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Film / The Evil

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"Forgive me, forgive me, but you are an endless source of amusement."
The villain

The Evil is a 1978 horror film directed by Gus Trikonis, starring Richard Crenna, Joanna Pettet, and Victor Buono.

Professor C.J. Arnold and his wife Caroline have rented the dilapidated old Vargas mansion for summer. They start renovating the place with volunteers, and soon discover that the house had something evil locked in its basement after unleashing it unknowingly.

Examples in this film:

  • Antagonist Title: "The Evil" in this instance being the Devil himself.
  • And Starring: "and Victor Buono as 'The Evil'."
  • Big Bad: Satan is the evil force driving the plot.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. Sam, a Caucasian, is the first to die, Felicia is among the last.
  • Butt-Monkey: Felicia gets the worst of the abuse from the evil forces in the house. First she hits her head and gets a concussion while falling down the stairs, then the invisible demon tries to rape her while tossing her around her room, and finally she ends up electrocuted on the bars when she's startled by Mary's reanimated corpse.
  • Clothing Damage: Felicia spends the last third of the film in nothing but a trench coat and underwear after a supernatural force violently rips her clothes off in an apparent rape attempt. Raymond's shirt is torn by...something...lurking on the staircase.
  • Closed Circle: The house shuts its exits after Prof. Arnold removes the cross in the basement, locking everyone inside it.
  • Death by Irony: Dwight is an electrician. Guess how he dies.
  • Death by Mocking: Pete is the jokester of the group, and even pulls off the old "scare people by pretending to be dead" gag, and is surprised that people don't find it funny. Sure enough, he ends dead later in a failed escape attempt.
  • Demonic Possession: Mary's dog Kaiser becomes possessed by the evil and runs away to kill its owner later.
  • Evil Laugh: Supernatural attacks are accompanied by evil laughter echoing in the air.
  • Fainting: Caroline faints after she hears the disembodied evil laugh after Mary's death.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Satan, oh so much.
  • Fingore: The evil possesses Raymond while he's trying to saw through one of the doors and makes him start sawing through his knuckles instead.
  • Forging Scene: After finding Emilio Vargas's exposition-providing diary, Caroline sees a vision of a cross being forged in the fireplace.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Raymond gives a slap to Laurie when she becomes hysterical from all the supernatural business locks everyone inside the house.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Surprisingly coming from Satan, who refers to the cross used to seal him away as a "holy piece of excrement".
  • Haunted House: Vargas's ghost is still hanging around his old place to watch over the sealed Hell Gate and try to warn anyone about it who might get too close to it.
  • High-Voltage Death: Several examples: An electric cable gets loose from the ceiling, wraps itself around Dwight and shocks him to death. Pete fries while using another cable to climb out of the house. Near the end, Felicia gets a little too close to some electrified burglar bars.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Blue lighting equals darkness so that the audience can see what is happening.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Caroline saves Prof. Arnold from Satan's clutches by stabbing him with the cross that was used to seal him, which weakens him enough to for them to make their escape.
  • Hope Spot: Raymond manages to get out of the house, and starts joyously running away from it, only to suddenly sink into the ground beneath which has suddenly turned into quicksand.
  • Hostile Weather: Storm breaks out before the cast ends locked up inside the house.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The area where Vargas built his house was called "Devil's Valley" by Native Americans. Quite justifiably so, as it turns out the devil is residing there.
  • Kill the Cutie: Mary, Laurie, and Felicia, in that order.
  • Light Is Not Good: After going through the Hell Gate to rescue Caroline, Prof. Arnold comes across an area which is bathed pure white light. Moreover, when he meets Satan himself, he is dressed completely in white.
  • Locked into Strangeness: It is said tat Vargas's hair turned completely into white before he died.
  • Man on Fire: Sam the caretaker burns to death in the opening sequence when he goes to investigate a strange noise in the basement, and the supposedly empty furnace suddenly sprouts flames on him. Much later, Pete gets electrocuted and bursts into flames.
  • Ms. Fanservice: While under attack by a supernatural force, Felicia has her clothes violently ripped off, revealing her undergarments. Subverted, since she spends the rest of her screen time draped in a coat.
  • Peekaboo Corpse: Sam's burned body gives a scare to Felecia and Mary when they check a service lift out of curiosity.
  • Rape as Drama: Played with. Supernatural forces leave Felecia half-naked and throw her onto a nearby cot, but they stop there.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: And God help you if you open it.
  • Shock and Awe: A few characters get electrocuted and an attempt to escape by hooking electrical cables to the bars fails epically.
  • Super Window Jump: An inviting window opens its cover to lure Raymond into his doom, and jumps throught the glass without second thought. After his death, it repairs itself and closes once more.
  • Title Drop: Vargas's ghost admonishes Prof. Arnold by saying "I sealed the pit, and you released the evil!"
  • Token Minority: Felecia is the sole African American member among the mostly Caucasian cast.