Friday, March 19, 2021

Forever Evil

Forever Evil
Roger Evans

Forever Evil feels like an Evil Dead (1981) fan film that spirals out of control into a two-hour epic of cosmic horror. Mind you, this is a two-hour cosmic horror epic on the budget of a short film. but what it lacks in technical expertise it more than makes up for in pure love for the genre. Forever Evil is ambitious for sure and I think it is often overlooked in the pantheon of Lovecraft inspired movies. 

The first act of Forever Evil is more or less Evil Dead on even less of a budget. A group of friends gather at a cabin the woods. They drink and fool around. They make weak jokes about each other. We are supposed to be caught off guard when the horror finally takes hold, but the homage is so obvious that it never becomes suspenseful. Where Evil Dead delivers its horror in a number of inventive ways, Forever Evil lacks that spark. It does engage in some gruesome baby removal so kudos for stepping over the line a little bit.


Had Forever Evil ended there it would be mostly forgotten as a simple Evil Dead rip-off. It is after this point that the film finds its own direction as a mystical detective story complete with Lovecraftian hints of a cosmic horror while never directly referencing Lovecraft’s work itself. There is an intriguing element of murders coinciding with a quasar’s activity. There are the requisite ancient tomes and talks of old gods. It is all a fun love note to Lovecraft's work.

Our hero Marc (Red Mitchell) is a beefy, all too smart, bad ass and charmer. He lacks the comedic smugness or cowardice of Bruce Campbell and instead plays the role perfectly straight. Mitchell’s performance is fine but the character is more power fantasy than person. I have to make special note of his invention which is teased as something amazing near the beginning of the film and later it turns out to be a wrist mounted harpoon gun that can pull a small log. In a way it is the perfect metaphor for the ambition of Forever Evil versus. what it can deliver.

"No log is safe from me."

Reggie (Tracy Huffman) serves as Marc’s sidekick/love interest. She is also assured and competent. Having two very capable characters can make for an interesting story but horror really requires our protagonists to be on their back foot for most of the film. Here they are almost never in that position.

Forever Evil invests much of its focus on the main antagonist, a zombie played by Kent T. Johnson. Here is where the effects and make-up really shine as the zombie becomes increasingly damaged and decayed as the movie progresses. He’s a fun monster and used effectively. It shows that Forever Evil does boast some decent gore when it wants to.

Forever Evil is an earnest yet occasionally silly foray into cosmic horror by people who obviously love the genre and that love shine through despite its many shortcomings. It clocks in at two hours long thanks to a laborious set-up but once it settles into it's own story things move quickly. 

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