Music Video of the Day: The Evil Eye by Josh Ritter (2013, dir. Philip Niemeyer)


Let me walk you through how I ended up with this video.

At the beginning of the month, Lisa sent me a DM on Twitter with some music videos that might help me to fill 31 days of October. One of them was listed as “The Evil Eye (1972) by Josh Ritter”. I get near the end of this month, and decide to start dipping into these videos. I watched a bit of the video to make sure it’s something I’d like to do. It was. To IMDb I go because Lisa did include the year 1972, so that must mean it is from a movie called The Evil Eye, right?

I find out that there is a 1963 movie called Evil Eye. It also goes under the name of The Girl Who Knew Too Much. Lisa could have made a typo. I found a copy, and watched it.

It didn’t seem to have anything to do with this video other than that it is directed by Mario Bava who would go on to do Lisa And The Devil (1973), which I’d say is more representative of this video. The 1963 Evil Eye has more to do with A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). A little over two decades prior to Elm Street, John Saxon was in a movie where the female lead was convinced someone was going to come for her at night in her apartment, so she sets up a whole lot of traps to try and catch them. I wonder if Wes Craven saw this movie. I sort of recommend it.

During that same search, I found a movie from 1975 that was also called Evil Eye. That one was harder to track down than the 1963 Evil Eye, but I found it.

Evil Eye (1975, dir. Mario Siciliano)

It has eyes in it that are reminiscent of a Lucio Fulci movie.

Evil Eye (1975, dir. Mario Siciliano)

Evil Eye (1975, dir. Mario Siciliano)

However, while the eyes are certainly present, Evil Hand might have been a more appropriate title.

Evil Eye (1975, dir. Mario Siciliano)

While weird dreams within dreams, unexplained subconscious killings, and a manipulate psychiatrist are revolving around the main character played by Jorge Rivero, the cop below might as well have been in a different movie altogether.

Evil Eye (1975, dir. Mario Siciliano)

This movie doesn’t have much to do with this music video other than that it does share some of the 1970’s look. I recommend the movie only if you enjoyed something like Lisa And The Devil and from what I have read, The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari. It’s been too long since I watched the latter to be sure.

Now I go back to the YouTube video. Someone in the comments section said that Bloody Disgusting brought them there. I had only heard of them from The Cinema Snob review of Black Is Beautiful (1970) where the “doctor” talks about female circumcision, and Snob follows that by saying that “and then Bloody Disgusting will write about the positive sides of female circumcision.” It’s a reference to their review of Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno (2013) where the author goes on for two paragraphs complaining that the film only talks about it as a negative thing. All I have to say in response is to watch the Senegalese film Moolaadé (2004). I’m less looking forward to eventually seeing Roth’s Green Inferno than the 1988 Green Inferno.

The Green Inferno (1988, dir. Antonio Climati)

It’s one of several movies that went by the name of Cannibal Holocaust II.

They have a short Q & A with director Philip Niemeyer on the site. It doesn’t provide a lot of useful information till they ask him about why he combined folk music with horror. He brings up that early 1970’s horror films used that kind of music. He gave two examples. I haven’t seen The Wicker Man (1973). I couldn’t get my hands on a copy on short notice. I could get my hands on a copy of Queens Of Evil (1970), though. Even if the version I had was a bad VHS rip that was dubbed into English.

Queens Of Evil (1970, dir. Tonino Cervi)

Niemeyer was absolutely right about the use of folk music in the video. It’s there for two reasons.

One, actor Raymond Lovelock is also a musician who composed and performed several songs for the movie.

Queens Of Evil (1970, dir. Tonino Cervi)

Also, the movie is about a hippie biker who comes across some witches in the forest who also appear to be hippies living off the grid.

Queens Of Evil (1970, dir. Tonino Cervi)

Queens Of Evil (1970, dir. Tonino Cervi)

I don’t want to spoil the ending, but the devil and its power is a stand-in for the backlash against the free-love and principles that were present among people such as a biker who lives on the road and doesn’t have an apparent fear of sin. I do recommend it.

At times, that movie does look like this video. It’s the one that has the closest ties to it.

Finally, I decided to sit down and write this post only to find that when I did a search again for movies with the title “Evil Eye”, I turned up one more. Lucio Fulci’s film Manhattan Baby (1973) happens to have had the alternate title of Evil Eye.

Manhattan Baby (1982, dir. Lucio Fulci)

Manhattan Baby (1982, dir. Lucio Fulci)

Manhattan Baby (1982, dir. Lucio Fulci)

Manhattan Baby (1982, dir. Lucio Fulci)

It also has a similar effect that we see near the start of the video.

Manhattan Baby (1982, dir. Lucio Fulci)

All of that brings me to the video, which Niemeyer summed up quite nicely in his interview with Bloody Disgusting:

Some definite tropes mark many early ’70s horror films: a satanic and/or a supernatural menace (witchcraft, cultists, vampires), an emphasis on atmosphere, enchanting (often topless) women, a handful of charismatic actors (John Prine, Edwidge Fenech, Pamela Franklin…), analog psychedelic effects, counter-culture protagonists, great acid/prog rock and neo-folk soundtracks, terrific set design, a meandering new wave pacing, an art-damaged narrative sensibility, a nuanced formalism in the photography, and all of these movies–no matter how cheap and trashy–were shot on film. They just look great.

All of these things appeal to me greatly. Don’t know why. Probably something related to childhood.

I guess I could have avoided all those movies. It wasn’t a complete waste of time. I am glad I saw them–especially Queens Of Evil (1970). That is the one I would recommend the strongest out of all of them.

The video does just what Niemeyer said in his interview. It uses a lot of things you’d commonly find in 70’s horror movies before slashers came to dominate horror. I only have a couple of complaints about it.

Why do Hilde Skappel and Katie Flannery look less like they are summoning a special effect, and more like they are having an orgasm at the start of the video?

Maybe that was intentional since the one witch does appear to get jealous when the other one takes an interest in Josh.

A jealousy that appears to culminate in one of them killing the other.

My other complaint is the use of the white dimension for the tarot card scene.

The other shots hold up under HD nicely…

but those scenes don’t, and are a bit jarring when you reach them. Then again, jarring seems to be the right word to describe an edit in the 1975 and 1982 Evil Eye movies, not to mention other 70’s horror films, so what am I complaining about.

They even made a poster for the potential film that could have arisen from what is essentially a trailer for a movie with songs by Josh Ritter.

Dan Forbes was the cinematographer. You can visit his website to see his work as a photographer that includes a black-and-white shot of Jason’s mask.

I hope you appreciate all the pointless movie watching I did in preparation for this post. Enjoy!

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One response to “Music Video of the Day: The Evil Eye by Josh Ritter (2013, dir. Philip Niemeyer)

  1. Pingback: 6 Trailers In Honor Of Val’s Search For The Evil Eye | Through the Shattered Lens

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