Renowned criminologist and occult investigator William Sebastian (Culp) recruits his old friend Dr. Hamilton (Young) to aid him in his current case. Anitra Cyon (Bell), the sister of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
William Sebastian
...
Dr. Ham Hamilton
...
Mitri Cyon
...
Inspector Cabell
Ann Bell ...
Anitra Cyon
James Villiers ...
Sir Geoffrey Cyon
...
Lilith
...
Sydna
Angela Grant ...
Butler
Penny Irving ...
First Maid
...
Second Maid
...
Third Maid
Sally Farmiloe ...
Fourth Maid
Michael Latimer ...
Co-pilot
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Storyline

Renowned criminologist and occult investigator William Sebastian (Culp) recruits his old friend Dr. Hamilton (Young) to aid him in his current case. Anitra Cyon (Bell), the sister of prominent British businessman Geoffrey Cyon (Villiers), believes her brother is dabbling in the black arts. In turn, Geoffrey claims that she is mentally unfit. Sebastian and Hamilton travel to the Cyon estate to investigate the matter. Complicating the issue is Sebastian's debilitating heart condition that was induced by his own experimentations with the black arts. Written by JHC3

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Horror

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Unrated
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Release Date:

21 May 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Espectro  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Bernard and Douglas Gameley were among the candidates to write the score. See more »

Goofs

Different airplanes are used in different exterior shots of what is supposed to be the same jet. Though they appear to be the same model, they have distinctive markings. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Hamilton: It's impossible for something to feel evil to the touch. Am I imagining it?
See more »

Connections

References The Exorcist (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Great Bird Between Worlds
12 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

From the demise of Star Trek: TOS to the premiere of Star Trek: TNG Gene Roddenberry took at least three swings at returning to Stateside prime-time television. None of the broadcast pilots was bought by a commercial network as a series. I viewed each at first broadcast.

Genesis II (later repackaged and re-tried as Planet Earth) had an interesting pilot, very much a product of Roddenberry and his times, but likely as a series would have become quite weird and not lasted long. The Questor Tapes had a superb pilot, but likely as a series would have been forced by network suits to devolve into The Robo-Fugitive.

Spectre was not your average Roddenberry product and wasn't even science fiction. Its concept was decidedly original and very well wrought—what if, just What If?, everything you suspect and fear about the occult is true and a world-renowned criminologist who KNOWS that sets out to right the purposive wrongs of some mighty nasty perps who must be called by their true names out loud? If this sounds familiar, mind you, this is the Stateside television pilot I recall after 30-plus years…

Robert Culp is at his certifiable creepiest. And he's the good guy. This is not the DC Comics Spectre, he's no Doc Strange, John Constantine or He(ck)boy, less Sherlock Holmes and more Manly Wade Wellman's John Thunstone (with the apparent trappings of wealth) or John the Balladeer (without the southern mountain accent or music). William Sebastian quite literally has a bone to pick with an antagonist that has a very long memory and reach, not to mention staying power. By the end you want to know more about Sebastian, how and why he knows what he knows, and what compels him to know and do more.

A fine supporting cast, John Hurt, Gordon Jackson, James Villiers and Gig Young in particular. Good production values in a fittingly English setting. Well-paced with genuine suspense in the right places. And, for Stateside prime-time in the Seventies, a knockout confrontation with some truly evil—things—that, as best as I can recall, were not enhanced with anything other than makeup, clever editing, a hypnotic chant, and lots of fire.

Had this become a series we likely would've seen less of "Ham" (more Dr McCoy than Dr Watson, and certainly less of poor Gig Young) and more of Lilith. A section of the viewing demographic that also thought Mr Spock a satanic influence would probably get a little wound up and publicly take offense. I am told the theatrical release with respectable box office overseas is marginally longer and adds to that knockout confrontation some truly evil—distractions—that don't need makeup at all. I'd like to think it could have done better on Stateside television simply because it would have HAD to leave something to the imagination and NOT explain everything.

So here's a pitch: Given today's audience, if Someone Out There is still watching, consider the possibilities!


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