Any satanic-oriented film that actually has the nerve to display the Wicked One in the flesh can’t be all bad, and in fact, The Evil is quite good.
Screenplay has psychologist Richard Crenna, accompanied by wife (also a medico) Joanna Pettet, picking up a lease on the proverbial haunted house, despite real estate agent Milton Selzer’s recounting of the grisly horrors that took place there.
Crenna and Pettet are soon joined by college prof Andrew Prine with student companion Mary Louise Weller, and several of Crenna’s patients. Just what they’re all up to is never clearly delineated, but once the house (or something in it) begins to act up, it really doesn’t matter.
Throughout, there is a spirit on the loose (resembling the White Tornado) in communication with Pettet, trying to warn her of the dangers ahead. But Crenna is a stubborn skeptic, only admitting his own helplessness in dealing with the situation when there is no other recourse.
This type of psychological insight is rare in suspensers, and is a credit to both Crenna, who delivers a strong performance, and director Gus Trikonis. Fulcrum of pic’s success or failure comes in final scenes, when Crenna and Pettet confront the devil himself, played with sinister angelicism by Victor Buono.