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The classic conflict: Good Against Evil

On the same DVD as The Severed Arm is another non-classic, Good Against Evil.  It’s a rather generic title, around as creative as the rest of this movie.  Omen:  The Ripoff or Just Another Exorcism Movie might have been better choices.

Here’s what happens (with, admittedly, some spoilers, should you actually choose to watch this film).  The movie opens with a prologue showing a woman giving birth in a hospital run by evil nuns (are there any other sorts in horror movies?); the mother is not long for this world, and the baby is left to be raised by a demonic cult.  Given every advantage and unaware of her origins, Jessica grows up and joins that most sinister of worlds, the fashion industry.

Actually, she is just a designer in a small San Francisco shop.  One day, her car, parked right in front of her work is run into by a van driven by Andy (Dack Rambo) (good parking in San Francisco?  Jessica is indeed being assisted by powerful supernatural forces).  In a romantic comedy, this would be a “meet-cute”.  After some banter about car repairs, he gets her dented car fixed and proceeds to woo her.  Eventually, she falls for his charm, ignorant of the fact that she’s already betrothed to the devil.

The romance doesn’t go smoothly.  Despite her acceptance of Andy’s marriage proposal, he notices certain things are amiss about her.  For example, she is a virgin not by choice, but because bad things happen to her lovers before they can get hot-and-heavy.  Evil cats hang around her, horses get murderous and churches get dark and cold when she enters them.  They’re in love, however, so he blows all this off.  The head of the evil cult, however, is not so forgiving.  He hypnotizes her and whisks her off to New Orleans to wed.  The Devil, however, refuses to be second fiddle and calls off the wedding until the love between Andy and Jessica is dead.

Now things get more convoluted.  Andy is moping around San Francisco pining for his lost Jessica, when the local paper, in a giant banner headline, proclaims that a little comatose girl in New Orleans is having visions.  (It must have been a very slow news day).  These visions remind Andy of certain things about Jessica, and he dashes off to see the girl, who just happens to be the daughter of his ex-lover, played by Kim Cattrall.  The girl is possessed, either by the Devil or the spirit of bad acting, because she just tends to lie in bed and cry.  A priest is called in to save the day, Kim throws herself at Andy who rejects her, and he walks off to try and find Jessica.  Driving away from the house, he picks up the priest at a bus stop.  The end.

What?  The end?  We spend all this time waiting for Andy to reunite with Jessica and fight the evil cult, laboring through a tired Exorcist rehash, and the story just ends?  Yep.  It’s a cheat, but there are some clues that point to this abrupt ending.

First of all, it becomes quite apparent that this was a TV movie, not a theatrical release.  This explains the general tameness of the material (it was released in 1977) as well as points in the movie where commercial breaks were obviously meant to be inserted.  A bit of quick IMDB research indicates that this was also supposed to be a pilot for a TV series, one in which (I suppose) Andy would wander around, battling the supernatural and never quite finding Jessica.

Despite some decent horror credentials, most notably the writing of Jimmy Sangster (the writer behind many Hammer Films horror classics), Good Against Evil is a clunker.  Quality-wise, this gets a 2 out of 10; fun-wise, a 4 for the pure campy badness.

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