In 1982, John Cassavetes appeared in a schlocky Canadian-made horror movie called The Incubus, and a not so small portion of The Incubus was shot in Guelph. Just in time for Halloween, we’re going to talk about that time in the 80s where an Academy Award nominated actor and director came to the Royal City to hunt monsters in an unforgettably forgettable horror movie.
Released in 1982, The Incubus focuses on a small New England town plagued by a series of rapes and murders. Cassavetes plays Sam Cordell, a doctor who’s just moved to town with his estranged daughter and gets wrapped up in the police investigation of the attacks. As the saying goes, “It’s not Shakespeare,” but it’s hard to deny that there’s something about the film.
For Guelphites, The Incubus is a time capsule for vintage Guelph circa 1980 with the old Odeon movie theatre, Macdonell Street, the Homewood, and the Gilnockie House on Queen Street all being prime locations. For cinephiles, there’s the curiosity of Cassavetes, long considered the godfather of the modern American independent film movement, who won the Gold Lion at the Venice Film Festival for his acclaimed film Gloria the same year he made The Incubus.
This is where Brett Wright comes in. Wright wrote an article for Split Tooth Media about Cassavetes and why he found some creative solace in shooting The Incubus. This week on the podcast, Wright will give us some insight into the artistic value of The Incubus for Cassavetes, why this supposedly forgettable horror movie from the early 80s hasn’t been forgotten, and why modern audiences and horror fans have been giving it a second look.
So let’s get into this forgotten slice of Guelph pop culture history on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
You can read Wright’s piece “An Artist’s Nightmare: John Cassavetes, Horror Films, and ‘The Incubus’” on Split Tooth Media. Guelph Museums has photos from the Guelph set of The Incubus in their collection, and you can watch The Incubus for yourself, for free, on the ad-supported streaming site Tubi TV.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.
Photo Credit: The Incubus’ film crew setting up a shot on Douglas Street in September 1980 captured in a slide Donald Coulman and part of the Guelph Museums digital collection.