Incubus Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 3, 2010
Incubus claws a star and a half out of my hands for the cinematography. This film is gorgeous, I won't fight anyone on that. The high-key lighting gives the settings, simple little locations in some woodsy area of California, the almost mythical appeal that the film strives for; internal sets are shadowy with flickers of that same light, conveying menace where everything else here fails to. The acting, for one thing, is utterly ridiculous. How are you supposed to take these people seriously when they don't even know what they're saying? You may as well be watching a bunch of fools babble for 80 minutes and then superimpose a set of improvised subtitles of your own choosing. Unless you speak Esperanto (and who the fuck does?) what you're hearing and seeing essentially is meaningless. But if you play along with the script, then all you really get is a ludicrously over-the-top war of purity and temptation, senseless and unsatisfying and culminating with a really aggressive goat. If it weren't so pretty and so boring, it could almost pass as camp, what with its profoundly wrongheaded hook and the subsequent commercial disaster it left in its wake. Unfortunately, I fell victim to appearances - Incubus is nowhere near as interesting or as bizarre as it sounds.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
Why would Star Trek star William Shatner agree to be in an horror movie where he would have to speak Esperanto is beyond me, but for some reason I loved it. It's a very atmospheric, creepy, and unique horror film. If you're intrigued by any of this, I highly recommend checking out this movie.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2010
Move over, Mel Gibson. You weren't the first to make a film in a dead or near dead language. Leslie Stevens got there before you. This film was made in Esperanto, a language that...well, I can't explain how it came about. Look it up.

The story concerns a young woman named Kia who is a "Succubus", sent from Hell to lead evil men to their doom with her sexuality. She grows tired of leading bad guys who are going to end up in Hell eventually anyway. She wants to tempt someone pure of heart and soul. Enter Marc, in the manly form of William Shatner...yep, THAT William Shatner, the year before he became Capt. Kirk. Things don't go as planned and she ends up falling in love with him.

I was interested in this film because it sounded so campy and bad. But this odd film ended up holding my attention more than I expected it to. Shatner is of course Shatner, even in Esperanto. But the film has a Bergmanesque quality to it, from the lighting, pacing and camerawork, to the religious themes, to even most of the females leads being blonde. I think if Roger Corman had grown up in Sweden, this is the type of film he may have come up with.
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2007
Very very weird. The only movie ever shot in Esperanto
Super Reviewer
½ November 22, 2006
Complete and total ridiculousness. Classic Shatner overacting.
Super Reviewer
½ May 1, 2010
Believe it or not, "Incubus" really does have an Ingmar Bergman feel. Conrad Hall's eerie, black-and-white cinematography is more the film's star than either the pre-"Star Trek" William Shatner or his succubus temptress Allyson Ames, as the action floats through plenty of dreamy crossfades, wordless wandering and, of course, the horror genre's inevitable clouds of wispy smoke. Yes, "Incubus" is entirely in Esperanto, though minutes often pass without any dialogue. (The version I saw had rather poor implementation of subtitles -- they were dropped on top of the frame, in large white letters on a black background. Far too much image obscured.)

This is a short film (78 minutes) but, even so, it seems light on plot. Ames is a beautiful blond demon who lures mortal men to their deaths. She sets her sights on Shatner's character, but is warned by an elder that he is a good man and thus should be avoided (only corrupted men are susceptible). She pursues him anyway, and nearly ruins herself in the process. Eventually, a male incubus is summoned to settle the score. The ending seems notably abrupt, and hurts the story's overall impact.

