Good Against Evil
Horror, Thriller | 84 Mins | Released: 1977
Director: Paul Wendkos
Starring: Dack Rambo, Elyssa Davalos, Richard Lynch, Dan O'Herlihy, John Harkins, Jenny O'Hara, Kim Cattrall
Our Rating: 4
ABC-TV pilot about a writer, Andy Stuart, teaming up with an exorcist, Father Kemschler, to battle Satan, and a group of Devil worshipers led by Mr. Rimmin.
Sex and The City’s famed Kim Cattrall also has a small part in this film.
Rambo Against Satan
by wesconners, june, 2008
“A young couple is forced to confront the ultimate horror when Satan decides to claim the young woman as his own. The boyfriend consults with two priests in the hopes of getting guidance on his spiritual dilemma. The two priests in turn decide to perform an exorcism in order to rid the woman of her possession. The boyfriend and the exorcists are pitted in a battle for the woman’s soul with Satan and his clan of worshipers,” according to the DVD sleeve’s synopsis.
This television movie has its strengths; however, the story is very weak, and the production values do not entirely satisfy the need for horrific moments. For example, the cats perform well — but, they are not very scary. Still, writer Jimmy Sangster and director Paul Wendkos handle the assignment well. The reason the Satanists could not simply kill the hero was one of the nicer touches (though, arguably, it’s inconsistent). The unsatisfying ending suggests a sequel or series was planned. There are several fine performances.
Dack Rambo (as Andy Stuart) is quite likable in the lead role; he is very appealing as the persistent, romantic magazine writer who meets fashion designer Elyssa Davalos in San Francisco, after denting her car. Due to an opening prologue, we know Ms. Davalos is likely the woman chosen to birth the “Anti-Christ”. Davalos provides the “Rosemary’s Baby” recall, and Kim Cattrall (as Linda) helps add “The Exorcist” to the proceedings. Thankfully, Mr. Rambo and his co-stars stay focused on their characterizations, and don’t venture “over the top”.
Priestly John Harkins (as Father Wheatley) is always a welcome supporting player; he was unforgettable on “Dark Shadows”, blackmailing Chris Pennock and frightening Joan Bennett; and, of course, Mr. Harkins delivered the eulogy for the dearly departed “Chuckles the Clown”, causing Mary Tyler Moore’s laughing fit. Priestly Dan O’Herlihy (as Father Kemschler) was a part of the “Shadows”-swipe “Dark Mansions” and essayed many memorable characters; his supporting roles in “RoboCop” and “Twin Peaks” are memorable. Devilish Richard Lynch (as Rimmin), meddling Erica Yohn (as Agnes), and resolute Peggy McCay (as Irene) are also appealing.
If only the story were better… ”
Crafty Gothic Romance
by Cristi_Ciopron, November 2015
“‘Good against Evil’ is actually an exciting movie, much better than reputed, and well crafted, its storyline offered indeed a possibility of progress, by bringing in the older priest, a very striking look (better than v. Sydow, in an equally conventional part), so there was the opportunity to continue the storyline (as emphasized by Rambo’s teaming with O’Herlihy); there are also silly and clumsy, unintended funny moments, I do not mean the banal look of the attacks (fear can be shown like this), but the exorcist fighting with a pillow, or sipping a drink and looking self-important and conceited, which diminishes his dignity, so some slapdash. As a Gothic romance, it belongs to a now forgotten TV genre, named Gothic soap opera, which also accounts for the cardboard characters. Its eeriness works, I liked the cityscapes, perhaps the profanation of the church would of worked better as an evening scene, and with more characters.
The script emphasizes that the plot is at least as much about love, as about the occult. This pilot has been meant to establish a story, which it does, convincingly, it’s soap opera with occultism; it deals with Satanism as a cult, a ’70s topic, and understandably so. An equally good series could have followed. The leading actor should of been a success with the female audiences, so we’ll leave it at that. But the cast is very good: Lynch, O’Herlihy, Kim Cattrall.
The veteran of the cast was O’Herlihy, who still had some nice roles ahead. Here, he does a colorful exorcist, though with the aforementioned silly moments.”