Incubus (1965 film)

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Incubus (Esperanto: Inkubo) is a 1965 black-and-white American horror film, restored in 2001. Incubus was directed by Leslie Stevens, creator of The Outer Limits, and stars William Shatner, shortly before he would begin his work on Star Trek. The film's striking cinematography was by Conrad Hall, who went on to win three Academy Awards for his work on the films Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, American Beauty and Road to Perdition. The film was performed entirely in the constructed language Esperanto. This was done to create an eerie, other-worldly feeling,[2] and the director has prohibited dubbing into other languages.

The film was lost for many years because the original print of the film burned in a fire and all copies were reported lost, destroyed, or worn away, but a copy of the film with French subtitles was found in the permanent collection of the Cinémathèque Française in Paris. The Sci Fi Channel funded the restoration from that print and released a DVD in 2001 that included subtitles in English and French. Because the source print contained burned-in French subtitles, the English subtitles are placed over black bars that partially obscure some portions of the frame.

Incubus was the second feature film primarily using Esperanto ever made; the first, Angoroj (Esperanto for "Agonies") appeared in 1964, one year earlier. Esperanto speakers are generally disappointed by the pronunciation of the language by the cast of Incubus.



The film is set in the village of Nomen Tuum (Latin, "your name"), which has a well that can heal the sick and make a person more beautiful. Because of the latter, many conceited or corrupt individuals come to the village for this cosmetic effect. The village has notoriety for its magical water, as well as being a ground for darkness and demons. Along the village, succubi entice the tainted souls who come to Nomen Tuum and lead them to their deaths in order to offer their souls to Hell/the God of Darkness. A prominent young succubus named Kia (Allyson Ames) loathes the routine of herding sinners to hell. Kia claims her powers are being wasted, and needs something/someone more stimulating as her prey. Her sister succubus, Amael (Eloise Hardt), warns Kia of the danger that a pure soul will bring: love. Kia persists anyway and attempts to find a clergyman to seduce into darkness. After watching their behaviour however, she realizes these men are just as iniquitous and shrewd as her previous victims.

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