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Disclaimer

Unless otherwise noted in the post title, these are not
reviews, per se. They are articles for people who have already seen the film or read the book in question--meaning that there will be spoilers. If you're already familiar with the material being covered, or don't mind the plot being spoiled, please read on and leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

[Genophobia] Evil Come, Evil Go (1972)

Sarah Jane Butler (Cleo O'Hara) is something of a religious nut. When she's not preaching on street corners and condemning strangers to hell, she's allowing herself to be seduced by random men. Following coitus, she then murders them, occasionally leaving some cryptic, Christian-esque message behind at the crime scene.

Don't worry about the murders. You see, Sarah had herself a vision in which God spoke to her and placed her in charge of killing anyone (especially men) who has sex for the sake of pleasure. She's doing the Lord's work, which is why she sings hymns all the while.

Evil Come, Evil Go - Poster Image
Poster Image
This makes for some truly bizarre character interactions that I can't imagine are to be found anywhere else. "What kind of a freak are you!?", one paramour asks. "Why are you singing hymns while I'm trying to give you head?" When she continues, he switches tactics. "Why don't you give me some head? That way your mouth will be full and I won't have to listen to your yapping."

A smooth operator, this one, which is why we don't feel too sorry for him when he gets butchered by the crazed Sister Sarah.

Sarah leaves her home behind and heads to California, probably based on the assumption that there will be plenty of free-loving flower children there that she can put down. While there, she meets and befriends the closeted lesbian Penny (Sandra Henderson), who becomes a firm believer in Sarah's message. Penny vows to give up her lesbian ways and to follow and obey Sister Sarah. Sarah ties Penny to her bed, undresses her, and caresses her nude body with the cold steel of her killing knife. After this goes on for a while, Penny is officially a member of Sister Sarah's Secret Order of Complete Subjugation.

Together they harass sinners until Sarah decides that it is time for her new recruit to get her hands dirty. Penny brings home a man for sex, and is distraught when Sarah slaughters him. Not distraught enough to see the errors of her ways, though.  Shortly afterwards, Penny's ex-girlfriend Junie (Jane Tsentas) stops by to reconcile—and reconcile they do, almost immediately stripping naked and having sex on the couch...until Sarah slinks out of the shadows and strangles Junie.

Sarah and Penny then wrap up the two corpses and drive them into the woods to dispose of them.
Evil Come, Evil Go - Title Card
Title Card
They drag them out a ways, lazily cover them in a handful of leaves, and then spy on a man and woman who are having a secret rendezvous amongst the trees.  When the encounter is over, the woman leaves and the man approaches the two peeping women—he knew that they were watching the entire time.  More than that, he knows who they are, having previously seen them on the street preaching their gospel and singing their songs.  After a few carefully chosen pickup lines, the man walks into the sunset with Sarah on one arm and Penny on the other (while a hippie minstrel follows behind them, strumming an acoustic guitar).  Cue credits.

What a non-ending!  Then again, what a non-beginning and non-middle!  There's not really an ounce of plot anywhere to be found in this trashy nonsense, just a whole lot of mostly-dull softcore sex (with a definite oral fixation), and the only reason that it even deserves a watch is because of the bizarro factor.

A lot of exploitation films start off with a message stating that it is based on a true story (even when it's obviously made up). EVIL COME, EVIL GO trumps that by opening with a Bible quote, of all things, specifically Matthew 7:15—"Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."  Viewing this quote as an attempt to legitimize the proceedings as a serious message film definitely seems absurd—because it is.  And yet it has an interesting connection to the original breed of exploitation films—the traveling roadshow films of folks like Dwain Esper, who would tack such a crawl onto their opening reels in order to convince the censors that theirs were "educational" programs.

The soundtrack is comprised almost solely of our starlets warbling out uneven renditions of some of the most well-known hymns in the public domain. Being raised in the Baptist church, instinct kicked in and I began to sing along on more than one occasion...until I realized how inherently wrong it felt.  Somehow I doubt that the authors of those hymns intended for them to be sung while watching a man be sucked, screwed, stabbed and gutted. Suffice it to say, if you are a believer, then this movie might not be your cup of tea.

Evil Come, Evil Go - Sarah, Victim, Cat
Sarah, Victim, Cat
The major attraction on the soundtrack, though, is Sister Sarah's very own theme song (by Jim Wingert) which crops up from time to time and really breaks down the plot: "Evil come, evil go/Sister Sarah, do you know/is the world in the mess that you say?/Will you strike with your blade/until they all finally cave?/There's another victim every single day/Sarah Jane, Sarah Jane, Sister Sarah, you're insane/But you always pull it off and walk away."  I mean, really, if you throw in the mention of an ashamed lesbian and a plentitude of sex, that could very well work as the official plot synopsis on the back of the box.

So take all the sex and gospel music, and throw in a random house cat that wanders in and out of important scenes (which certainly opens itself up to a crude joke that I won't lower myself to say), lots of cheap blood and gore effects, and a cameo appearance by porn legend John Holmes, and you've certainly got yourself a movie to remember (even if it is one that you would rather forget).

Why exactly does John Holmes crop up in such a minor role?  I can only assume that he was doing the filmmakers a favor, as they were professionally bound even before this production got off the ground.  In fact, nearly everyone involved here had ties to the hardcore porn industry, which had really only begun a few short years earlier.  Information on these early, seedy days of pornography is a bit sketchy, thanks to the heavy use of pseudonyms, and the lack of any genuine journalism interested in the industry.  From what we can tell, writer-director Walt Davis had already helmed at least a few hardcore films prior to this—including the ambiguously titled WIDOW BLUE (1970), which is better known today under the more apt title of SEX PSYCHO. SEX PSYCHO and EVIL COME, EVIL GO have their share of similarities, including the uncomfortable blending of sex and violence.  SEX PSYCHO is an oddity for many reasons, only the least of which is the fact that the heterosexual hardcore is interspersed with homosexual hardcore—featuring Davis himself!  There's also an extremely violent beheading, incest, necrophilia, sex on a coffin, an act of fellatio that would make Lorena Bobbit flinch, and, of course, an orgy with John Holmes.  Hard as it may be to believe, SEX PSYCHO is even more deliriously twisted than EVIL COME, EVIL GO.  EVIL COME was produced by Bob Chinn, who is said to have forever altered the industry with his series of "Johnny Wadd" films (and subsequent novels!)—starring John Holmes.

Oh, and just in case you're not sick of seeing John Holmes' name here in print, he was also the assistant director of EVIL COME, EVIL GO, and even provided the special effects makeup!

It cannot be said that this project of mine does not take me to some pretty weird places...


—J/Metro

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