Incubus (1965) Review
Written by: jpjmoffett
Description: Demons disguise themselves as beautiful women to prey on people who visit a reportedly magic well. One of these succubi, named Kia (masterfully portrayed by Allyson Ames), decides that she wants more than just luring the damned into the sewers of Hell; she wants to corrupt and destroy someone wholesome, someone pure. Enter Captain James T. Kirk speaking Esperanto.
The Good: Everything about this movie is truly outstanding. Incubus is one of those films by which all other films are measured; it is that rare type of cinema that seems to spring to life directly from the subconscious images which we all share. This is the sort of movie that creates horror fans.
Shot in black and white in and around the countryside of Big Sur, California, the visual images are as mesmerizing as the story itself. Incubus is a magical film that transports the viewer into another space, another time. It is a complete world unto itself, replete with its own legends and mysteries. Even the language spoken by the actors is enigmatic, which turns it’s already subtle messages and moral nuances into a sort of pagan/alien poetry. Incubus is a haunting and beautiful vision of a film that lingers in the periphery of imagination and wonder. That its subject-matter is dark only adds to its mysterious allure. Classic film by any standard.
The Bad: The one thing that people are put off by is the choice of Esperanto as the film’s spoken language. Supposedly, writer/director Leslie Stevens made that decision to enable the film to be shown in a wider variety of festivals, but the subject is academic at best. The fact that it adds to the film’s mystique is all the justification needed. Aleister Crowley, as well as many other occultists, believed that making conjurations in strange tongues was an effective and useful means to bypass the filters of consciousness, and in that regard, the bizarreness of Esperanto helps tremendously to create a profoundly haunting space.
The Ugly: The only thing ugly I have to say about Incubus is that it can readily be found in the $1 DVD bin of the average grocery store- which is obviously not a comment on the film as much as it is a comment on our society. Incubus is a work of art and to think of it costing less than Britney Spears’ Crossroads makes me want to burn things.
Old School: Fans of classic, black and white horror films featuring the likes of Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, Jr. will definitely dig Incubus. It is one of the standard late-night classics like I Walked With A Zombie and the original Cat People. If you know who Ingmar Bergman is then you will love this film.
New Blood: Turn the PS2 off for 78 minutes and watch this movie. Stfu already and just do it - it’s a superb film and might actually make you appreciate horror more. On second thought, if you think Eli Roth movies are cool, just go back to the PS2 and forget about this one.
To See or Not to See? Rent, buy, pirate or con? Borrow a quarter off of four people and go buy this. It is an absolutely classic, beautiful film. OWN IT ASAP.