreachable teenage expectations of demon screen time and goopy levels of gore having been largely unrealized. I probably even brought the tape back on time, too, as I had a habit of doing whenever the movie didn't grab me. I mean, I must have done that, as I really hadn't watched this one since the Chachi-hair/fragstache days, not something I can say about too many horror movies. An unfair assessment on my part, it turns out, as Incubus contains some fairly moody and effective stuff, underneath the conventional crime drama vibe that's maintained throughout by an especially touchy-feely John Cassavetes and company, leading up to what's gotta be one of the better "Huh??" climaxes in genre history.
...hot enough to fry both your eggs out there, mama. Too late.
We kick off with an unseen fiend rubbing out an unfortunate pair of young lovers who foolishly decide to have a swim at the old quarry, and after using a rundown change shack nearby for prank's sake, which everybody knows, is never a good idea in movies like this, they end up rape-killed and clobbered with a bat with obligatory protruding nail, respectively, for their youthful folly.When the slimy new physician in town, Dr. Cordell (Cassavetes) isn't being creepy about his own daughter Jenny (Erin Flannery) or extensively rubbing people's faces during conversations, he's investigating a recent series of ultra-violent sexual murders that share the same massive vaginal trauma and unusually abundant amount of discharge therein. Cordell's especially impressed with the semen, for some reason, raving about it on several occasions.
S'okay honey, I had the rape-proof glass put in last week.
Meanwhile, Jenny's reclusive beau Tim Galen has been having livid dreams of torture that just so happen to coincide with the murders. His mollycoddling grandmother knows more than she's letting on, too.If that's not enough, the seemingly apathetic drunk that wears the sheriff's badge (John Ireland) has been staving the journalistic inquiries of a masochistic sex bomb of a reporter (Kerry Keane) off, and she somehow ends up romantically linked to Cordell, who may or may not have done in his own girlfriend in a jealous rage, mind you. If you guessed that she's a dead ringer for his old flame, give yourselves a pat on the back. It turns out that the Galen family were renowned for their witch-hunting skills, the last successful hunt transpiring some thirty years ago, bagging a sorceress who'd been impregnated by her incubus(!), the conception somehow resulting in eighteen year old Tim, who can naturally channel the horny hellion's line of sight while asleep. That climax that I mentioned before, occurs thereafter, and I'll leave it for you to experience for yourselves.
Thus, the riddle of Eddie Money's face was solved, once and for all.
You'll instantly spot Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson in a well glammy cameo here, performing with Samson. Director Hough helmed Twins of Evil for Hammer in 1971, and also the superb Legend of Hell House (1973), a haunted house movie par excellence, as well as Disney efforts Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) and 1983's Watcher in the Woods, with Bette Davis. You probably won't class tonight's review with the best of those titles, and the flawed script might leave your head spinning at certain points, but over all, it's still a pretty good time for genre fans, and as such, it earns three big ones on the ratings scale. Check it out...
"Relax, guys, John Cassavetes'll vouch for my sperm count..."