Incubus is a B-movie, with B standing for bad. One of the dirty little secrets of the horror industry is that most B-movies are bad. Off the top of my head I can only think of three B-movies I really liked: Dead and Buried, Night of the Creeps and Return of the Living Dead. I’m sure there’s more than that, but the bad far outweighs the good. However…I made a 2017 New Year’s Resolution to watch a certain number of horror movies, so now when I start watching a movie like this I will usually see it through.
Incubus is about a shape-changing sex-maniac demon terrorizing a small town. Our protagonist Dr. Sam Cordell lives in a Gothic mansion with his teenage daughter. The thing that struck me most about the mansion is the mind-blowing wallpaper, which makes me wonder if the set designer was dropping acid. Dr. Cordell’s version of doctoring consists of him grabbing people’s faces, which he does about every ten minutes.
Dr. Cordell might have been a sympathetic protagonist back in the early 80’s, but today…not so much. The best word I can use to describe him is squicky. We learn that after his wife died he married an 18 year old – about his daughter’s age – but after catching her cheating he fought with her lover and then got into his car and chased her down. It’s not clear what happened afterwards, but Incubus gives us several close-ups of him standing over her dead, bloodied body. Since the good doctor’s not in jail, he either didn’t kill her or he has a sharp lawyer. Incidentally, knowing this tidbit makes the scenes where Doc Cordell kisses his daughter – which he does a lot – take on an unpleasant dimension.
Dr. Cordell – who looks to be in his late 40’s – meets a woman who is the spitting image of his dead second wife. The demon’s rampage continues because the small-town sheriff is in way over his head. Jenny, Doc Cordell’s daughter, is dating Tim, who keeps having nightmares about his mother being tortured by monks. He thinks he might be the killer, and spends a lot of time running around looking sweaty. His grandmother tells Doctor Cordell that the members of her family were witch-hunters and tortured Timmy’s mother to death. That would have been around, oh, 1964.
Incubus grinds on. Jenny is alone in the gothic mansion all the time. The sheriff doesn’t institute a curfew. Doc Cordell’s courtship of the woman half his age proceeds. And then it ends. Incubus was made in the early 80’s, but it has a truly 70’s ending. This movie is unpleasant in so many ways, and you shouldn’t watch it. Even the wacky scene in the movie theater, where Bruce Dickinson (from Iron Maiden!) and his band Samson make an appearance, can’t save Incubus.