Beyond Evil

1980

Horror

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 9%
IMDb Rating 4 10 776

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 23, 2021 at 12:49 AM

Director

Cast

Janice Lynde as Alma Martin
Chuck Hicks as Hospital Attendant
John Saxon as Larry Andrews
Lynda Day George as Barbara Andrews
720p.BLU
875.17 MB
1280*688
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 35 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by wkduffy 4 / 10

Attack of the Special Effects!

I am a sincere horror movie fan. As such, I am extremely forgiving—indeed, my friends would argue I have no standards at all. To shake up this dynamic even more, there is a class of film that forgiving fans feel compelled to huddle around and protect because these "works of art" are so obviously vulnerable to attack—mostly because they suck in every way imaginable. Remember Robert Culp crazily running around naked in "A Name for Evil?" (Whoever says anything nice about "A Name for Evil?") Remember a coiffed Richard Moll attempting to navigate the discontinuity in "The Nightmare Never Ends?" (What dozen or so people ever bothered watching "The Nightmare Never Ends" in its entirety?) How about Trish Van Devere flitting about the badly lit sets in her housecoat in "The Hearse?" Technically, these films are inconceivably bad, plain and simple. They never really gel; they don't scare; the characters are flat or unconvincing; the lighting is poor; the sound is cacophonous; the plot convoluted. These movies always seem to be a collection of medium-range shots pasted haphazardly together—not an interesting angle or lighting effect to be found. These films don't even fall into the clichéd "so bad they're good" class of films.

In my mind, films like "A Name for Evil" are "TV quality" films (if we are talking TV quality of about 30 years ago, of course). In fact, the most effective way to turn me off from wanting to watch any film is by telling me it is of average TV quality. To me, that means artless, white-washed, vanilla, predictable, flat. I'm immediately disinterested.

Having said that, films like "The Hearse" and "Nightmare Never Ends" and even "A Name for Evil" almost supernaturally, are imbued with something greater than the sum of their parts. In the minds and hearts of truly forgiving horror movie fans, these films hold a place that they do not deserve; there's something about the "idea" of the movie—not borne out by the reality of the film itself—that exerts an inexplicable power. I guess what I'm saying is that these movies are never as good as the ideas behind them; but for some reason I, as viewer, seem to remember and connect with the idea, rather than the movie. Call me insane, but it is almost as if the movie doesn't matter. For example, when I spy the DVD cover of "Horror Planet" on my shelf, I think of the "idea" of the film fondly—even though I never really want to watch the film a second time because it is so poorly executed. I imbue it with a power it doesn't really have. And I'm fascinated by that interaction. Maybe I'm just nuts.

Now, having said all that, I'm not sure "Beyond Evil" quite makes it into that mysterious class of films. The ideas in this film (not the film itself) try damn hard to work their way into my subconscious…but ultimately the flick fails in that regard. The acting is adequate, even adequately inspired at times. The music by Donaggio is adequate. The plot is okay. But when it comes right down to it, I think there are three specific things that ultimately do this movie in—things that are so completely distracting, I can't even love the idea of this film, let alone the film itself:

1. Could You Repeat That Please: The film takes place in a large mansion, mostly. Here we get the "one Radio Shack mic placed in the middle of the cacophonous room" effect—often with more than one person speaking at the same time. Remember the award-winning audio in films like "The Ghosts of Hanley House?" Terribly distracting. As someone else also said, this movie is evidence why filming in front of an airport is not such a good idea—did you catch that dialog? I didn't. Planes are loud and noisy. Someone tell the director.

2. The Editor Fell Asleep at the Cutting Wheel: Something bizarre happens in the last 15 minutes of this movie (referring to the UK PAL R2 DVD). Suddenly parts of the film disappear—there are plot elements you KNOW occurred, you'd bet your paycheck on it, but they've been sliced to the point where the narrative starts to literally come apart at the seams. Once again, I am a forgiving fan here and can even appreciate discontinuity on some artful level. But this isn't epileptic enough to be interesting or keep me off balance. No, it's just that somebody let the scissors slip a few times, and the film falls apart—literally—in the last few frames. Why oh why?

3. Attack of the Special Effects: The effects in this movie, as other reviewers have adequately illustrated, are atrocious. Remember, I am a forgiving fan—probably much more forgiving than you are. But when you see something so low--that you start to think you might actually have standards of some kind—you know you've hit rock bottom. The effects are really at rock bottom. They are so bad, they chew into the narrative. While watching, I was having a conversation with myself (as the movie progressed) about how the ghost of the former owner of the mansion could have been presented so much better, and so much more simply. Glowing green laser beam eyeballs. Awful, awful, awful. The silly superimposition of the ghost character that suddenly blinks into life on a dark space in the picture's frame. Awful, awful, awful. I think of all the scary movies I've seen where ghosts were presented simply and interestingly and frighteningly without a special effect to be found. Why would adequate-director-Herb-Freed make such a bad, bad decision?

So there you have it. An unforgivable "TV Quality" movie where ultimately the ideas don't even float to the top. Too bad, too bad.

