HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe
Victoria the Great
Dave Made a Maze
Desire and Hell at Sunset Motel
Prayer Before Dawn, A
Ragewar
Lowlife
Fashionista
Elizabeth Harvest
Moulin Rouge!
Free Solo
Mifune: The Last Samurai
Stan and Ollie
Girl in the Spider's Web, The
Up from the Depths
Guardians of the Tomb
November Man, The
Overlord
Sebastiane
Lifechanger
Circle of Two
Hell Fest
Oklahoma!
Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The
Vigilante Force
Haunting of Sharon Tate, The
Paradox
Peppermint
Sharkwater Extinction
Isn't It Romantic
   
 
Newest Articles
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
   
 
  Evictors, The This property is condemnedBuy this film here.
Year: 1979
Director: Charles B. Pierce
Stars: Vic Morrow, Michael Parks, Jessica Harper, Sue Ane Langdon, Dennis Fimple, Bill Thurman, Jimmy Clem, Harry Thomasson, Twyla Taylor, Mary Branch, John R. Meyer, John Milam, Roxanne Harter, Foster Litton, Owen Guthrie
Genre: Horror, Drama
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A slightly more obscure horror movie featuring the much beloved Jessica Harper, star of Suspiria (1977) and The Phantom of the Paradise (1974), The Evictors kicks off with a sepia-tinted prologue set in Louisiana, circa 1928. The gun-toting Monroe family refuse to vacate their home after the bank seizes the property. A gunfight with the local Sheriff’s department ensues, ending with the Monroe clan presumably shot to pieces. Then, in the summer of 1942, shifty estate agent Jake Rudd (Vic Morrow) sells the house to Ben (Michael Parks) and Ruth Watkins (Jessica Harper), a sweet newlywed couple who are swiftly unnerved to find a note in their mailbox ordering them to leave.

Ruth befriends a kindly handyman who tells how back in 1934, the previous homeowners died under mysterious circumstances, although viewers clearly see they were murdered by a psychotic redneck. Friendly, wheelchair bound neighbour Mrs. Ole Gibson (Sue Ane Langdon) recounts another incident from 1939 when a newly arrived husband and wife were electrocuted and burned alive. With Ben overworked at his lumber mill, Ruth finds herself alone in the country house being menaced by the mystery madman.

Great acting rarely overcomes a mediocre movie, but Jessica Harper and Michael Parks come pretty close. Easing comfortably into Forties garb (Harper, especially, could pass as a double for Jeanne Crain), these engaging actors deliver beautifully etched performances conveying the depth of love between the young couple and make them easy to empathise with. Ruth is no brittle scream queen but a quietly resilient woman who stays calm and rational even while scared out of her wits, and who loses none of her vibrancy in the aftermath of trouble. Ben is by turn, a gently masculine figure who never belittles his wife’s fears and stands by her, even though his biggest worry is ensuring Ruth is provided for should he be called to fight in the war. It is these characterisations that make the unfolding tragedy so gut-wrenching, rather than the hackneyed script or execution.

Although haunted house movies were back in vogue during the late Seventies, the film wrong-foots the audience with eerie noises and talk of a mysterious past, being more a precursor to the 1930s rural thriller Raggedy Man (1981) starring Sissy Spacek. The Evictors is perhaps too slow-moving for a modern audience and the repeated flashbacks are intrusive. Even though each storyteller strives to portray past events as ambiguous, viewers are given a clear view of the killer’s face. Charles B. Pierce relies on ghostly wailing and other eerie sound effects to gloss over his somewhat bland staging of the ensuing shocks. However, he does show a real feel for the period and the Louisiana region including supporting performers with authentic accents and ensuring that, far from being hostile, the Watkins' neighbours are warm and hospitable albeit wary of the house's reputation.

Pierce was among the last keepers of the flame of American regional filmmaking, juggling careers as cinematographer, writer (he co-wrote the Dirty Harry movie Sudden Impact (1983)) and set decorator (his last credit was on screenwriter-actress Bonnie Hunt's talk show) on mainstream fare with rural outings as writer-director. His Sasquatch-like docudrama The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) was a surprise hit on the drive-in circuit (Pierce went on to star as well as direct the belated The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II (1985)) as was his vampire film, The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976), though he earned a small place in bad movie infamy with the Lee Majors “bionic Viking” flop, The Norsemen (1978).

Pierce does mount a few suspenseful sequences, not least Ruth’s gripping confrontation with the madman and its tragic aftermath. The eventual unmasking of the scheming culprits is undone by a rather slapdash denouement, but the epilogue set five years later carries some unsettling implications.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1730 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: