Incubus VHS

Otherworldly Esperantics

Two blonde sister succubae haunt an old deer well, preying on foolish and tainted souls seeking renewed health and beauty in its waters. But Kia, the younger sister (Allyson Ames), is tired of her lot, and wishes to damn a pure soul for a change. Though she finds “holy men” to be as corrupt as any at heart, she finds what she’s looking for in Marc (William Shatner), a soldier recovering from war wounds with the help of his sister Arndis (Ann Atmar).

Marc and the bewitching Kia easily fall for each other, but Kia’s sister Amael (Eloise Hardt) soon convinces her that she’s been violated by pure love. The two cast a spell that calls forth the Incubus to wreak revenge.

Rather high-minded, but in all not that unusual for a 1965 low budget black-&-white horror film. The main novelty value – the thing that’s kept p-fans searching for this (until now) lost film – is the fact that it’s the only film ever shot entirely in the “manufactured” language Esperanto.

Written and directed (or “verkita kaj direktita”) by Outer LimitsĀ creator Leslie Stevens, it’s actually a very well made – even beautiful – little film, with music by Limits‘ Dominic Frontiere and cinematography by Conrad L. Hall. The sequence where the Incubus is called forth, crawling naked from underneath the ground, is especially creepy.

The idea had been among fans that the film was made for Esperanto groups to promote the language. However, producer Anthony Taylor has revealed that it was more a matter of new ager Stevens wanting the film to have a foreign atmosphere, somewhat like the films of Ingmar Bergman, but without calling to mind any specific locale.

For what it’s worth, Steven’s idea works – the film does maintain an atmosphere of being removed from normal reality, despite the latter-day familiarity of Shatner’s individual brand of thesping. However, it also proved a nightmare to market. The only country where it was released – to high critical praise – was in France, where this lone print was recently discovered and restored. It looks and sounds great, the only drawback being the necessity of covering over part of the frame to allow English subtitles over the French.

Found at long last, Incubus proves to be worth much more than a mere curiosity. Videotape copies are available in a limited edition from Taylor.

This entry was posted in Movie, Review, VHS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *