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Incubus (1966)

Unrated  |   |  Horror  |  26 October 1966 (USA)
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On a strange island inhabited by demons and spirits, a man battles the forces of evil.



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Title: Incubus (1966)

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Complete credited cast:
Allyson Ames ...
Eloise Hardt ...
Robert Fortier ...
Ann Atmar ...
Milos Milos ...


Kia is a succubus, luring to their final perdition men who already have sinful habits and libertine inclinations. She tires of this, it's too easy, and these souls are going to Hell anyway. She wants to match wits and charm with someone who is good. So, against the advice of her sister Amael, Kia seeks out Marc, a man who has already faced death with courage. After a night together, Kia finds that not only is Marc's goodness still intact, but she has been ravaged by love. In anger, she and Amael conjure an incubus to deal with Marc. The incubus starts with Marc's sister, Arndis. Who will win the struggle for souls? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

incubus | love | succubus | demon | veteran | See All (20) »




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 October 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Leslie Stevens' Incubus  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to Anthony M. Taylor on one of the DVD commentary tracks, the screenplay was written in English and translated to Esperanto. When the sole surviving French print of the film was remastered for release, English language subtitles were created based on the original English language screenplay, not from a translation of the spoken Esperanto dialogue back into English. This results in as strange situation for a foreign language film: discrepancies between the English language subtitles and the spoken dialogue are actually due to mistranslations from English to Esperanto, not vice versa, or else reflect late changes which were not back-ported to the original English language screenplay. See more »


As Arndis wrestles the demons her pure white nightdress is torn down to her waist. In the following scenes it is buttoned up to her neck again. See more »


Amael: He has faced death, Kia.
Kia: They all face death, all of them.
Amael: He was unafraid!
Kia: Is that so pure and noble? The beasts in the fields have courage. The smallest bird will beat its wings and claw a weasel in its nest.
Amael: But his courage went beyond self-preservation.
See more »


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User Reviews

Review as an average viewer then as an Esperanto-enthusiast
10 December 2002 | by (Houston) – See all my reviews

First, I will critique the film as an average viewer and then as an Esperanto-enthusiast. For Shatner fans this film is a must. For art film aficionados it is also a must. Those who dislike Shatner or art films will dislike this film; those who dislike Shatner -and- art films will -despise- this film. Those who liked the old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits will probably enjoy this film. It is a well-made film. And as far as concept films go, Incubus is very coherent. It has a strong, if thin plot line and does not stray often from it. Many art films are not... tight. What I mean by this is that often in art films there will be many tangents and/or moments where one feels that the camera was left running and the actors weren't given any directions. Or the film just has absolutely no plot (not necessarily a bad thing) and is merely a serious of events, which are bizarre, quaint, or whatever. Not so in Incubus. This film actually borders on the mainstream. Especially if one compares it with something like Un Chien Andalou or Tetsuo: The Iron Man.

The film looks beautiful. Cinematographer Conrad Hall went on to win 2 Oscars and was nominated for 7 others in films to come. He'll probably be nominated again for this year's Road to Perdition. I wonder if Wim Wenders was inspired by this film. The demons in Incubus stand around like Wender's angels did in Wings of Desire (US remake: City of Angels).

On a less formal level, Incubus is just a neat movie. It's a neat idea with neat actors, neat shots, and neat music. It is set in an allegorical world, which is why writer/director Leslie Stevens chose Esperanto for its language. He didn't feel that a national or ethnic language would seem right for this tale. (Do demons speak Spanish, English, Swahili, or Russian? Do humans in this realm speak Chinese, Yiddish, or French?) So, choosing Esperanto was a bold artistic choice and something to be praised whether one is an Esperanto-enthusiast or not.

Some would consider the film a psychotronic classic, putting it the realm of Attack of the 50ft Woman or Plan 9 from Outer Space, but Incubus is far above that. It is probably one of those sad souls which is not camp enough to be a cult classic and not artsy enough to be an art house classic, and too artsy for mainstream, so Incubus will probably wander in classification limbo indefinitely.

Many have criticized the pronunciation of Esperanto in Incubus. I am not an expert. I have only been studying the language for a couple of years now. But my TV is going out so I didn't have the luxury of subtitles and I was forced to listen to it. I was able to understand it pretty well. From what I've heard and read about the film, I was expecting it to be unintelligible. Esperanto scholars have been way too harsh on these actors. It seems to me what we're dealing with here in Incubus are accents. This is something the vast majority of Esperanto speakers will probably never overcome. Think of those who have learned English that you know. They probably don't pronounce English perfectly. Think of actors like Arnold Schwarzeneger, Jackie Chan, Desi Arnaz, Gerard Depardieu, and Marlene Dietrich. Hell, half the actors in Hollywood do not speak English correctly. Esperanto is a second language to everyone and everyone will not speak it perfectly. But it seemed to me that the majority of Incubus' dialogue was spoken correctly. The thing to note in it should be how naturally the actors speak Esperanto.

This film is an absolute treat for E-o enthusiasts. Aside from Gattaca, this is the only film one will hear it spoken at any length. It is definitely the only film entirely in this language. For those who want to practice E-o comprehension this is a gem. Some will disagree, but it's been my experience that even the most seasoned E-o speaker will make mistakes yet the need for comprehension will remain. Dealing with accents is just a fact of life with any language.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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