Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Gus Trikonis and Bert L. Dragin
What's it about
The Evil: A psychologist buys an old mansion at a bargain price and asks a colleague and his students to help him fix it up. Things are fine until a cross is removed from a stone door in the basement and Satan himself starts reaking havok on each person one by one. Their only hope of ever leaving alive or dead is the ghostly resident that built the house.
Twice Dead: The Cates family is thrilled to learn they have inherited the old mansion of the deranged, stage actor, Tyler Walker. They arrive to discover that the mansion has turned into a playground for a local street gang. But the gang is not all the Cates children have to worry about as Tyler's ghost makes it known he is not pleased with their intrusion.
Is it good movie?
These movies may say they're Roger Corman Cult Classics, so you should know you're in for some low-budget crap!
The Evil is a fairly standard low-budget effort that doesn't really stand out very much. It's nice to see Richard Crenna in a flick but he is stuck playing the whole 'what do you mean, the place is haunted' character. He's the poor fool who opens up the evil crate and unleashes it on the hapless inhabitants of the house.
Unfortunately, there really isn't much going on here. The dialogue is pretty crappy and the movie really plods along at a slow place. Everything seems to happen in the same place and although that saves on budget, it certainly makes things a bit dull to look out. I appreciate the old-school mentality of the scares being the things off the screen rather than on it but I had trouble finishing this one.
On top of that, this film features a head-smackingly bizarre conclusion that involves a literal human incarnation of the devil in Victor Buono (!) who is haunting the house for some reason. For that to be the payoff for the entire film really doesn't help.
Twice Dead was a much more fun film, perhaps because it's in the eighties slasher style which is just more entertaining to watch. This is a 'family moves into the house of an infamous dead guy' movie and it is relatively enjoyable. This time, the family needs to get rid of the unwanted squatters, a hilarious looking gang of thugs who just won't beat it.
There's a lot of blood and boobs in this movie and it doesn't take itself seriously. It kind of reminded me of a cross between The Warriors and Home Alone. And it has Todd Bridges in it! (briefly, in hilarious apparel) The whole ghost aspect of this one is downplayed though, as Tyler Walker's ghost is mostly a background character. The bulk of this film is the bigger gang who really torment the children of the house, Scott and Robin (they even try to RAPE Robin!). Tyler's ghost ends up being more of a savior than anything else, offing the bad guys.
This movie is pretty hilarious and complete schlock. There's some good, inventive and memorable kills. The movie is horribly acted and a riot to watch throughout. It's awful, but it's pure entertainment.
Video / Audio
Both films are presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and look pretty good, considering how old and crappy they are.
Audio comes in Dolby Digital 2.0 and is relatively unimpressive and dull.
The Evil has a commentary track by director Gus Trikonis, writer Donald Thompson, and cinematographer Mario Di Leo with moderator Walter Olsen, who barely seem to remember the movie. They do have some interesting things to say about making a movie for nothing, but this isn't a thrilling track.
Twice Dead has a commentary track featuring director Bert Dragin and star Tom Bresnahanwith moderator Walter Olsen, and you could essentially repeat what I said above for this one, although these guys talk a lot more about 'where are they now' than the other track.
Interview with Jill Whitlow runs about 13 minutes long and speaks with the actress about her whereabouts and the rest of her film career. She was awesome in Night of the Creeps!
You'll also find a theatrical trailer and TV spot and if you want to, you can watch these as a double feature in the Roger Corman Experience which sandwiches trailers for other Corman produced flicks like Death Race 2000 and Kingdom of the Spiders. Neat touch.
Although I didn't enjoy The Evil very much, Twice Dead was a forgettable piece of horror fluff that I got off on. The presentation is decent and the discs actually have some extras, so that's about all you could ask for. B movie lovers, rejoice!