Forever Evil (1987)

     Director: Roger Evans       Hoff! Hoff! Hoff!

 

You've witnessed the terror of Clive Barker, Peter Straub and the Zuni Fetish Doll....now, meet the new face of horror!

 

Boo! 

Oops, wrong face.

 "Grrrr....."

That's better.

But seriously, folks, before I actually saw Forever Evil, I had heard some really bad things about it. There were some less-than-favorable comments on the IMDB, a scathing review by the always nutty fellas at Night of the Creeps, and last, but surely not least, I was even warned by the guy who friggin' wrote it!!

Needless to say, when I sat down to actually watch the movie, I expected the worst; but surprisingly, upon the film's conWhen you think Williams, think ACTION!clusion, I found myself somewhat pleasantly surprised. Don't get me wrong, Forever Evil is not good -- but on the other hand, it doesn't deserve the overly bad rap it's been associated with. For those who are not familiar with low-budget, independent horror films, it's easy to dismiss an entire picture based solely on trivial aspects such as picture quality reminiscent of a camcorder, or the actors not quite living up to the standards of, say, Keanu Reeves. (Whoops, bad example -- but you get my point.) When dealing with a miniscule budget, you can't afford the state-of-the-art equipment, the overpaid actors (see: Keanu Reeves), or anything remotely resembling CGI. You make do with what you have, and that's what the crew of Forever Evil (for the most part) did.

Our story opens with a tarot card reading between Mrs. Weinberger, a woman wanting to know her future ( Love! Money! Success!), Ben Magnus, the gentleman performing the service, and Dionne Warwick, who is moderating the event for a future infomercial. Actually, Dionne's not really in this, but it might've helped Forever Evil if they had cast a big star -- or if one wasn't available, Dionne Warwick. As everyone knows, when it comes to tarot card readings in horror films, the outcome is never good. (see: The People Under the Stairs and Dead-Alive.) Suddenly, Magnus becomes terrified by what he sees, and quickly escorts Mrs. Weinberger out of the house -- where she is immediately killed by a POV camera.

Back inside, we find Magnus packing hisLook who's talking NOW!! belongings in a state of panic. But unfortunately, his efforts prove all for naught as the door to his house bursts open, and the evil presence he detected from his cards walks in. So, what does one do when the epitome of evil bursts through your door? That's right, you try to shoot the bastard! But as we all know, shooting the monster almost never works -- but in Magnus' defense, at least he didn't throw the empty gun at it once he dispensed of the bullets. I always love that in movies. "My high-velocity projectiles won't kill him, but perhaps if I throw my gun...."

Moving along -- he tries to shoot the creature, it doesn't work, and the demon (after a hearty demonic chuckle) proceeds to blast Magnus with a bolt of lightning from his finger. (Must....resist...pull...my...finger...joke..) We then cut to the front yard, wild lights flickering inside the house -- making us assume that either the monster is electrocuting Magnus, or a spontaneous disco party has erupted within. And then, unfortunately, we come to the title sequence. Ouch. Highly reminiscent of DOOM, if it were designed for, say, Atari. A black screen with white credits would've sufficed, why embarrass yourself like this?!

Now we're at a cabin, in the woods, with an Evil Dead sense of deja vu in the air. Mark and his girlfriend are having a party with Mark's brother, his wife and another couple. A night of booze, wise-crackin', hanky-panky and CARDS!! (Cards! Just like in the beginning! Coincidence?! Well..yeah, probably.) But the festivities are soon cut short after Mark's girlfriend heads off to the shower -- and is soon found gutted in the bathtub! But before the shock of this grisly deed has any time to really sink in, the demon begins to pick off the rest of the gang in rapid succession.

One of the women is even dragged outside by a tree limb.

*ahem*

Anyway, as it turns out, the only one to escape the massacre is our hero, Mark, who darts through the woods and makes it all the way to the highway in presumed safety -- only to be immediately hit by a car. Talk about being born under a bad sign.

Mark wakes up in a hospital, banged up both emotionally and physically. It's there he meets Reggie, fellow demon massacre survivor (And I thought I was the only one!), and requisite love interest. Together, with the help of a wily detective, they learn about their mutual nemesis, the demon Yog Kothag (Lord of all that's heinous"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha..eh...uh, guess you had to be there.." -- plague, murder, disease and that Guinness World Records TV show) -- and they also learn a little something about love. The scene where Reggie proclaims her deep feelings for Mark (though highly implausible due to a lack of exposition regarding the love angle) brought a solitary tear to my eye. No, really!

So, clad in camouflage (though they're fighting inside a house), and armed to the teeth with a variety of weapons (including an arm rocket/grappling hook which is explained as a tool invented for mountain climbing. I'm sorry, that thing looks like it might pick up a writing utensil or one of those gum erasers if it dropped from my desk -- but as far as supporting a two hundred pound individual, I'm afraid I'm going to have to throw a BS flag on the play. Ok, I'm deviating from the subject and rambling. I'll just keep repeating, "Suspension of disbelief, suspension of disbelief...."), they return to the cabin of their plight (I can't recall if it was same one for the both of them) and prepare to face Yog Kothag in a final showdown (or is it?!). And how do they know when and where Kothag is about to strike?! Through the only thing more evil than a demon straight from Hell -- MATH! And I hate math, so don't ask me to explain.

As I said before: This movie isn't all that bad! Granted, I went in with low expectations, but I found the writing to be fairly good (like I'm a judge of good writing), and the acting (for the most part) to be on par with similar independent, low-budget features (i.e. Shatter Dead, The Dead Next Door and Bram Stoker's Dracula). Well, heck! I'll go as far as saying I liked Forever Evil more than The Dead Next Door, and it's coming out with a sequel!

But on the other hand, though the acting was acceptable from some, it was atrocious with others. And while the writing seemed adequate, there were way too many one-liners for myI see the Force is strong in this one! taste. It wasn't really the quantity of the jokes, but from the numerous sources in the film. It seemed like every character was a little wiseacre. Now, I may be somewhat of a jerk, but I find that most people are not that spontaneously witty (some say the same about me--go figure). In other words, to make it more realistic (ha!), Forever Evil would need more everyday idiots. And finally, the demon-baby featured in the film should've been treated with a more subtle hand. This was a blatant case of: This is a lousy effect, but here's a really good look at it anyway.

Overall, I found Forever Evil to be entertaining, evenly-paced, and, perhaps most importantly, interesting (except the ending, which is really dumb). But if you don't have a chance (or the inclination) to see the actual film, be sure to at least check out the excellent Making of Forever Evil -- which is only a minute section of the consistently awesome Bad Movie Report.

 

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-- Copyright 2000 by J. Bannerman

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