In this supposed horror movie starring John Saxon and Lynda Day George, a couple goes to an unspecified island in order for Saxon’s character to complete a construction job. It is an island filled with superstitious Asiatic persons and one psychic surgeon, which leads me to believe it may be in the Philippines.
Saxon and George are met at the airport by a man who is both her ex lover and his best friend. Best Ex-Lover is supposed to have gotten them an apartment, but has instead renovated a mansion that has been unoccupied for one hundred years, and paid the down payment. The monthly payment is low, obviously, because the house is haunted by a witch who proceeds to possess George and kill a bunch of people by shooting bad green special effects out of her eyes.
I decided to watch the movie solely because I found the poster for it on a site that features old movie posters, and because it was under the category “supernatural,” by which I will get suckered every time. I ignored the fact that the package said Troma because I assumed they distributed it but didn’t make it. I don’t know if there are several cuts of the movie floating around out there but the one I watched seemed to be missing parts of the plot. Beyond Evil makes slightly less sense than the other movie Herb Freed is known for directing, Graduation Day (that one stars the other half of Team George, the Christopher half), but we thank him for these trash efforts despite their dubious quality.
At the beginning either the best friend character, or his shady business associate, the doctor, makes some unwise banking decision in a bar. The two of them take the couple to the house and, after a couple of creepy things happen, George finds herself uncontrollably cutting a demonic symbol into her hand. This happens at the exact moment the psychic surgeon and his daughter have come to pay a surprise visit to tell Saxon to get his wife out of the house.
Saxon and George go to the hospital where the sleazy doctor says there is something physically wrong with George and draws blood to run tests. He then takes Saxon into his office and tries to convince him that his best friend, the one who paid for the haunted house, is really against Saxon. Then George wanders off.
All of a sudden Saxon spends the rest of the movie out of his mind with worry for her, even though nothing strange happens in his presence. It is as though all the parts where she acts strangely in front of him are missing except late in the movie he does find her with her hand in the lit fireplace. He does have cause for alarm though, because the witch kills the doctor, the best friend, the psychic surgeon’s daughter and a random construction worker. No one ever notices that the doctor is missing. The strange banking deal only comes up when the banker asks Saxon to sign some papers towards the end of the film but Saxon runs off.
Saxon spends most of the film driving from the house to the job site and back. At one point we see him talk to the witch doctor, then drive into town and back in about a 15 second span. Finally, he manages to exorcise the witch by replacing the wedding ring which has fallen off his wife’s finger, but not before the witch kills the faith healer too.
I don’t care for the theme that love conquers all, because it doesn’t. I also don’t like movies where white people come in and ignore all the warnings of the natives until it is too late. The most interesting part of the movie is the three scenes of psychic surgery, a fascinating subject that could have been made into another movie.
I also enjoyed the part where Saxon is told by a nurse that, in fact, no tests were ever done on his wife, and there is no file on her at all. Awesomely, he karate chops one orderly who comes to kick him out, and holds his hand to a second orderly’s throat and says, “Stay,” as if he were talking to a dog. Then they just let him walk out of the hospital as if they recognized him as one of the tournament participants in Enter the Dragon. That’s probably why.
Saxon goes topless a lot, no women ever go topless, and all the Asian people live out in the country. In the city everyone is white, so there must have been two completely different locations. Overall it was a strange and boring movie. I expected there to be a reason why the doctor told Saxon to beware of his friend or a sinister reason why the friend would renovate a nineteenth century house. But there wasn’t.
I’ve read some reviews that excuse Saxon and George’s performances here as they are true professionals just getting a paycheck, and they are both of those things, but just remember that John Saxon also made Cannibal Apocalypse in 1980 and Lynda Day George is perhaps best remembered for screaming “Bastard!” in Pieces. So although I am also a fan of both actors, they aren’t exactly above this material here.
If you just can’t get enough bad special effects in your life, you can find Beyond Evil streaming this month on the Shockwerks Roku channel, or here on the You Tubes: