The great thing about a horror movie called "Unseen Evil" is that you can save a fortune on special effects.
An invisible Indian spirit that came from outer space is rampaging through the woods around Big Bear Lake, Calif., trying to retrieve some dime-store Mardi Gras beads that are apparently sacred, but since the creature is invisible, it's mostly a chance to do a lot of kneecap-level Shaky-Cam point-of-view headache-inducing dizzy shots, resulting in bloody limb-gashing and cries of agony as a group of archaeology-students-turned-thieves try to destroy WHATEVER'S OUT THERE.
Actually they do the old "Predator" technique. Remember how the creature was a sort of green digital glow that would appear in tree limbs and then gouge out the eyes of the cast? Same deal, only this time the Indian-spirit space-alien squeal-like-a-pig "Alien"-rip-off monster keeps morphing into various android animal shapes.
The idea is that Richard Hatch is an archaeology professor who has gone off his nut and organized an expedition into a remote national park so he can locate a cave full of Indian artifacts, sell them on the international black market, and retire to South America.
Unfortunately he didn't read the opening type crawl: "When Komashtam'ho, creator of the sun, left his people, he turned himself into four eagles -- the black eagle, the brown eagle, the white eagle, and a fourth eagle, who no man has ever caught a glimpse of, whose name is UNSEEN. -- Yuma Creation Story."
So I guess it's an invisible eagle, scratching and gashing the rude intruders who profaned the place where an Indian virgin was once sacrificed with a golden dagger that looks like a Home Depot garden spade. But it doesn't really look like an eagle. It just looks a big ole slime-glopola lizard on two legs wearing metallic body armor.
In other words, I don't know WHAT it is. Sometimes it looks like a lizard, and sometimes it looks like a goat, and sometimes it kinda morphs into a big brown cocoon that lies on the floor of a cave, thumping and breathing.
Of course, when members of the archaeological expedition discover that they can't outrun it, they decide to fight it with handguns, sticks and a machete. But it won't be satisfied until all the Hefty bags full of flea-market jewelry are returned to the treasure room in the cave.
As it turns out, only one of the five trekkers is a bona fide archaeology student -- the wide-eyed Kate, who was brought along because she can read and interpret cave inscriptions that look like third-grade graffiti. The others are testosterone-laden mercenaries with a habit of sticking revolvers in one another's faces as they have endless discussions about what to do next.
Tim Thomerson plays the hapless park ranger who gets shanghaied at the ranger station and chained to a post, then gets freed by a sarcastic friend and goes in search of the stranded grave-robbers. Of course, it's just more meat for Mister Space Alien Goat Eagle, who rips off his head in a most spectacular manner.
Oh yeah, one more thing. They recover a special golden crown in the cave that, when you put it on, creates visions of past Indian ceremonies involving monsters and space aliens.
In other words, way too much plot getting in the way of the story. Let's just take a look at those drive-in totals:
Nine dead bodies. No breasts. One bikini-clad Indian maiden. Native-American chomping. Occasional bimbo-binding. Stomach-kicking. One mummified corpse. Butt-chomping. Neck-ripping. Horny-toad pig-squealing. Leg-gashing. Tourniquet applied on the OUTSIDE of a guy's jeans. Van-bashing. Arm-slashing. Cliff-diving. Machete-spearing. Head rolls. Kung Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Cindy Pena, as the "wise Indian guide" who drives the meatheads to the mountains; Richard Hatch, as the evil Stephen King look-alike archaeology prof who says "I'm the brain and you're the brawn"; Jere Jon, as the whiskey-guzzling token black guy who whines and whips out his gun at every opportunity; Cindi Braun, as the idealistic petroglyph reader who says "Not into red meat"; Frank Ruotolo, as the only guy who believes in dead Indian spirits, for saying "Bad karma"; and Jay Woelfel, the director, for doing things the drive-in way.
Two and a half stars. Joe Bob says check it out.
"Unseen Evil" Web site: monarchvideo.com.
(To reach Joe Bob, go to joebobbriggs.com or email him at JoeBob@upi.com. Snail-mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221.)