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Friday, April 20, 2012

Evil Clutch



Evil Clutch (aka Il Bosco 1)
Andreas Marfori
1988

Among the lesser known rip-off sub genres is the ‘Evil Dead’ (1981) and ‘Evil Dead II’ (1987) rip-offs, which includes such luminary films as ‘Shaitan’ (1990) and ‘Demon Wind’ (1990).  In fact  a great number of horror movies that  were made post  ‘Evil Dead II’ tried to copy that film’s mix of horror and slapstick humor to varying (read:  almost always poor) degrees of success. ‘Evil Clutch’ archives the special notice of trying to copy the unrelenting dread and horror of the first Evil Dead and then trying to merge it with some crazed slapstick of the sequel and failing on both fronts in a spectacular fashion.

The film opens with a monster attack involving a woman who seduces a young man then bites him and drinks his blood. It's a pretty well done scene and it gave me a little hope for the rest. Soon, Evil Clutch settles in with Cindy (Coralina C. Tassoni) and Tony (Diego Ribon), young lovers driving through small villages and seeing the sights of rural Italy.  They run into a strange woman hitchhiking (Elena Cantarone), who you may recognize from the opening of the movie. They also happen to meet a guy named Algernoon (Luciano Crovato), who rides a motorcycle, uses a synthetic voice box to speak, claims he writes horror stories and takes them a long pointless walk to tell them an even longer and more pointless story. He seems vaguely aware that the woman they picked up is a monster.  All of this is done in slow build that occasionally teeters into slow bore, but it all goes out the window once the demon and her giant vagina claw swing into action and start smooshing hands and tearing off heads. 

From the handheld camerawork, complete with rushing demon  POV through the woods,  to the design of the demon woman,  it’s pretty obvious this film is emulating ‘Evil Dead’ minus a lot of the efficiency that makes ‘Evil Dead’ such an effective film.  The finale contains some decent gore effects, but a lot of it is shot so dark it’s very hard to see what is actually happening. The demon make-up goes from understated and effective to bulging eyed and goofy. 

Our two leads are pretty dull and they feel underwritten. I would say it feels like a strange turn to have the male lead immediately start doing drugs and making out with a demonic hitchhiker, but that would require him have been written with any kind of personality.  Cindy, runs around and screams until it’s decided by the script that she needs to fight back against the monster.  Algernoon is easily the most consistent character, because he’s pretty much a wall to wall lunatic up until the end.

If you are starved for some old school gore or are a die-hard Evil Dead fan, I could see you taking a look at this, film. For everyone else, the beginning is too dull and the end too silly to make much of a cohesive film, much less an enjoyable viewing experience. There is a severed head that explodes for no discernible reason at the end much like yours might, if you take eighty-five minutes out of your life to view, ‘Evil Clutch.’

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