A trio of female reporters find themselves staying overnight in a house occupied by a hostile being lurking in the basement.

Director:

(as Peter Foleg)

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Peter Foleg), (story) (as Peter Foleg) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
'Junior' Keller (The Unseen)
...
Jennifer Fast
...
Ernest Keller
Lelia Goldoni ...
Virginia Keller
Karen Lamm ...
Karen Fast
...
Tony Ross (as Doug Barr)
Lois Young ...
Vicki Thompson
Maida Severn ...
Solvang Lady
Edit

Storyline

Freelance reporter Jennifer and her two friends, Karen and Vicki, accept an invitation for cheap room and board in a large farmhouse offered by a friendly, but shady, museum owner named Ernest Keller since all the motels in and around town are booked for a holiday parade fair Jennifer is covering. But unknown to the women, some unseen "thing" has been living in the basement of the house for over 20 years and is looked after by Keller and his shy sister Virginia, in which the "thing" soon gets out and begins harassing and killing the women one by one in various violent, but seemingly accidental, means. Written by Matthew Patay

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The unknown brings terror. The UNSEEN ... DEATH See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Mistério do Invisível  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Danny Steinmann was upset with the final cut of the film because it missed most of the major scares. He had his name removed from the movie and was credited under the pseudonym "Peter Foleg". See more »

Quotes

Ernest Keller: I wonder what junior's fate would be... I wonder... Seems obvious to me my dear they would not treat him so kindly. He would suffer greatly
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rather dull proceedings sprinkled with memorable moments
1 July 2015 | by (New York, NY, United States) – See all my reviews

"The Unseen" has Barbara Bach as one of three female Los Angeles news reporters who are in Northern California to cover a local festival. They end up boarding at an old farmhouse after finding all the hotels in town to be booked, and each individually come face-to-face with a sinister presence lurking in the basement of the home.

Given the credentials of its makers, one would think that "The Unseen" would excel as a genre picture— an early directing credit of cult filmmaker Danny Steinmann, director of "Savage Streets" and "Friday the 13th: A New Beginning," it was also co-written by Kim "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" Henkel, and even featured crew members fresh off of John Carpenter's "Halloween." What could possibly go wrong, right? Well, sort of.

"The Unseen" is a visually appealing film; the cinematography is slick and there is a fair amount of atmosphere here (never mind the overuse of slow-motion shots at peak suspense sequences); it does have a fair share of problems though. Not only is is it staggeringly predictable, but it's also incredibly dull for the first hour. Mind, this is not a body count film by any means, but what it lacks in visual carnage, it fails to make up for in adequate suspense.

There are two key scenes that occur in the film's first hour that kept me drawn in, and they are admittedly well-executed. That's really all to be had here though. Family hysterics abound as the loopy couple who own the farmhouse exhibit their own neuroses, and the familial drama reaches its peak point in the film's goofy climax where the "unseen"'s true identity is revealed (not to much surprise). The film is in many ways similar to Denny Harris' "The Silent Scream," which was made the same year— they share very similar tonal elements, and also complement each other in terms of architectural dwellings of the villains; "The Unseen" lurks in the basement, while the villain in "The Silent Scream" resides in a secret attic. They actually would make a fantastic double feature, though "Silent Scream" is a bit more engaging of a film.

The performances here are actually decent, though Barbara Bach is lacking in the emotive department; she does make up for this though with a great performance during the finale sequences, letting some impressive screams loose. Stephen Furst deserves attention for a disturbing turn as the "unseen," and Sydney Lassick and Lelia Goldoni are madcap mad and wildly hysterical, respectively.

Overall, "The Unseen" is a decent offering from the genre, but doesn't seem to know whether it wants to be a suspense film or a slasher film. Its victim list is far too short to qualify it as a slasher picture, but it lacks the cohesive tension of a suspense film. What we end up with is a dull and ultimately predictable horror flick that is just enough to be slightly memorable, but not enough to truly stand out. There are some well-played sequences and a decent climax, but the majority of the picture is too plodding to truly engage with. 5/10.


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