Reviewed by rb9589 6 / 10

It's not original or creative, or even scary, but it's pretty funny AND fun to watch, and also, the music is pretty catchy

Beyond Evil was directed by Herb Freed (you might know him from Graduation Day) and stars John Saxon as Larry Andrews, a construction worker or contractor of some sort who moves with his wife, Barbara (Lynda Day George) into a new home in the Caribbean. His friend Del Giorgio (Michael Dante) and Del's friend Dr. Frank Albanos (Mario Milano) - who adds barely anything to the plot except being a tag-along to Del, and a suspicious yet unfulfilled character - obtained the place for them after the owners died, and it's a damn castle. Of course, Barbara and Larry are taken with it, even after the tale of the owners' deaths. It seems that the lady who had owned the house was in a loveless marriage with her husband, who would fool around on her, and she practiced black magic as revenge on him. He ended up killing her, but not before she killed him too, and now the house is supposed to be haunted by the vengeful black witch. The hoodoo doesn't get to the newlyweds, until Barbara is possessed by the evil spirit, and then it's up to Larry to save his wife before it's too late.

If it sounds like a familiar plot line, it is. It plays out exactly like anything from The Exorcist to The Amityville Horror. While not original, it is pretty entertaining. I love John Saxon - he's a great actor and seems like a pretty cool guy. But one thing that gets me in this movie are all the flaws.

For example, at one point it seems like Del Giorgio is out to get Larry and Barbara. For what reason? Well, it would make sense to assume that Del is trying to break it off between Larry and Barbara, since it is mentioned that Del had had a fling with Barb in the past. It almost plays out - Barb is possessed, and starts making out with Del, and the audience thinks that maybe, just maybe, this vengeful plot arc will play out, only to find that Barb kills Del before anything can actually happen and makes everything suspicious that Del was planning a moot point. I just wonder if it was actually supposed to seem like Del was in cahoots with Dr. Frank Albanos, or if it was just something that I misinterpreted. Either way, I also found it weird that Frank was both a doctor and always at the construction site.

Which leads me to another question - what's up with the construction site? It's never really explained what's going on, and while it's not important, there are scenes at the work site where I was left wondering what exactly they were doing.

The movie's not boring - the hauntings are semi-dramatic, and it was fun to see Saxon almost get killed by a falling wooden idol, but much of the movie is really loosely pulled together into a coherent plot. There's also a witch doctor that Saxon goes to to help exorcise the demon in Barbara, but to no avail - nothing happens. There's also only about 5 deaths in the whole movie, but they're spaced out enough so that one doesn't get bored too quickly.

Bluntly, though, the movie has too many wordy moments and not enough action. And whoever's idea it was that possessed bodies are cloaked in, and shoot, green mist was a little whacked. Barbara seriously looks spooky - that is, until she becomes Superman with green lasers firing from her eyes - then it just throws the suspense all down the drain.

I will use a Playwriting vocab term here - deus ex machina. In Beyond Evil, Freed uses this to max effect. A little backstory to let you in on what happened here - Larry gets fed up with the wooden idol doll that he has upstairs and throws it in the river outside. Yet at the end of the movie, what magically apparates in the fireplace? That same idol doll. No one ever picked it up, or made mention of it, in the last 20 or so minutes of the film when it was thrown away, but it magically appears in the fireplace, and Larry burns it to exorcise the demon spirit from Barb. So basically, what happened was the writers got too confused as to how to end the film and decided that the easiest way was to miraculously place the idol in the fire to be consumed by flames, freeing Barb. It's a suspension of disbelief that just doesn't seem to work well, and it's pretty confusing, actually.

But hey - you could do worse for an hour and a half movie. It's not original or creative, or even scary, but it's pretty funny AND fun to watch, and also, the music is pretty catchy. So if you're in the mood for a possession, or John Saxon (that dreamy hunk, and here, he's pretty young) then rent this movie. It's not evil, but it'll have to do.

Reviewed by nuelow 6 / 10

Nifty low-budget chiller with some atrocious special effects

This is a fabulous low-budget chiller that features a great collection of energetic and enthusiastic actors--there are literally no bad performances anywhere--and showcases steady, focused direction of the kind that movies with ten times the budget are often lacking.

On the downside, the film features some rather laughable visible effects. In most cases, the filmmakers seemed to be aware that their budget limited what they could do--and they got by quite effectively with creative lighting, fog machines, jump-cuts, and other inexpensive movie gimmicks--but then they also decided to do some animation effects. These were passable when all they were used for were to illustrate whenever the ghost was up to something evil, but when they started showing laser beams shooting from the eyes of the possessed Barbara, the animation went from cheap-looking to ridiculous.

Despite the occasional special effects missteps, "Beyond Evil" is mostly a competently executed haunted house/possession flick. It sags a bit in the middle--where the voodoo queen flexes her supernatural muscle and things get a bit repetitive as Larry tries to convince the increasingly strange Barbara to seek medical help--but for the most part it remains an engrossing little movie that's worth a look.

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