Thursday, August 7, 2008


An ultra-cheap Italian rip-off of THE EVIL DEAD, 1988's EVIL CLUTCH is one of those movies that doesn't have quite enough going for it to be a truly recommendable film, mostly because what it does have to offer is remarkably similar to more memorable films. Director Andreas Marfori clearly believes that style compensates for a dearth of substance--and to an extent it's true, but not when it copies an internationally renowned cult classic.

EVIL CLUTCH stars Coralina Tassoni (of DEMONS 2) and Diego Ribon as a couple vacationing in a quaint European village who encounter a demon in the guise of a beautiful seductress. (We know she's a demon because we've seen a claw emerge from her groin to grab a guy's manhood--this should've been called EVIL CROTCH.) Will Tassoni be able to keep her boyfriend safe from the demon's malevolent designs?

The movie has a low-rent but palpable atmosphere of impending dread, complemented by a moody score, yet it's so frustratingly slow that the ambiance yields little effect. I suppose when there's a total of five people in a film it's hard to have a decent body count. (Marfori teases early with an imaginary scene in which the hypothetical fates awaiting the couple are illustrated, but this is as close to mayhem as we come until the final reel.) What fills the movie's dead air is an overabundance of the POV camerawork Sam Raimi made famous in THE EVIL DEAD, and while it's put to good use it's also so prominent it deserves top billing. Marfori may be a one-trick pony, but he's going to make damn sure we all love his trick.

EVIL CLUTCH picks up near the end as the demon attempts to claim Ribon, even throwing in a zombie henchman for no other purpose than to have a zombie henchman (and he is pretty cool-looking, even if his presence makes no sense). Marfori goes all out for his climax, and comes very close to reaching the deliriously campy heights of TROLL 2--featuring a demonic tree with octopus-like branches, the seductress's sudden bug-eyed countenance, and a juicy but ridiculous decapitation--but it never goes the whole nine, ending up being rather silly instead.

EVIL CLUTCH has its moments, and aficionados of Italian cheese might want to check it out, but keep the remote handy since the fast-forward button is crucial to enjoy this flick.

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