Every year, there are dozens of low budget horror films made in the US. But only one was written by Freeman Williams, a.k.a. Dr. Freex of the Bad Movie Report.
That one movie, that very special, special movie is Forever Evil. It is clearly a movie with one of the lowest budgets we've ever reviewed, so we have cut it some slack.
In the movie's first scene, we see a woman having her Tarot cards read by an amazingly hairy man. That man is Ben Magnus (Freeman Williams -- man, he can do it all!), and while reading the woman's cards, he realizes that something is wrong with the cards. The cards predict a visit by a dark stranger and death. He's not reading her fortune at all, but rather his own! Ben hustles the woman out into the yard where she is killed, either by a rogue hand-held camera or a dog wearing a mining helmet. Inside, Ben packs and prepares to get the hell out of Dodge, only to be interrupted by what Freeman describes as a giant Jawa. (Freeman can tell jokes too... Is there anything he can't do?) A brief and cheaply animated magical battle erupts, and Ben comes out on the losing end.
"Damn! Why did I write this part?"
After an animated title sequence which looks like it was inspired by the early Dungeon and Dragons computer games, we are introduced to a whole new batch of fodder... we mean characters. Chief among them are Marc (Red Mitchell) and Holly (Diane Johnson), a young couple who are trying to decide what to do about Holly's pregnancy. There are bunch of other characters too, but none of their names matter because everybody decided to spend the night in a (bum bum bummm) cabin isolated in the wilderness of Texas. It's not too long before a mysterious force kills Holly and everybody else in the cabin except Marc. Marc gets away after a brief altercation with a dapper zombie (named "Alfie," and played by Kent Johnson), only to stand in the middle of the road like an idiot, where he is hit by a car.
Upon awakening, Marc resolves to avenge the deaths of his girlfriend, their unborn child, his brother, and the other people who died that night -- right after he regains the use of his legs. Marc finds an ally in Reggie (Tracy Huffman), a young woman who had an experience much like his, and a crotchety-but-lovable police detective named Leo (Charles L. Trotter) who doesn't cotton to all this zombie nonsense. At one point Leo tells Marc a story about how he was at a party and as he looked across a crowded room and saw another man, "we recognized each other as... vets." What animal medicine has to do with anything in this movie, we're not sure. Then Leo says Marc has that same look, so presumably Marc was also a veterinarian as well as an inventor.
Marc finds the real script to Batman and Robin.
"Hey, this actually makes sense!"
Accompanying their pet detective to Magnus' house, Reggie and Marc stumble upon the history of Yog Kothag (don't call him "Yog Kathog"!), a nasty old god in the best Lovecraft tradition. Ages ago, Kothag was banished to a quasar far off in space, but has found agents on Earth who are helping him to return by carrying out missions of death in his name. Reggie and Marc's loved ones were the most recent victims.
While not the simplest of plotlines, you have to admire the sheer audacity of Freeman's writing. This is especially true when you consider the elements that were discarded: martial arts fights and their accompanying philosophy ("Focus your chi!"), actual development of the relationship between Marc and Reggie (in the final edit, they miraculously -- and ridiculously -- fall in love about ten minutes before the movie's end), and other such interesting bits that the film's producers were not at all concerned about keeping.
"I used to be a total pathetic
loser. Yog-Kothag turned me
around. Ask me how!"
When we hear Freeman talk about these intended plot developments, we are reminded of a scene from Bottle Rocket, in which a character talks to his friends about the incredibly cool robbery in which he is about to take part. The crime, he says, will involve things like "laughing gas, pole vaulting, and hang gliding." Freeman's original ideas for Forever Evil are similar in that you know such things aren't practical, but you want to take part in the making/watching of Forever Evil on the slim chance that these appealingly wacky plans might materialize.
The unfortunate truth is that those ideas didn't make it into the final cut of the film, and their absence negates any sense that the story might have made. A scene in which Marc pulls an axe off its chain might be dramatic if it were established that Marc is "focussing his chi" to summon superhuman strength, but as it is he simply yanks the axe off the chain and goes charging after Reggie's attacker. We're particularly bitter about Reggie's eleventh-hour proclamation of love for Marc, especially since their dialogue up to that point consisted of pining for their dead lovers or commenting on the activities of Yog Kothag.
The great and invincible Yog-Kothag
grants his disciples near total power...
One thing that does remain in the final cut is the gadget that Marc and his brother invented, a kind of wrist-mounted grappling hook "for mountaineers, rescue teams, firemen." We would guess that Marc got the idea for this while reading old Black Widow comic books. On film such a device looks kind of silly, basically because it looks like it would take off the knuckles of anybody stupid enough to strap it on.
Most crippling to Forever Evil is the project's lack of budget. There is a lot of talk about blood cults that are making sacrifices in Yog-Kothag's name. But other than one guy with an inexplicable British accent and the ghoul dressed like he walked off the set of Big Valley, we don't see any one else out stumping for the old Yogster. Maybe he should try a different employment agency.
There was an interesting idea buried in this movie, that of continuing the "massacre in an isolated cabin" story past the massacre itself. Where Evil Dead left off, Forever Evil tries to pick up, stumbling along the way. At least it looks like they all had fun making it.
Given the history of this film, there are bound to be those who will seek out Forever Evil to see it for themselves, perhaps hoping to impress others with their ability to take punishment from a bad movie. We encourage these people to buy it. But be sure you're ready for such a feat of cinematic bravery -- after all, it looks cool to jump through those hoops of fire, but sooner or later, you're bound to get burned.