“Evil Eye” (1975)
Studio: Emaus Films S.A.
Starring: Jorge Rivero, Richard Conte, Pilar Velázquez
Directed by: Mario Siciliano
Running Time: 89 min.
Synopsis: A man believes that his nightmares are coming to life.
This Italian horror film from the 70’s had some promise in the beginning with its dark imagery and giallo atmosphere, but then took a turn for the worst at the halfway point and never recovered. The film, also known as, Malocchio, has many different titles to it and probably the version that I’ve seen is probably heavily edited. Nonetheless, the film wasn’t that great and the only thing it had going for it was some creepy and stylish shot scenes spread out here and there in the movie, but not much to make it any good.
The film actually has a cool opening to it, which starts off with a cult walking through countryside with torches. It looks as if they were about the sacrifice something or summons the devil himself. We then see flashes of different clips of people who looked possessed. Then we see a wide shot of naked people standing still at first, but then they start to freak out.
After the scene with the crazy naked people, it cuts to this guy, Peter Crane, who wakes up from a nightmare. The camera then widens out to reveal a sea of people all laying around in his living room after a night of partying. Crane, who is a rich playboy, calls for his butler to tell all the people to wake and tell them to leave. He then walks upstairs where a beautiful naked woman greets him. I guess life couldn’t get any better for the rich playboy with tons of friends and naked women walking around your place, until he walked in his bathroom and found a naked man in his shower, ugh! You think that would be the worst of his problems, but now he starts to have nightmares that feel very real.
Things start to get really strange for him when he meets a woman who tells him she dreamed that he was going to kill her. The two end up getting to together for a drink and to get it on, but the woman’s dream comes true and something comes over Peter and he strangles the woman. After that, he wakes up and thinks it’s all a dream. He later is not convinced and thinks he’s going mad. He has a doctor lock him up and treat him at a local hospital, but some strange power over him comes and allows him escape from the place.
The film has more bad moments than good. Like I mentioned before, there is lots of great atmosphere in this film, but the story, actors, and plot twists just don’t work. The beginning is the best part of the film where the rest is decent up until the ending where it’s just God-awful. They are plenty of slow scenes and the actors bore me to death. There’s also a few scenes that just are confusing or don’t explain much. One part has Crane getting away from the city and driving into the country to rest. He has some car trouble and finds a cottage nearby. The husband and wife that live there just happen to know Peter, but he doesn’t seem to remember them. Not sure if these were people from his dream, or is he dreaming now, or he just has so many friends he just can’t remember all of them, I don’t know?
Then there’s Crane’s main girlfriend who walks around like a little spoiled brat for the most part and has some mood swings from time to time. There’s one scene that sticks out when Peter is at a breaking point with his nightmares. He says to his girl, “I need to get away for a while.” She of course thinks she is included and is full of joy and hugs Peter. She tells him that’s great and asks when they leave and then he turns to her and tells her that he’s going alone. She quickly turns her head away and starts to pout like a kid. It’s best to see it to get the full effect, but it’s just how she acted it out was kind of silly.
SPOILER ALERT: I hate giving away the endings to movies, but this one I don’t care. In fact its better you read it for that way you can avoid the movie all together. At the end, Crane starts a love affair with one of his doctors. She takes him to her family’s cabin in the mountains. The police, who have been finding the bodies of Peter’s victims are finally on to him and go out to the cabin to bring him in. Back there, Peter gets locked in a bedroom by some unknown force and the doctor is downstairs in the cabin while all hell breaks loose and stuff starts to fly around and windows crash open. The police never make it there because their car dies. Then after that they cut to a scene of Crane and the doctor in a car driving down a mountain road and then it goes off a cliff and explodes. Right after that, it cuts to the scene in the beginning where Peter wakes up in his living room with all those people laying around. Then the credits roll and the movie’s over. Okay, so I guess the whole thing was one big nightmare? That was really lame.
Evil Eye is a film to totally avoid, unless you want to see real confusing and boring cinema. For the few eerie scenes and some T & A, it might be worth a peak, but defiantly not worth a full watch. One of those films that is better looking at in fast-forward. It was a film that had the right tools, but just didn’t use them properly.