TV Terror Guide: Good Against Evil (1977)


Air Date: May 22, 1977 (ABC)

Production Companies: Frankel-Bolen Productions, 20th Century Fox Television

Running Time: 84 min.

Available on: YouTube

Written by: Jimmy Sangster

Directed by: Paul Wendkos

Cast: Dack Rambo, Elyssa Davalos, Richard Lynch, Dan O'Herlihy, John Harkins

Rating: 4 vintage televisions (out of 10)

 

Another week, another failed TV pilot, another plot about fighting supernatural forces. Good Against Evil (1977) has one thing original about it, though. With its open-ended conclusion, it seems this would have offered a continuing storyline instead of a generic monster of the week structure. This doesn’t make it any better than the others, though, because the characters aren’t ones with which I’d want to spend any time more than once.

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It begins in a promising way, in 1955 New York City, with the dream-like birth of a child and the mother moaning and groaning that “they want to take my baby!” Sure enough, she’s chased through the halls of the hospital by a nun with the widest habit I’ve ever seen. Sally Field could have flown Mach 10 with it! She then performs quite a trick: falling down a flight of stairs… in slow motion!

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From there, it’s a wildly uneven film that’s mostly about star-crossed lovers in 1977 San Francisco. We learn that Jessica Gordon (Elyssa Davalos) is the child born 22 years ago who has been raised by a nationwide coven of demon worshippers (Astaroth, specifically.) Because everyone close to her dies a strange death, she’s reluctant to face the feelings she has for Andy Stuart (Dack Rambo.)

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The head demon worshipper, Mr. Rimmin (Richard Lynch) hatches a plan to make Andy forget Jessica by bringing his old girlfriend, Linda Isley (Kim Cattrall) into the picture. He does this by somehow causing her daughter, Cindy (Natasha Ryan) to become possessed. That’s when Father Kemschler (Dan O’Herlihy) appears to perform an exorcism. The last fourth of Good Against Evil depicts this plot development, but we neither see nor hear from Jessica again.

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As Father Kemschler and Andy hit the road to search for her, you can imagine the two of them facing other supernatural obstacles along the way. There’s no chemistry between them, though… no relationship on which to build a series. We don’t have to worry about that; it didn’t happen. It just seems such a misguided effort, especially since it was written by Jimmy Sangster and directed by Paul Wendkos, who did much better with any number of other 70s TV movies that we’ve visited in this series.

 

Visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV on YouTube to watch Good Against Evil as well as all the great movies from this series.

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