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Evil Spirits (1990)

R | | Horror | 3 October 1991 (USA)
A strange woman runs a boardinghouse whose tenants--mostly misfits and others who won't be missed--begin dying off or simply disappearing. She still cashes their government benefit checks ... See full summary »


Gary Graver


Mikel Angel


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karen Black ... Ella Purdy
Arte Johnson ... Lester Potts
Virginia Mayo ... Janet Wilson
Michael Berryman ... Mr. Balzac
Martine Beswick ... Vanya
Bert Remsen ... John Wilson
Yvette Vickers ... Neighbor
Mikel Angel Mikel Angel ... Willie
Debra Lamb ... Tina
Robert Quarry ... Doctor
Anthony Eisley ... Detective
Hoke Howell ... Mailman
Sam Menning Sam Menning ... Hans
Dori Courtney Dori Courtney ... Bank Teller
Larry Biedes Larry Biedes ... Mr. Stevens


A strange woman runs a boardinghouse whose tenants--mostly misfits and others who won't be missed--begin dying off or simply disappearing. She still cashes their government benefit checks even after they're gone, and it turns out that disappearing tenants aren't the only weird things that are going on in that house. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Madness. Murder. Mayhem.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for areas of graphic violence, and for a scene of sensuality. | See all certifications »






Release Date:

3 October 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Espíritos do Demônio See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


The house used in this film was also seen in Haunting Fear (1990). See more »


Referenced in Invasion of the Scream Queens (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Hilarious--Black is Whack and we love her for it!
4 October 2007 | by ThrownMuseSee all my reviews

Batty widower Ella (Karen Black!) rents out the rooms in her giant house to various boarders in order to make ends meet. When one of his clients goes missing from the residence, a snoopy social services agent discovers her boarders have an abnormally high "turnover" rate. YES! "Evil Spirits' is tailor made for fans of Karen Black's zany side. While this film is really just a vehicle for her weirdness (at one point she's talking with her parrot, making the strangest noises I've ever heard come out of her mouth, all while crossing her eyes and smiling at it like it's lunch), it's actually a pretty good ride. Unlike later films where her charm is the only redeeming quality, such as "Auntie Lee's Meat Pies," "Evil Spirits" is an all-around hoot. Ella is such a kooky character. Several scenes just feature her laughing maniacally for extended periods of time. This is priceless, prime Karen Black! Even though her husband is dead, Ella still talks to him on a regular basis (the Danny Devito-ish voice that retorts back with silly comment is one of the movie's more grating downsides.) While many of the boarders are older and/or ready to kick the bucket (hmm!), she does have a few eccentric younger folks staying with her. A young lady named Tina is like a throwback to Vulnavia from "Dr. Phibes," gracefully dancing (or, um, flailing) about the other characters at random times, except instead of ornate outfits and headpieces she has a leotard and 80s hair. There's also a spastic and pretentious author (Michael Berryman refreshingly playing against type) who spends much of his time staring through peepholes at Tina undressing as she dances. And don't forget "Neighbor," a bitchy middle-aged lady who doesn't appreciate that the yard next door smells like doody! It's a witty performance by drive-in starlet Yvette Vickers*. So, okay, okay, "Evil Spirits" is not incredibly original and it's completely predictable. It's a bit of a throwback to films like "Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice?" and even Black's film from two decades earlier, "Burnt Offerings." However, it's tongue is planted so firmly in it's cheek that it bursts right through. Black and company go full throttle with the whackiness, and it's a wonderful time.

*not to be confused with Aussie icon Jacque Vickers.

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