The Incubus (1982) Review

A rapist is stalking the quiet streets of Galen. The town doctor (John Cassavetes) and sheriff (John Ireland) are horrified by the vicious crimes and perplexed by the strange evidence left at the crime scenes. The doctor discovers the attacks only occur when Tim, his daughter’s boyfriend, has nightmares. Is Tim responsible, or is there a more sinister force at work?

A word of warning to slasher fans. The rape scenes in The Incubus aren’t designed for cheap titillation like those found in a Troma film. These rapes are brutal. The screams of the actresses portraying victims makes the scenes even more realistic and disturbing. If such imagery angers you, then look elsewhere for your slasher thrills.

John Cassavetes is miscast as a small town doctor. His bedside manner includes yelling and slapping patients. It doesn’t matter how traumatized a patient is because he gives them all the same diagnosis, “You’ll be alright.” Still, Cassavetes is the best actor in the cast. Ireland just stands around looking helpless.

John Hough’s direction is the spark that makes The Incubus shine. Camera angles get stranger as the plot grows weirder. Writer George Franklin throws in a wicked twist ending, but fills the story with unresolved subplots and stale dialog. An incestuous relationship between doctor and daughter, the doc’s involvement in a lover’s death, and witchcraft are just a few of the open ended storylines. We never learn how the killer picks victims, either.

Even though The Incubus has a number of suspenseful moments and a crazy yet entertaining star, the brutality of the rape scenes make it a difficult film to watch. The film’s final blood drenched image carries the emotional impact of a punch to the stomach.



The Incubus is coming to DVD from Scorpion Releasing between September 2011-March 2012.

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2 Responses to “ The Incubus (1982) Review ”

  1. Good review. Most of the reviews I’ve seen of this seem disappointed that it isn’t a demonic Humanoids from the Deep.
    The autopsy scenes are one of the few cases of dialog making a film much more queasy than anything they could have shown.

  2. I like THE INCUBUS a lot, too, but you guys should read the novel. The movie is 180 degrees from it. Both are excellent, however. John Cassavetes’ doctor is only a very minor character in the book. The “hero” was completely excised from the movie. And, it’s more about biology, where as the Incubus is a person who actually transforms into this monstrous thing. The movie gives it a more ethereal origin, a entity residing in this kids subconscious, and the twist ending is handled much better in the novel. Having said all that, I STILL love the movie. Always will, and WILL BE upgrading my Elite DVD.

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