CampBlood Reviews: Senseless Rants from a Picky Sissy


The Incubus John Hough 1981

Planned Parenthood: The Demon Years

Here’s a tip, kiddies: don’t watch movies predicated on demon rape when you’ve got a crushing headcold and have self-medicated with vodka and General Tso’s Chicken.

The Incubus is a curious sort of disaster – the kind that takes down everyone in its path indiscriminately and yet afterward leaves hardly a ripple in the communal pool, fading into memory so quickly that you hardly remember watching it a mere 36 hours after having done so. Boasting a career-negating performance by godfather of independent cinema John Cassevettes, gorgeous photography, and some genuinely disturbing attacks on an impressive assortment of late-seventies-fabulous women, The Incubus is just about as nasty a view of the reproductive act as you can imagine, and therefore worth celebrating here in these pages as we work ever diligently in toppling the heterosexual paradigm.

Of course, I kid. I have no intentions with this site beyond getting a free pass to a screening every now and then – political and social upheaval is something I’ll leave to ACT UP and Jackass. But I would be remiss in failing to mention that The Incubus manages to make the act of fertilization the locus of pure terror, which is presented in the absence of any positive, healthy representations of heterosexual, procreative power. Translation: they make straight sex look disgusting to everybody.

Patriarch (and impotent, feminized “hero”) Cassavettes is either drunk or having one of a series of panic attacks throughout the entire film and has a decidedly unhealthy attachment to his daughter Jenny (Erin Flannery, looking like an elf from one of those creepy Bill Keane paintings). The budding teens Jenny and Tim (Duncan McIntosh – Christ, did the Irish Nationalization Foundation have money in this fucking movie?!) find their developing relationship torn to shreds by allegations of murder, brutal nightmares, and severe mental instability on the part of Tim (their deepening relationship coincides with the sexual attacks in the community). And there seems to be not a single “normal”, complete family in the entire town – the community is filled with adopted children, broken homes, dead relatives, and distant relations (there are many mentions of victims being nieces, cousins, and other once-removed relatives).

The somewhat disjointed plot revolves around a series of brutal rapes and murders that leave local townswomen ravaged and filled with preposterous amounts of sperm – either the NBA is hosting a training camp at the local oyster bar, or there’s a demon on the loose hellbent on spooging to death every woman it can get its hairy paws on. Meanwhile the local drunk – I mean, doctor – Sam (Cassavettes) is having trouble dealing with the developing sexuality of his daughter Jenny, especially when he sees her naked and obviously enjoys it. Add in a dead mother, a dead wife, and a lingering goodnight kiss that will make your testes suck up into your body cavity, and you’ve got all the makings of a Lifetime movie called “Her Heart Belonged to Daddy”.

Another meanwhile, local orphan Tim (who has been raised by his grandmother/aunt/something-or-other, played by pickled old bitch-in-residence Helen Hughes) is having nightmares about a medieval torture chamber where a woman is being pulled on the rack by a bunch of hooded figures. Oddly, whenever he has this dream, women are brutally violated. Not surprisingly, this disturbs him a bit, and he becomes convinced that he is responsible for the rape-deaths. Meanwhile meanwhile meanwhile, a trashy journalist with woofed-out hair (Kerrie Keane) is sniffing around the murder scenes and printing defamatory details in the local paper, much to the dismay of the utterly ineffectual chief of police (John Ireland, astral-projecting in his performance from his house in Boca Raton).

Now, I know what you’re thinking – the only thing that this film needs to achieve true hotness is a scene that takes place at a laser light-show rock opera. And voila! In a completely unexpected turn of events, this tiny New England village is host to a midday rock concert at the local bijou the likes of which are normally only found in, well, horribly misguided thrillers from the early 80’s. There is absolutely nothing to explain how this town could harbor enough Rush fans to support such a display of tacky powerballad bravura, and yet there it is as the setpiece for a fairly humiliating toilet-murder.

So let’s do an inventory check, shall we? We’ve got an inebriated lead actor playing a single father with incestuous tendencies, an elfin daughter who’s canoodling with a young man who thinks he’s a murderer, a demon from hell who is fucking half the women in the village to death and filling them with red semen, and a rock opera. Did I mention that the town library looks like the lobby of a Medieval Times? Or that Cassavettes has blotches on his face that appear and disappear from scene to scene? But wait – the greatest atrocity is yet to come:

Oh yeah – “Spoiler”…

Kerry Keane is a MAN, baby! Yes, in just about the only remaining possible display of tackiness available to this creative team, they decide to make the “mystery demon” a woman. Yes, an Anchorwoman in Peril has been porking the living shit out of the townswomen with her gigantic demon phallus, and loading them with pints of demon semen. "Demon Semen" – that’d be a great name for a band... Anyway, this Chick avec Dick is apparently Tim’s long-lost sister or some shit – the resolution makes not a lick of sense – and has been tucking-and-taping her murderous man-meat under her fabulously flowing wrap-dresses in-between fuckmurders, and then publishing graphic accounts of her crimes in the paper, effectively drawing a heap of attention to them (?!).

This is just stupid, people. The ending is supposed to be devastating, with wee Jenny being plowed to death by this lady reporter (thank GOD we don’t actually have to witness it on-screen) and Sam realizing too late that he has been fingering the wrong perp the whole time (although one has to wonder if he’s not more upset that he won’t be fingering Jenny anymore). In the end, we’ve been exposed to a horribly disheveled potpourri of incest, rape, gender confusion, murder, and drunken Irish luck that would be interesting were it not so damned sloppy.

In all, kind of embarrassing, occasionally engaging, and pretty disastrous in the end. In other words, A Must-See!

Rating (out of 5):