The Incubus was one of those sleeper horror classics that got lost in the shuffle of slasher films and blockbuster popcorn flicks during the early 1980's. After the film finally found its audience on home video, much was made of its "gratuitous" rape scenes, incestuous undertones, and misogynistic slant. With all of this focus placed on the film's "negative" aspects, what those critics seemed to miss was a riveting, expertly crafted, and ultimately satisfying motion picture that, thanks to Elite Entertainment, has been brought back to the fore with a lovingly remastered print and a chance to find a whole new legion of fans on DVD.
Galen, Massachusetts is a quiet, rustic community, where everyone knows everyone. Dr. Sam Cordell (Cassavetes) and his daughter Jenny (Flannery) are relatively new inhabitants of the close-knit community, but while Sam has consciously avoided relationships with his nosey neighbors, Jenny has become quite popular and is even dating Tim (McIntosh), much to her father's disapproval. When Tim begins having strange nightmares about a woman being tortured by robed figures, a rash of violent rapes and murders breaks out in Galen, and Sam, local constable Hank (Ireland), and a gung-ho newspaper reporter, Laura (Keane), investigate the possibility that these acts of horrific violence may be linked to Tim's dreams, the woman in them, and the dark history of Galen itself.
The Incubus is a fantastic combination of gothic horror, psychological drama, and good old fashioned thriller, with a fantastic cast led by the late greats Cassavetes and Ireland, and helmed by English director Hough, whose visual stylings here will earn him many fans from the Euro-shock crowd (the "wheelchair-cam" sequence is brilliant!). The film is quiet and very deliberate in its pacing, which may put off impatient viewers, but fans of the Hammer style sprinkled with tasty bits of gore and nudity will find a lot to love about The Incubus.
The DVD from Elite features a nearly flawless anamorphic transfer, save for some mildly grainy sections which were beyond repair and noted on the DVD's sleeve as such. The audio is 2.1 Dolby Digital, but is more than adequate, and sounds crisp and clear with no audible distortion. The Incubus is a VERY quiet film at times, and there is no audible white noise, even at very high volume, which is a testament to Elite's audio folk's expertise.
The extras, however, are not up to the usual standards of the company, with only a theatrical trailer. Given that the stars of the film have passed on, it's understandable that there wouldn't be much new supplemental material available, but a commentary by Hough would have been a welcome edition.
The Incubus is a terrific little gem that has been overlooked for far too long. Having not seen the film myself for several years I was surprised at how much I still enjoyed it. Definitely worth seeking out!