HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
Redeemer
Incredibles 2
Big House, The
Night Eats the World, The
War Bus
Back to Berlin
Leave No Trace
They Shall Not Grow Old
Dollman
   
 
Newest Articles
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
   
 
  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 1659 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
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor
   

 

Last Updated: