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The Unseen (1980 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Unseen
The Unseen (1980 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDanny Steinmann
Screenplay byMichael L Grace
Story by
Michael L Grace & Kim Henkel and Nancy Rifkin & Danny Steinmann
Produced byAnthony B. Unger
CinematographyRoberto A. Quezada
Edited byJonathon Braun
Music byMichael J. Lewis
Triune Films (II)
Distributed byWorld Northal
Release date
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[1]

The Unseen is a 1980 American horror film directed and written by Danny Steinmann and starring Stephen Furst, Barbara Bach, Sydney Lassick, and Lelia Goldoni.


After a hotel reservation mix up, two sisters Karen and Jennifer, and their friend Vicki Thompson, meet a friendly but shady character named Ernest Keller, the owner of a small town museum. Ernest convinces the three women into accepting an invitation for cheap room and board at his large farmhouse outside of town, where he lives with his wife Virginia. Once there, Jennifer and Karen leave for the holiday parade fair about which Jennifer, a news reporter, is reporting. At the festival, Jennifer is met by her soon to be ex-boyfriend, Tony, who gets her to stay behind to talk about their relationship.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Vicki prepares to take a nap in her room, but is attacked by an unseen figure. The figure eventually begins to pull Vicki into a floor vent; when she tries to escape, the grate of the vent slams down on her neck, killing her. At the parade, Karen leaves Jennifer and Tony to talk, and makes her way back to the house alone, where she too is then attacked and killed by the unseen, as it attempts to pull her by her scarf through a vent into the basement. Virginia, who had been in the barn slaughtering a chicken, soon after comes inside to find the bodies of both Vicki and Karen.

When Ernest arrives back at the house, he finds Virginia in shock. At this point, it is revealed through flashbacks that Virginia and Ernest are, in fact, brother and sister, and that Ernest had murdered his own sadistic father over 20 years ago in order to maintain the unnatural relationship. It is also revealed that they have an inbred son named "Junior" who has been kept locked up in the basement; the viewer also learns that Junior is often viciously beaten by Ernest. Ernest then convinces the subservient Virginia that Jennifer must be killed upon her return, in order to keep everything under cover.

When Jennifer gets back that evening, she is lured into the basement by Ernest, who then locks her inside. She wanders around looking for a way out, only to stumble upon Karen and Vicki's dead bodies. In a panic, she is confronted by Junior, who turns out to be an intellectually disabled and infantile grown man; at this point, it becomes apparent that Junior did not actually mean to kill Karen and Vicki. Ernest comes into the basement to finish off Jennifer, but Virginia, having had a change of heart, attempts to stop him. Ernest begins attacking Virginia, but Junior, enraged by the sight, intervenes to protect his mother. A fight breaks out between Junior and Ernest, while Jennifer escapes. The fight ends with Ernest gaining advantage over Junior, and knocking him in the head with a broken board containing a sharp, exposed nail, which causes Junior to collapse and die.

Ernest then makes his way outside to hunt down and kill Jennifer with a hatchet. Just as she is about to be attacked, Tony pulls up in his car, sees the commotion, and runs to help her, but trips and falls due to an existing leg injury. At the last possible moment, Ernest is shot in the chest from afar by Virginia and dies. The film ends with Virginia in the basement cradling the dead body of Junior.



Festival footage was shot on location in Solvang, California in September 1979, while principal photography began in Solvang and Altadena on November 16, 1979.[1] Filming officially completed on January 10, 1980.[1]


The Unseen was released theatrically in the United States by World Northal in June 1981, first showing in Tucson, Arizona.[1] It subsequently opened in Los Angeles on October 23, 1981.[1]

Home media

The film was released for the first time on DVD by Prism on September 3, 2001. It was released on September 5th, the following year by Digital Entertainment. It was later released as a two-disk by Code Red on July 15, 2008. Scorpion Records later released the film for the first time on Blu-ray on August 20, 2013. The company would also release the film on DVD the same day.[2]


The Unseen received little attention from mainstream critics; existing reviews of the film have been mixed. TV Guide awarded the film 2/4 stars, calling it "a vile and perverse horror film that manages to be interesting and compelling nonetheless".[3] Donald Guarisco from AllMovie gave the film a positive review, commending its creepy atmosphere, direction, and performances of Furst, Goldoni, and Lassick. Concluding his review on the film, Guarisco wrote, "The Unseen is a nice surprise for horror fans and well worth rediscovering."[4] Hysteria Lives! awarded the film 2.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "a genuine oddity".[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "The Unseen (1980)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Los Angeles, California: American Film Institute. Archived from the original on April 20, 2019.
  2. ^ "The Unseen (1980) - Peter Foleg". AllMovie. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Unseen - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV Guide. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  4. ^ Guarisco, Donald. "The Unseen (1980) - Peter Foleg". AllMovie. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "THE UNSEEN". Hysteria Hysteria Lives!. Retrieved April 21, 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 December 2021, at 15:09
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