Dack Rambo and Elyssa Davalos star as sweethearts Andy Stuart and Jessica Gordon. The course of true love is messed up when Satan claims Jessica as his own personal property. Desperately, Andy turns to a pair of priests, Fathers Kemschler and Wheatley, for spiritual guidance, not to mention a bit of brute force in purging poor Jessica of her demons.
Though it's a poor-boy's amalgam of several top-tier satanic horror films from the genre's heyday of the 1970's, I quite enjoyed this TV-movie, which was a failed pilot, for a proposed series that never came (the type of thing that Mia Wallace bragged that she had previously starred in to Vincent Vega in 'Pulp Fiction'). Philadelphian-born director Wendkos made only a handful of feature films from 1957-99, and 'Good Against Evil' has the workmanlike, low-budget yet professional, sheen that comes with the territory. The first half is a cross between 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'The Omen' series, with the difference that a female ('Jessica Gordon') is born, and it cuts from her 1955 birth in New York City to young adulthood in 1977 San Francisco. Another neat difference is that until now, she has been kept completely in the dark of her evil origins, and simply thinks that she has been 'lucky' and has had a 'guardian angel', though she notices that any man that gets close to her perishes in strange fashion, and comes to the distinct conclusion that it's no mere coincidence. Finally, she falls in love (with 'Andy Stuart'), and her birth father, Mr. Rimmin's plans of becoming immortalized through offering his daughter to the demon Astaroth are thus jeopardized. He has to interfere, and just before the two young lovebirds are to be married, he hypnotizes Jessica to forget everything and move to New Orleans, where she can be 'protected' once more. Not wanting to draw more attention by killing yet again, the 'tribe' decides that rather than murder Andy, to simply have him fall in love again with his ex-flame, Linday, staging an accident that puts her daughter into a coma, and possessing her in the process. Thus, the second half, which becomes a poor-man's version of 'The Exorcist'. Though the special effects are minor and laughable with the budgetary constraints, Wendkos does a decent job and the performances are fine. The ending is a bit over-the-top, though I enjoy those ambiguous yet doom-laden endings, by which you don't know what's about to happen, but you just know there's going to be trouble (like the finish in William Friedkin's 'Sorcerer', for example). Personally, I would have been more understated in my approach, simply showing the black cat was on the park bench, and not doing a close-up of its eyes. Plus, I did feel a bit cheated--Wendkos had done a good job of character development and making us care for what happened to the good people in the film, who were all in way over their heads--I wanted to know what happened to these people. So on the one hand, I can see why the pilot was unsuccessful, but I wish that at least a Part Two had been made. All things considered, if you enjoy satanic horror movies from the 70's as much as I do, it's well worth a look.