The 1980 horror film "The Unseen" is diverting stuff: it's equal parts amusing, disturbing, and ultimately touching. With story credit going to makeup effects masters Stan Winston and Tom Burman, it's got some fine suspense moments, good makeup effects by Craig Reardon (but not very much gore), a fantastic music score by Michael J. Lewis, and capable acting from a well chosen cast. It moves along well to a terrific final third, when all is revealed. Some potential viewers may be turned off by the low body count, while others may admire the twisted nature of the story points. (For those who care, there *is* full frontal nudity from cast member Lois Young.)
Gorgeous, glamorous Barbara Bach, the Bond girl of "The Spy Who Loved Me", stars as Jennifer Fast, a reporter who travels with her crew, consisting of Vicki (Ms. Young) and Jennifers' sister Karen (Karen Lamm, "Trackdown"), to the tiny California town of Solvang to cover its Danish festival. Due to a mix-up with their reservations, they're without lodging, but fortunately they run into museum proprietor Ernest Keller (Sydney Lassick, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"), who offers to let them stay at his farmhouse. Unfortunately, what they don't know is that Ernest and his mousy "wife" Virginia (Lelia Goldoni, "Shadows") are hiding a big secret in their cellar, which surfaces to terrorize the three lovely ladies.
Bach does well in the lead, even though in the last act she doesn't do much besides scream and cower in fright. Lamm and Young are likable, as is Douglas Barr ('The Fall Guy', "Deadly Blessing") as Jennifers' athlete boyfriend. Goldoni is so good that your heart just goes out to her character. But the movie really belongs to the late, very distinctive character actor Lassick, who here has one of the biggest roles of his career and makes the most of it. His truly creepy Ernest is the true monster of the piece, not the mentally impaired "Junior" (incredibly well played by Stephen "Flounder" Furst of "Animal House") who only wants to play and doesn't know his own strength.
This is a solid credit for the late cult director Danny Steinmann ("Savage Streets", "Friday the 13th: A New Beginning"), although he was dissatisfied enough with the final cut that he took his name off the picture, to be replaced with the pseudonym "Peter Foleg".
Some of the same crew from "Halloween" (1978) are utilized here, including Don Behrns, Barry Bernardi, and camera operator Raymond Stella.
Seven out of 10.