This is one "interesting" and "arcane" little flick. I don't use the adjectives "interesting" or "arcane" to note that this movie is thought provoking or creepy in the sense that you won't be able to sleep. This movie was made in 1973 and in many ways shows, I will return to this notion in a moment.
"A Name for Evil" stars Robert Culp and Samantha Eggar as husband and wife who are experiencing some turbulence in their marriage. This disenchanted couple live in the city and John Blake (Culp) is rather over the metropolis. As chance has it, Mr. Blake inherits his great-grandfather's house out in the country. So Mr. and Mrs. Blake make the move to the country to start over.
Well needless to say once the Blakes reach the home they seem to notice that it might be more than they bargained for. The house needs myriad repairs, since it was built during the Civil War. In addition, some odd things transpire such as wind blowing at random, shadows and a cheesy voice providing foreboding warnings about the house. A house that is haunted? Now this sounds like a pretty awesome set up for a horror movie. Well sadly it sort of falls flat, real flat, so why the higher rating?
This movie is an avant-garde film, regardless if that was the filmmaker's intention or not. This movie takes surrealism and psychedelic aspects to a whole new level. Right down to Robert Culp jumping on a white horse, for no reason whatsoever. This white horse then leads him to a bar where everyone is "like tripping out man", which leads to an orgy and lots of nudity. Under the assumption a person wanted to see Robert Culp bare it all, this movie is your chance. You see full frontal many, many times from Bob.
As noted prior, this movie was made in 1973, so free love and psychedelic and/or intangible elements were at a peak. This gives the movie a frame of reference and is a sign of the times. In addition, this movie is only about seventy-five minutes and feels longer. A viewer will experience moments where nothing is really going on. So again, why the higher rating?
I consider myself an open minded (or deranged) person when it comes to movies. Many viewers would be upset that this movie is a LSD voyage masked as a horror film and justifiably so. I myself was sort of taken back that there wasn't more "macabre" in this film. Nevertheless, Robert Culp gives a fine performance (when did he not), the DVD provides a nice clear picture and I feel any junkie of "off the cuff" cinema might enjoy viewing it. If nothing else, the movie doesn't cost all that much.
Earlier this year Robert Culp passed away, leaving behind him family, friends and fans of his work. Not to mention a plethora in his resume of movies and TV shows, I still love him in the "Greatest American Hero". Mr. Culp was a class act and "A Name for Evil" will demonstrate, at the very least, he had the ability to make a LSD voyage masked as a horror film a movie more interesting than it should have been.