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Incubus (1965)

Cast: William Shatner, William Shatner, Allyson Ames, more...
Director: Leslie Stevens, Leslie Stevens
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Winsor
Genre: Horror, Supernatural/Occult
Running Time: 76 min.
Languages: Esperanto
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

One of the strangest productions ever committed to celluloid, and the first feature with all dialogue recorded in Esperanto, this bizarre supernatural art-horror epic, hailed by Famous Monsters founder Forrest J. Ackerman as "the movie-watching event of a lifetime," actually benefits from the presence of a pre-Star Trek William Shatner, whose operatic style somehow conforms to the story's deranged logic. Shatner plays Marc, a man lost in the mythical land of Nomen Tuum where he comes under psychic attack from both the evil witch Kia (Allyson Ames) and the title demon (Milos Milos), who procures female souls for Satan. The filmmakers reportedly adopted the "universal language" of Esperanto to give the dialogue a mystical feel, but the end product may leave audiences wondering if the entire project is an elaborate put-on. Thoroughly strange, Incubus is certainly not without merit: the film's strength comes primarily from sumptuous location cinematography by Conrad Hall, who may have taken inspiration from the works of Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa. Believed lost, the only surviving negative of this oddity was eventually rescued from 30 years of oblivion and released to home video. ~ Cavett Binion, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Commentary with William Shatner
  • Commentary with Anthony Taylor, Conrad L. Hall, and William Fraker
  • Interviews
  • Filmographies
  • Trailer

GreenCine Member Reviews

Radiumu Min Supren, Scotty! by cxarli January 13, 2004 - 3:36 PM PST
3 out of 6 members found this review helpful
([rad-i-U-mu MIN SU-pren] "Beam me up, Scotty!" in Esperanto). If you want to hear what Esperanto sounds like, this film will not help you. The filmmakers, for whatever reason, did not have an Esperanto speaker on hand to work with the actors, and what comes out of their mouths gets an audience of Esperantists rolling in the aisles before Doktoro McCoy could say, "Li mortis, Jim!" If you are curious about the Esperanto language, visit or, but puh-LEEZE don't take pronunciation guidance from William Shatner!

A Lost Film from...The Outer Limits by mdraine March 1, 2003 - 3:10 PM PST
8 out of 9 members found this review helpful
Written and directed by Outer Limits creator Leslie Stevens, Incubus (1965) is a black and white Expressionist horror film with all dialogue in Esperanto. The Esperanto gimmick originated with Stevens' cracked conviction that a subtitled film would be an easy sell on the art-film circuit. The film's failure to achieve U.S. distribution forced Stevens' production company into bankruptcy and Incubus into obscurity. In 1993, producer Anthony Taylor began restoration using a 35mm dupe of the only extant print, housed in Paris' Cinematheque Francaise.
Cinematographer Conrad Hall (The Outer Limits, American Beauty) imbues the Big Sur locations with a mystical, Elysian glow. The Esperanto dialogue enhances the otherworldly atmosphere, suggesting the language of some lost civilization. English subtitles appear on black rectangles superimposed over the French text on the source print; availing the French subtitle option unmasks substantial image area. Though the film betrays some visible scars of its brush with extinction, Anthony Taylor's restoration has yielded a sharp, richly shaded picture, with deep blacks and excellent contrast. The DVD includes numerous extras which help place this extraordinary film in context.
In The Outer Limits, Leslie Stevens explored the potential for transformation in the face of darkness; incorporating such influences as Bergman's Virgin Spring and Carl Dreyer's Day of Wrath, Stevens' spiritual vision reached its most vivid and poetic expression in Incubus. Additional viewing: The Outer Limits - Season 1 (1963-64), Discs 1-4. -- Michael Draine

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.27)
56 Votes
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