Eternal Evil is a 1985 film directed by Hungarian-born director George Mihalka. Without a doubt, Mihalka is best known as the director of the 1981 slasher classic, My Bloody Valentine, which also happens to be one of this reviewer’s favorite slasher films. Mihalka also directed the 1980 teen comedy Pick-Up Summer, which received release in some regions as “Pinball Summer”. Just as importantly, Mihalka also directed a few episodes of the late 80s syndicated television series “T. And T.”, starring Mr. T. Some of you may not consider that credit as important as the previously mentioned works, but you’re wrong.
Originally titled “The Blue Man” (which is a very fitting title for the film, but also a very shitty one), Eternal Evil tells the tale of Paul Sharpe (Winston Rekert – 1981’s Heartaches, TV series “Adderly), who despite having a loving wife and child, a large home, and a successful career filming commercials, finds himself quite unhappy with his life. When he finds a psychiatrist to be less than helpful, Paul turns to “astral projection”, the ability to travel outside of his body, which he discovers after meeting a bizarre dancer named Janus (Karen Black – Burnt Offerings, Tobe Hooper’s 1986 Invaders from Mars remake). However, he soon finds himself subconsciously and uncontrollably using this “gift” to harm and possibly even kill those around him.
Eternal Evil wastes little to no time getting right into things, with Paul using the ability during the film’s opening sequence. He also seems to use this ability to kill his psychiatrist within the film’s first 15 minutes. The man’s death is ruled a heart attack, even though the victim’s ribs and sternum have forcibly been broken and dislodged and are now protruding from the man’s chest.
During one of these out-of-body experiences, Paul travels to the secluded farmhouse of his father-in-law. His presence is noticed by the old man’s dog, which attacks Paul during a later family visit. He is also observed by the older man, who later confronts Paul about this “vision”. However, Paul tells his father-in-law (with whom he has never had the best relationship) that the man is going crazy and presumably seeing things. That said, the father-in-law soon meets the same fate as the psychiatrist.
Paul’s young son may also be becoming aware of his father’s newfound powers, often seeing a blue ghost-like figure that frequently hovers over the boy’s bed. Unfortunately, we, the viewer, never get to see this “blue man”, even if that was once the title of the film. Again, more reason for the title change.
Meanwhile, homicide detective Kauffman (prolific voice actor John Novak, who also took over the title role in both Wishmaster 3 and 4) is assigned to the cases of both dead men and begins to investigate Paul’s connection to the deceased. This also puts him on the trail of the mysterious Janus. At somewhere around the film’s halfway point, Kauffman and his efforts to crack the case become the film’s primary focus, with Paul becoming more of a secondary character. With this shift in central character comes a shift in the film’s tone, becoming much more of a bizarre crime drama and much less of a horror film.
Eternal Evil has a rather intriguing story at its core, with a few clever twists and turns along the way. However, these unfurl themselves very slowly, which undoubtedly will be to the displeasure of more impatient viewers. That’s not to say that the film is boring or dull (although many would presumably disagree with me in this opinion), but that there is very little in the line of “action” after the film’s initial death scenes.
Eternal Evil is a very slow burn of a movie. A very, very slow burn. That said, it’s still fairly intriguing, even if things do begin to become quite predictable after a while. Performances are serviceable, but far from outstanding. A few characters become less integral than one might expect, while other secondary characters seemingly appear out of the background to become much more vital to the plot than expected. There’s also some impressive camera work to be found at times, but it’s not something that I would say changes the film’s impact.
Overall, I found the film to be fairly compelling, but not something that I see getting many, if any, repeat viewings. As the film does not appear to have much of a fan base, I’ll assume that most viewers would/will feel the same.
Eternal Evil was released to DVD a few times, usually a part of multi-film sets, which generally feature what I believe to be a VHS-ripped image. The film is also available to rent on Amazon Prime for about $2, and free to watch on VUDU (with account). You can also find it available to watch for free on Plex, featuring a stronger image than what is generally found elsewhere, but I do not believe that the presentation is in HD as listed.