The Unseen – USA, 1980 – reviews

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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.

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The story was co-devised with special effects creators Stan Winston and Tom Burman, plus Texas Chain Saw Massacre co-writer Kim Henkel.

Craig Reardon (Eaten Alive; The Funhouse; Poltergeist) supplied the makeup for the monster.

Main cast: 

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), .

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Plot:

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.

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Meanwhile, back at the house, Vicki takes a bath and then a nap in her room, but is attacked by an unseen figure…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“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

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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

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” … 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.

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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

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“A sort of mash up of later flicks American Gothic and Humongous, The Unseen deserves to be seen; it’s an eighties slash-classic that offers as much campy fun as spooky chills.” Kindertrauma

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” … 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

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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Release:

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.

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Cast and characters:

Choice dialogue:

Ernest Keller: “Nobody here but us chickens!”

Filming locations:

Santa Paula, Altadena and Piru, California

Trailer:

Wikipedia | IMDb | Image credit: Groovy Doom

One Comment on “The Unseen – USA, 1980 – reviews”

  1. Surprisingly good film. It’s subject matter could certainly have yielded a film of incredibly poor taste. So it’s a pleasant surprise that the film is actually well handled and quite sensitive, generating a lot of sympathy for it’s title character, who of course, is not the true monster. Top notch work from Lassick and Furst.

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