Film Review: The Incubus (1982)

Release Date: August 27th, 1982
Directed by: John Hough
Written by: George Franklin
Based on: The Incubus by Ray Russell
Music by: Stanley Myers
Cast: John Cassavetes, John Ireland

Multicom Entertainment Group Inc., Artists Releasing Corporation, 93 Minutes


The Incubus is a film I found out about while reading one of Joe Bob Brigg’s Drive-In books. Strangely, this film alluded me in my childhood, as I pillaged the aisles of every video store within the boundaries of the continental United States.

It stars John Cassavetes who has been in much better things than this sort of movie. However, he adds a real sense of legitimacy to this film, even if it doesn’t have much going for it.

The story sees a bunch of women getting raped and murdered and while this is happening a teenage boy has horrible nightmares tied to the crimes. There is a lot more to the boy’s relation to these crimes than just simply dreaming, however. Cassavetes takes it upon himself to solve the mystery but his teenage daughter is put in danger’s way. Ultimately, the monster here is a demonic incubus but how it all comes together is fairly interesting and well executed.

This is a decently frightening picture, due to its subject matter and its visuals. The film feels a bit surreal at times but that is partly due to some of the great shots from the director. There is a really cool tracking shot where the camera is under a wheelchair moving through a house in a first person point-of-view. When the wheelchair arrives at a door, the girl in the chair can’t see the horror on the other side but the audience, peering under the crack of the door, can see what the girl in the wheelchair can’t.

The Incubus is a good film for what it is. The special effects are sub par but the film creates real suspense and dread and it builds a strong and effective atmosphere. The tone of The Incubus is perfect.

The movie also benefits from the fact that it isn’t as predictable as films like this tend to be.

The Incubus is a film that is better than it was probably intended to be. And somehow, it stayed under the radar. But this was the early 80s when horror films were a dime a dozen.

Rating: 6/10