Dominic Frontiere's music -- mostly female moans and swirling strums of harp -- is somewhat cliched but beautifully mixes with the cinematography, and director Leslie Stevens' past work on "The Outer Limits" obviously figures into the film's tone. As for Shatner, it's surprisingly easy to separate him from his Captain Kirk persona, though his climactic fight with the supernatural goat-man had me giggling about the silly tumbling moves he always pulled in "Star Trek" scuffles.
½ July 10, 2013
If you see only one Esperanto film this year. . .
Thought lost for 30 years, but rediscovered in 1999, Incubus has a number of things going for it: the 2nd film ever filmed in the artificial language Esperanto, it starts a pre-Trek William Shatner, artfully shot by future Academy Award winning cinematographer Conrad Hall, and written and directed by the Leslie Stevens (creator of "The Outer Limits"). That said, it is really more worth watching out of curiousity sake than anything else. It plays like a typical mid-1960's allegorical art house horror flick. Worth a look for film buffs and fans of Esperanto (though I hear they don't like Shatner's pronunciation).
½ January 23, 2013
I wanted to see this really bad and thought this was awesome up until a point and then it just was boring and moved at a snail's pace. What isn't to be interested in as a pre-Trek Shatner is wooed by a devilish girl for her cult purposes while everyone speaks a fictional language? The photography is beautiful and there is a lot of great black and white shots. The problem is the pacing and not a lot happens, which tampers with this cool creepy mood that is established and gets broken. The climax works more but just didn't twist around like I thought it should have. It doesn't suck but if you want a cool creepier movie with Shatner try the Devil's Rain.
½ May 7, 2008
A beautiful gothic fairy tale, horror film that was unfortunately lost for so long and the only copies that exist have French subtitles burned into the picture. None the less, it's still great this film exists one way or the other. It's such an odd, yet captivating horror film. And yes, it was filmed in Esperanto.
June 23, 2008
Wonderful early William Shatner. Suspenseful. The direction is reminiscent of some of Ingmar Bergman's work
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2007
A very different kind of movie that has the battle of good versus evil over a good man's soul. It had the feeling of Carnival of Souls with a mix of Romeo and Juliet. It was a bit slow, but the acting was pretty good, even for William Shatner. It had a bit of a creepy vibe and came off pretty well.
½ June 24, 2006
Oh, please. Like I want to sit through William Shatner laboring through a contrived language. It's bad enough that he did this movie, it's considered a "classic" to boot? So it's old... a bad old movie does not a horror classic make.
March 3, 2014
Delirious film defies description; the fact that the dialogue is spoken in Esperanto makes it even stranger.
December 24, 2013
It's one of the few movies out there made completely in Esperanto (go ahead, Google it if you don't know it...it is an interesting concept). This is one of those very few movies out there that if you gave two shits about Esperanto than you just might like this movie. For all others, do not bother. It is duller than a plastic spork.
December 14, 2013
Esperanto is alive and well, with THOUSANDS of activists meeting in conferences, whose main purpose is FRIENDSHIP at the same time advancing translations and original literature. The Esperanto community on-line is doubling in size every few years and is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.
October 20, 2013
I was sort of puzzled by the Esperanto at first, and it's obvious that some of the actors weren't accustomed to it... The dialogue between the Succubus sirens was awkward and stilted in places... But, amazingly, William Shatner delivers Esperanto like a pro. Early into the film, I realized Shatner was actually DOING IT, and very believably - Shatner was pure gold.
February 10, 2013
Absolutely right to watch, for all the beautifully wrong reasons. It's a trip.
August 26, 2010
filmed in esperanto wtf? looks cool though
½ April 23, 2012
Admittedly, it is not the greatest movie ever made. But, William Shatner (who gives us a pretty good performance) has been in much worse. What does make it a unique and interesting movie to watch is Conrad L. Hall's cinematography, it's eerie atmosphere, and the use of an unknown language known as Esperanto.
Super Reviewer
½ May 1, 2010
Believe it or not, "Incubus" really does have an Ingmar Bergman feel. Conrad Hall's eerie, black-and-white cinematography is more the film's star than either the pre-"Star Trek" William Shatner or his succubus temptress Allyson Ames, as the action floats through plenty of dreamy crossfades, wordless wandering and, of course, the horror genre's inevitable clouds of wispy smoke. Yes, "Incubus" is entirely in Esperanto, though minutes often pass without any dialogue. (The version I saw had rather poor implementation of subtitles -- they were dropped on top of the frame, in large white letters on a black background. Far too much image obscured.)

This is a short film (78 minutes) but, even so, it seems light on plot. Ames is a beautiful blond demon who lures mortal men to their deaths. She sets her sights on Shatner's character, but is warned by an elder that he is a good man and thus should be avoided (only corrupted men are susceptible). She pursues him anyway, and nearly ruins herself in the process. Eventually, a male incubus is summoned to settle the score. The ending seems notably abrupt, and hurts the story's overall impact.

Dominic Frontiere's music -- mostly female moans and swirling strums of harp -- is somewhat cliched but beautifully mixes with the cinematography, and director Leslie Stevens' past work on "The Outer Limits" obviously figures into the film's tone. As for Shatner, it's surprisingly easy to separate him from his Captain Kirk persona, though his climactic fight with the supernatural goat-man had me giggling about the silly tumbling moves he always pulled in "Star Trek" scuffles.
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