Monday, October 23, 2017

It's Not Incub-Me, It's Incub-US

Amazon Prime continues its war against Netflix's failing genre selection with a dip into the early '80s Canadian demon rapesploitation. Sure, the films continue to look like someone spilled Dr Pepper all over the prints and wiped it down with a dirty rag, but least we can (mostly) see them!

Quick Plot: In the small town of Galen, an attractive teenage couple's lake date becomes a nightmare when an unidentified figure slaughters the male and rapes the female, leaving her just barely alive. New-to-town doctor Sam Cordell (a slumming John Cassavetes) is called in to save the young woman and, more importantly, help his town's head (alcoholic) cop solve the case.

Later that evening, a museum employee suffers a similar fate with less luck. When yet another young woman is found raped to death in the restroom of a movie theater, it becomes clear that there's a serial rapist/murderer lurking about, loaded with red semen and somehow mysteriously connected to a young man named Tim, who also happens to be Sam's daughter Jenny's boyfriend. Could hot young reporter Laura Kincaid (Beverly Hills 90210's Kerrie Keane) solve the case while keeping her amazing perm?

Directed by Disney dark house John Hough (he of The Watcher In the Woods and Escape From Witch Mountain), Incubus is...weird. Perhaps it's the film's 1982 date that helps that, as this feels like an odd hybrid of a seedy ‘70s horror trickling into something more standard.

Take, for instance, Sam’s relationship with his teenage daughter Jenny. The film drops some super creepy hints that there’s some serious incestuous action on at the start, only to slowly back away from it without any real resolution. In a slightly better film, this could have helped feed into the sexual madness of its title beast, a creature obsessed with procreation. In Incubus, it just sort of…goes away.

The other main issue with Incubus is that it never seems to find its center. John Cassavetes cashes his paycheck with a scowling performance. His Sam clearly has a history deeper than the film ever delves into (see aforementioned what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-his-daughter subplot) while the town’s history is never fleshed out in a satisfying way. The ending has a neat and nasty twist, but it doesn’t quite justify the fact that this feels like one of the longest 100 minute movies I’ve seen in some time.

High Points
Look, call me simple, but I’m bound to give any film a few extra points for opening on a young couple sunbathing with a score so blatantly Jaws-esque that you can practically hear the John Williams’ estate putting the paperwork together for an immediate lawsuit

Low Points
Is it just me, or is hearing the term “dry intercourse” on repeat in reference to supernatural rape a little unsettling?

Lessons Learned
Aging alcoholic cops can handle clairvoyance but draw a line at any form of materialization

A great rule of directing: if your film is dragging, always, and I really do mean always, insert a randomly avant guard music video when your audience least expects it

In some small American towns, the head surgeon also serves as the lead investigator in ongoing murder investigations

Look! It's --
A poster for Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things randomly sitting around the film's movie theater. Remember a time when a movie like that actually came out IN a movie theater?


Hey, I didn’t particularly like Incubus, but it has some odd touches that might still warrant a watch. It’s right there on Amazon Prime, so it can easily make for a different change of pace when the mood strikes you. 


  1. I watched this several years ago, and I didn't really care for it either. Probably because of all of the sexual violence. The multiple scenes of women being stalked, then raped had a high ick factor to it that after a while I was like "enough already, we GET it movie!" Yeah and the whole incest storyline was really weird as well. Actually the whole movie was pretty WTF, but apparently the movie was based on a book, so maybe the book explained everything better? I dunno...
    And I forgot that Kerrie Keane was in this! I remember hating her character Suzanne on 90210 for trying to scam Dylan, haha!
    Also the actress who played Jenny in this movie was also in Class of 1984 as Deneen, one of Mr. Norris' students who was terrorized (along with Michael J. Fox)by Stegman and his gang.

    1. Yeah, I'm almost intrigued enough to read the book. It's such an odd duck of a story, and I wonder if the incest angle came from the novel or film. There also seems to be a lot left on the table regarding the alcoholic cop.

      And SERIOUSLY: make a drinking game out of how often they say "dry intercourse" and you will not come out of this film sober.

      SUZANNE! Ugh, I HATED those years of 90210!