Friday, August 20, 2010


Here we have a nicely underappreciated horror gem, long thought lost to history and now mostly lost because people see that it’s a horror movie starring pre-Star Trek William Shatner and assume the worst. Hell, just check out the trailer below, where they have a girl screaming right after Shatner’s name is mentioned. It’s a bit of a shame, too, as this is quite a good effort, weird and hallucinogenic in the way of the best Euro horror (yes, I know the film is American, now hush).
The film is set on an island where the water is rumored to both restore health and make those drinking it healthier and better than they had ever been. Of course this attracts a great deal of attention from those who want a nice easy fix to whatever problems they feel they have, making it easy work for the succubi who dwell on the island to seduce them and cast their souls into Hell. However, one succubus named Kia (Allyson Ames) decides she’s sick of wasting her efforts on those who are already 99% damned anyway, and wants to try the challenge of corrupting a truly noble soul, and against the advice of her sisters finds one in Marc (Shatner). Sadly for her, soon starts to appear as though her sisters were right, as her efforts to ruin him are being turned back around on her, due to the holy power of love starting to work its own magic on her.

It’s a very different kind of movie, not least because of how it’s the only film ever made in Esperanto. That, combined with the black and white cinematography and the isolated nature of the film leaves us in a murky grey area in which the film feels like it’s set somewhere in Medieval Europe (something like an old Bergman film more than anything), but somehow not completely. The film functions as more of a dark parable than as a standard movie narrative, with Shatner behaving like a total saint than anything resembling a real person, and I do find the idea of love being the most holy, evil-conquering power of all was rather refreshing. Not to get all political on my fledgling audience here, but it would be rather nice if more of the self-professed Christians in this lovely country would try to embrace the power of love and togetherness, rather than doing nonsense like, say, whining and protesting anytime someone tries to build a new mosque here. Just saying, you know?

Of course, I’m digressing just a little bit here. The film keeps things spooky and mysterious, with dark covens creeping through the night and women being struck blind by the power of Satan (the Incubus of the title, played here by Milos Milos a scant year before murdering a woman and then killing himself -- you certainly can‘t say he didn‘t get into the part). It’s a strange art-horror film that you can actually show off to people and feel good and superior about when they flat-out hate.

Come on, it’s in Esperanto. Did you really think your buddies were all going to love it?

Rating: ***

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