The Evil (1978)

evil poster 1978 movie richard crenna
3.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 5/10

Some ok special effects


Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Evil

Studio:  Rangoon

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  May 5, 1978

MPAA Rating:  R


Casper just wants to give you a hug!

C.J. Arnold (Richard Crenna) and his wife Dr. Caroline Arnold (Joanna Pettet) are planning to open a new rehabilitation center in a remote home.  The house has been known by neighbors as home of evil and the dark history of the house stretches for years.  When C.J. unwittingly unleashes the bond containing the evil by removing an old cross, the evil is no longer limited in its power.  C.J. and his group become trapped in the house with the evil growing and manifesting itself in stronger and stronger attacks…and the only escape may be death!


That last steps is a doozy!

Directed by Gus Trikonis, The Evil is a low-budget haunted house horror film.  The movie was released on DVD as part of the Roger Corman Cult Classic Double Feature along with Twice Dead from 1988.

The Evil is just one of those generic ’70s horror films.  With hauntings and horror films being hot property, tons of duplicate movies were an obvious result.  With a low budget and a known star in Richard Crenna, The Evil underwhelms.


Could it be…SATAN!!!!

The story of The Evil just isn’t inspiring enough.  The generic “build on bad ground” storyline has been used for years.  The movie feels lot like Burnt Offerings and had similar tones and themes…but with less build up and style.  I think that the director and writer had good intentions but just missed the mark with generic “ghost/demon” stuff, no bankable monster, and bad horror tropes with attacks and rapes (in which the only minority character is attacked…another lazy plot device).

The movie doesn’t have much of a bankable cast.  Richard Crenna was known for The Real McCoys and other films but had pretty much fallen into the go-to-guy for generic leads, and Joanna Pettet also had similar acting past to Crenna.  In a short ending sequence, character actor Victor Buono hams it up as the Devil.  The rest of the cast is made up of mostly one hit wonders (if that) and it shows.


I’m going to kill my agent!!!

The visuals for the movie are generally quite generic but do have a few moments.  Some of the make-up was good and the man catching firing and falling was also pretty good looking for the low budget.  Unfortunately for every good effect there was a horrible effect.  The movie ends in a bizarre white room sequence where the Devil appears…and the movie just randomly ends.  The film seemed to also really like to make characters sparkle before they died…it was quite cheesy.

The Evil is a really, really basic horror film with not enough scares.  I think you can probably do better than this movie.  If it were for some excessive violence, you probably would believe that this had been a made for TV horror film…but many of those are better.  The Evil should have stayed locked up.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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