Mind Into Matter? – The Incubus (1981)

Tim is the type of person who remembers his dreams and of late, his dreams have been bad. In them, Tim sees a woman being tortured and he believes that said woman just might be his mother. Even worse is the fact that every time Tim dreams, a woman ends up getting raped and more often than not, killed. Much to the consternation of the local surgeon who is treating one of the survivors and the sheriff who cannot seem to get a grasp as to just who is doing the crime, they soon find that the answer may be more than they can handle.

The Incubus is a movie that features horror on two fronts, the first being that which happens to the various victims in the movie, most of which happen to be women and thankfully when the rapes take place they always happen off-screen. The second is the perpetrator who may or may not be Tim as played by Duncan McIntosh but is soon to be revealed as a demon, the titular Incubus as it were. Though it is a horror film, the picture is treated like a mystery for the most part as the supernatural elements only come into play during its final act. It might be hinted at every time that Tim has a dream, but it is only taken seriously when there seems to be no other sane options to consider. With the main story focusing upon the assaults that take place, there is a secondary storyline that delves into Dr. Cordell’s past where he may or may not have murdered his wife and one has to wonder why it was even put in the film as it goes nowhere, there never being a resolution. Also quite disturbing are the incestuous overtones as the ‘good’ doctor seems to be quite infatuated with his daughter which she seems to be somewhat aware of.

Played by John Cassavetes, Sam Cordell does not seem to like most people except for those of the fairer sex, whether his daughter or the local reporter as portrayed by Kerri Keane. Despite the man not being very likeable, Cassavetes does a great job of being the only person to see the truth, though his talking about ruptured uteri and overly large amounts of sperm, not to mention the daughter thing was just a bit too much at times. Joining him would be John Ireland as the sheriff torn between saving his job and doing the right thing with Erin Noble as Jenny, daughter of Sam.

With a good cast and a strong concept, the film ended up being kind of bland overall, director John Hough seemingly unable to decide if he wanted to make a horror film, a mystery or just pure exploitation and because of that, it just kind of wandered at times, lacking focus and direction. Altogether it was not a bad film, but it could have been a whole lot more.

3 out of 5

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