Hello, and welcome to another edition of You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet! My series of review-articles are not necessarily the greatest films in movie history, but all of them are most memorable. I like to think of them as a celebration of the strangest films out there.


by Martin Hafer

A perfect film for someone who thinks they’ve seen everything!

If you think you’ve seen everything, than I sure have a movie for you—Incubus (1966).  If you haven’t seen it already, I can guarantee you’ve never seen a film like it!!

The guiding force behind the television show The Outer Limits (Leslie Stevens) decided for some inexplicable reason to produce the first (and only) full-length American-made Esperanto film–with a plot that seems strongly influenced by his TV show as well as Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal! Talk about strange! Yet, oddly, the experiment works, though in hindsight I am glad the idea never really took off and resulted in further films in this so-called ‘international language’.  It’s great as an experiment but I sure didn’t want to see more Esperanto films!

The film begins with a Satan worshiping siren who has delighted in luring people to their deaths—but now she’s having an existential crisis.  Apparently doing evil is now getting rather old and this lady confides to an older Devil-loving lady that she wonders what it’s all about, why they only take the souls of evil ones and why the Lord of Darkness, if he’s so powerful, needs their help anyway! And, in fact, she’d like to try battling against a righteous soul instead of the typical damned ones! Well, the older lady will have none of that and counsels her to just do her job and get such foolish ideas out of her head. But, given that the younger lady is apparently quite dumb, she sets out to seduce a “nice guy”–who turns out to be a guy played by a young pre-Star Trek William Shatner. The problem is that once the evil incubus (a soul-stealing demon) is summoned to take Shatner, the siren has fallen in love with him and is torn between her duties and doing what is right.

While all this probably sounds a bit silly to someone who has never seen the film, it somehow works–mostly due to the efforts of Stevens. An old score from one of the Outer Limits shows is recycled and sounds very, very eerie–fitting the action quite well. In addition, the black and white cinematography is  creepy and looks great—with some odd yet appropriate camera angles. These all work together to make the film seem other-worldly–like it occurs perhaps on another world or in another time.

As for the actors, they did a good job and I was amazed at their speaking this odd language. In particular, it was a bit jarring to see Shatner both speak the language AND actually do a very competent job acting. In some shows and movies, he has had a tendency to hysterically over-act–and especially over-emote. Here, however, he seems quite capable as the nice guy who cannot allow himself to give in to temptation. Sadly, however, according to IMDb and interviews with surviving film crew, two of the main actors would be dead within a year of the completion of the film–one due to suicide and another to a murder/suicide! As they said, the film seemed like it had the ‘curse of the incubus’ on it!

While I am sure this film would not interest every person due to its artsy style, it is entertaining and worth seeing if you are a patient person. It’s spooky, strange and amazingly successful for a project that reportedly cost less than $100,000 to produce. And, of all the many, many Esperanto films out there, this one is surely the best!

As always, I love your suggestions and comments.  In particular, if you can think of any really strange films that you would like me to see and discuss, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

Martin’s Grade: B+