Spectre (1977 film)

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Summary

After a supernatural experiment leaves him with a serious heart condition, an occult criminologist recruits his skeptical friend to aid him with a new case. Their assignment: to investigate a wealthy British businessman and his family allegedly flirting with the dark arts. As the investigators learn more about the suspicious family, they have to fight to survive against a powerful demon and an evil cult.


Details

Scenes from Spectre (1977 film)...
  • Release Date: 1977
  • Country/Language: UK, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Fantasy, Mystery, made-for-TV
  • Setting: 1970s UK
  • Runtime: 1 hr 38 min
  • Starring: Robert Culp, Gig Young, John Hurt
  • Director: Clive Donner
  • Writer: Samuel A. Peeples, Gene Roddenberry
  • Producer/Production Co: Gene Roddenberry, 20th Century Fox Television, Norway Productions
  • Wikipedia: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: not rated (mild Violence and Adult Content, brief Nudity)

Some scenes of brief nudity was hilariously filmed after completion and added to the TV pilot to sell it to the UK/European market as an adult horror movie; it looks rather out of place.

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone, could be a very loose adaptation)

Effectively a lurid sort of pulp "Lovecraft lite" sort of story about the tomb of Asmodeus being unearthed in a standing-stone monument in the back yard of a wealthy businessman, allowing the demon to imitate and corrupt members of the family, and resurrect its cult; there's some minor mystery about which of the suspicious characters is really the demon, with a couple clever plot twists, and the whole thing really comes off like a second-rate but still quite entertaining Weird Tales submission by someone outside the "Lovecraft Circle"; many scenes seem to have even been staged in the style of old horror pulp cover art....

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • Review by Dave Sindelar at Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings (Link) - "It’s not entirely successful; the story seems confused and a bit muddled, and it’s a little too low key for its own good, but it also has a unique feel to it that makes me wish it had made it to a series; I would like to have seen the directions it would have gone."
  • Review by Richard Schieb at The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (3/5 Stars) (Link) - "With Spectre ... one thinks that Gene Roddenberry had the makings of a potentially worthwhile tv series had the pilot ever been picked up."

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

After a supernatural experiment leaves him with a serious heart condition, an occult criminologist recruits his skeptical friend to aid him with a new case. Their assignment: to investigate a wealthy British businessman and his family allegedly flirting with the dark arts. As the investigators learn more about the suspicious family, they have to fight to survive against a powerful demon and an evil cult.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • Lead characters William Sebastian and Dr. "Ham" Hamilton were said to be modeled after Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson; the formula of pairing of a believer in the occult with a skeptic would reappear in The X-Files.


Associated Mythos Elements


Keeper Notes