October Horror Movie Challenge: THE EVICTORS (1979)

 

As far as I can ascertain, the tagline “Their notice was up!” was never used in promoting THE EVICTORS, sadly. Charles B. Pierce’s third film in his “Texarkana horror trilogy” following THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK (1972) and THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (1976) is a case of reach exceeding grasp, but the effort can still be (mostly) appreciated because what else is Heaven for? Pierce takes a strange approach to a movie that is purportedly based on true events, similar to his earlier TOWN but replacing the stick-to-the-facts nature of a docudrama with an ambiguous lead-up that suggests that the rampant deaths plaguing the new owners of a North Louisiana farmhouse may be the work of supernatural forces. But once we see the bucket hat-wearing good ol’ boy who’s behind the killings, we see THE EVICTORS for the psycho-thriller that it really is. The unveiling of the mystery building up to this reveal is done gradually; we learn of the past murders as housewife Jessica Harper does, but any intrigue this might create is greatly hampered by some galloping lapses in logic from the script. (How can the sepia-toned flashbacks told by the town’s citizens include the same redneck killer that nobody knows about?) Just when the movie reaches some steam with Harper’s red-eyed confrontation with the homicidal hillbilly, the film descends into a series of twists that seem neat at first before they get dumber and dumber the more you think about them.

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