Blu-ray Review: Incubus

How many memorable films does a director have to make before a director gets name dropped in conversations? I’ve yet to hear anyone say, “That reminds me of this John Hough’s film.” Which is a shame since Hough’s filmography includes Hammer’s Twins of Evil, The Legend of Hell House, Escape to Witch Mountain, Return to Witch Mountain, The Watcher In the Woods and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. That’s a pretty good weekend at the drive-in. Hough also worked on The Avengers TV series. Hough is one of those directors that you link his films in a backward trace. You don’t discover Hough and dig through his body of work so much as realize you’ve already enjoyed so many of Hough’s films. This is a much better way to discover an artist. So when Incubus arrived, it was a revelation afterward to make the connection backwards.

A teenage boy and girl head up to the flooded quarry for a day of private fun and swimming. But something is lurking in the nearby woods. As the sun comes down so does trouble. The couple are brought to the hospital with the boy dead and the girl in shock with internal organ damage. Across town Tim Galen (Duncan McIntosh) wakes up from a horrifying nightmare. He’s had the nightmare before, but his grandmother (Visiting Hours‘ Helen Hughes) tells her it’s nothing. He needs to focus on the fact that he’s dating Jenny Cordell (Erin Noble). Her dad is the town doctor (Rosemary’s Baby‘s John Cassavetes) who is treating the girl from the quarry. Very quickly this escalates when a librarian gets attacked and killed. The doctor discovers she has the same internal injuries. Laura Kincaid (Spasms‘ Kerrie Keane) wants to help the doctor find the killer. She believes it’s tied to Satanism. While he’s not quite believing it, things get even weirder that makes him not so skeptical.

Incubus is fine film that makes you think you’re watching a slasher film until you realize it’s a supernatural thriller. Cassavetes keeps it from being a formula body count flick with his performance. He’s not just reading lines and poking bodies with a stick. He gives a complicated character who sticks out amongst the carnage. There is a lot of carnage as the creature attack the sweet folks of the kind town. Director John Hough really does his finest during a scene when a victim gets killed in a bathroom during a heavy metal band’s performance. Incubus just pulls you in with the bloodbath and you stick around to solve the mystery. Hopefully after you watch Incubus, you’ll mention John Hough in a film conversation.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks great with plenty of details in the high resolution. The folks at Vinegar Syndrome apologize that they could only find a release print for reel 4 so it’s not as good as the other. But they do a fine enough job so the footage doesn’t look too different. The audio is DTS-HD MA Mono with the levels fine and clear. The heavy metal music is mixed to match the scream of the victim. The film is subtitled.

DVD with all the features of the Blu-ray.

From the Horror Through the Television (26:39) sits down with director John Hough. He recounts growing up in a poor section in England. He wanted to make horror films that reflected the people he knew. But took a detour with a stock exchange job. He speaks of how the film and TV union helped train him including working on a David Lean film. He talks about working with John Cassavetes. It seems like the two of them collaborated in tossing out the script and reworking the scenes on the set. So in a sense this is Cassavetes’ true contribution to the horror genre without having to be the director.

Becoming the Incubus (21:02) meets up with actress Kerrie Keane. She speaks of putting together shows in her tiny village in Canada. She discusses how the script changed from getting cast to arriving on the set. Cassavetes rewrote the script as the production was underway. She enjoyed what they did. She got to hang with wife Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara. She just played Julie Newmar in a project.

Capturing the Incubus (27:07) allows cinemetographer Albert J. Dunk to discuss the production. He talks about having to keep up with a film that became a bit more improv than when he was hired. He was inspired to become a cinematography from watching a Behind the Scenes special.

Commentary Track with the Hysteria Continues! gives a lot of context for the film for when it was released. They point out how the film starts so that viewers thought they might see a slasher film.

Theatrical Trailer (1:41) is a red band trailer!

TV Spots (1:48) shows demonic stuff is coming down.

Trims and Alternate Shots (1:38) lets you see the slate!

Vinegar Syndrome presents Incubus. Directed by John Hough. Screenplay by: George Franklin. Starring: John Cassavetes, John Ireland, Kerrie Keane, Erin Noble, Helen Hughes and Duncan McIntosh. Rated: Rated R. Running Time: 92 minutes. Released: October 30, 2018.

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