The Unseen is a 1980 American horror film directed by Danny Steinmann [as Peter Foleg] from an [uncredited] screenplay by Michael L. Grace.
Director Steinmann, who later directed gory movies Savage Streets and Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, apparently fell out with the producers during post-production, hence the use of a pseudonym.
The story was co-devised with special effects creators Stan Winston and Tom Burman, plus Texas Chain Saw Massacre co-writer Kim Henkel.
Barbara Bach (Short Night of Glass Dolls; Great Alligator River; Isle of the Fishmen), Sydney Lassick (Carrie; Alligator; Lady in White), Karen Lamm (Ants), Doug Barr, Stephen Furst (Silent Rage), Lois Young, Leila Goldoni (Hysteria; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; The Devil Inside), .
After a hotel reservation mix up, two sisters Karen and Jennifer, and their friend Vicki Thompson, meet a friendly, but shady character named Ernest Keller who is the owner of a small town museum. Ernest convinces the three women to accept an invitation for cheap room and board at his farmhouse outside of town where his wife Virginia also lives.
Once there, Jennifer and Karen leave for a holiday parade fair which Jennifer, a news reporter, is reporting on.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Vicki takes a bath and then a nap in her room, but is attacked by an unseen figure…
“It plods along like a soap opera for large chunks, but then launches into an outrageous nudity scene that feels out of place. It does manage to build enough of a tone to keep us interested though and we do get a couple of creatively planned murder scenes.” Luisito Joaquín González, A Slash Above…
” … as long as you’re not looking for Steinmann’s usual Grindhouse-y approach, I think you’ll dig The Unseen. It’s a nicely paced suspense tale with two terrific villains and an offbeat tone that I quite admired.” Horror Movie a Day
“The Unseen is worth at least one viewing, if only for the terrifically insane scene in which Ernest Keller has a drunken conversation with his father’s dead, stuffed body. This guy should’ve won some kind of award for this movie.” Tower Farm Reviews
” … a film full of character if not class, weirdly compelling performances and some third act developments which take the whole thing someplace hysterical, transgressive, and unforgettable.” Phil Nobile Jr., Birth. Movies. Death.
“The Unseen is quite lame, quite tame, and nearly bloodless … It’s hard to get past the similarities to other, better movies. It’s got more than a few things in common with Silent Scream, which came out around the same time but was at least a little more atmospheric, if not fantastic.” Groovy Doom
” … this is a strange, sometimes enthralling low-budget flick… takes one of the hoariest cliches of horror movies – the animalistic, “unseen” entity living in the cellar – and gives it a new sense of mystery, even compassion.” John Stanley, Creature Features
The film was released theatrically in the US by World Northal in September 1981. In the UK, Prism issued the film on DVD in 2002. In the US, Code Red issued it on DVD by in 2008 and a Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray followed in 2013.
Cast and characters:
- Stephen Furst as ‘Junior’ Keller (The Unseen)
- Barbara Bach as Jennifer Fast
- Sydney Lassick as Ernest Keller
- Karen Lamm as Karen Fast
- Lelia Goldoni as Virginia Keller
- Douglas Barr as Tony Ross
- Lois Young as Vicki Thompson
- Maida Severn as Solvang Lady
Ernest Keller: “Nobody here but us chickens!”