Evil Come, Evil Go (1972)

Hell Hath No Fury.

Theatrical poster for 1972's Evil Come, Evil Go

Religious nut Sarah Jane Butler (Cleo O’Hara) has had herself a vision in which God spoke to her and charged her with the responsibility of killing anyone who has sex for the sake of carnal pleasures. That’s why she seduces men, sleeps with them, and then murders them, all while gleefully singing hymns. She recruits closeted lesbian Penny (Sandra Henderson) to her cause, and together they will punish the wicked!

The stars of 1972's Evil Come, Evil Go

What a non-ending this movie has! Then again, what a non-beginning and non-middle! There’s not really an ounce of plot anywhere to be found in this trashy nonsense, just a whole lot of mostly-dull softcore sex (with a definite oral fixation), and the only reason that it even deserves a watch is because of the bizarro factor. Typically the religion mixed in with sex and horror is Satanism, but here the filmmakers went straight to Christianity. I’m not sure if they intended a message or not, but needless to say, EVIL COME, EVIL GO is not for everyone.

A lot of exploitation films start off with a message stating that it is based on a true story (even when it’s obviously made up). EVIL COME, EVIL GO trumps that by opening with a Bible quote, of all things, specifically Matthew 7:15—“Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Viewing this quote as an attempt to legitimize the proceedings as a serious message film definitely seems absurd—because it is. And yet it has an interesting connection to the original breed of exploitation films—the traveling roadshow movies of folks like Dwain Esper, who would tack such a crawl onto their opening reels in order to convince the censors that theirs were “educational” programs.

Sister Sarah playing the accordian in 1972's Evil Come, Evil Go

The soundtrack is comprised almost solely of our starlets warbling out uneven renditions of some of the most well-known hymns in the public domain. Being raised in the Baptist church, instinct kicked in and I began to sing along on more than one occasion…until I realized how inherently wrong it felt. Somehow I doubt that the authors of those hymns intended for them to be sung while watching a man be sucked, screwed, stabbed and gutted.

The major attraction on the soundtrack, though, is Sister Sarah’s very own theme song (by Jim Wingert) which crops up from time to time and really breaks down the plot: “Evil come, evil go/Sister Sarah, do you know/is the world in the mess that you say?/Will you strike with your blade/until they all finally cave?/There’s another victim every single day/Sarah Jane, Sarah Jane, Sister Sarah, you’re insane/But you always pull it off and walk away.” I mean, really, if you throw in the mention of an ashamed lesbian and a plentitude of sex, that could very well work as the official plot synopsis on the back of the box.

The interrupting feline from 1972's Evil Come, Evil Go

So take all the sex and gospel music, and throw in a random house cat that wanders in and out of important scenes, lots of cheap blood and gore effects, and a cameo appearance by porn legend John Holmes playing pool in a bar, and you’ve certainly got yourself a movie to remember (even if it is one that you would rather forget).

But why exactly does John Holmes crop up in such a minor role? I can only assume that he was doing the filmmakers a favor, as they were professionally bound even before this production got off the ground. In fact, nearly everyone involved here had ties to the hardcore porn industry, which had really only begun a few short years earlier. Information on these early, seedy days of pornography is a bit sketchy, thanks to the heavy use of pseudonyms, and the lack of much genuine journalism interested in the industry. From what we can tell, writer-director Walt Davis had already helmed at least a few hardcore films prior to this—including the ambiguously titled WIDOW BLUE (1970), which is better known today under the more apt title of SEX PSYCHO. SEX PSYCHO and EVIL COME, EVIL GO have their share of similarities, including the uncomfortable blending of sex and violence. SEX PSYCHO is an oddity for many reasons, only the least of which is the fact that the heterosexual hardcore is interspersed with homosexual hardcore—reportedly featuring Davis himself! There’s also an extremely violent beheading, incest, necrophilia, sex on a coffin, an act of fellatio that would make Lorena Bobbit flinch, and, of course, an orgy with John Holmes. Hard as it may be to believe, SEX PSYCHO is even more deliriously twisted than EVIL COME, EVIL GO. EVIL COME was produced by Bob Chinn, who is said to have forever altered the industry with his series of “Johnny Wadd” films (and subsequent novels!)—starring John Holmes.

Cleo O’Hara appeared in eleven of these types of films between 1971 and 1974 according to the IMDb, however she only received screen credit in four of them—this one, OH! YOU BEAUTIFUL DOLL (1973), THE DANISH CONNECTION (1974; a Johnny Wadd film, also with Sandra Henderson), and THE DICKTATOR (1974), all of which Walt Davis was involved in. O’Hara and Henderson also appeared together in YOUR WIFE OR MINE and THE EROTIC ARTIST (both 1971), and Henderson went on to appear in SLEAZY RIDER (1973), which earns a mention for its title alone.

Jane Tsentas (who appears briefly as Penny’s ex-girlfriend Junie) may have had a smaller role here than Clara O’Hara or Sandra Henderson, but she has a much more expansive filmography, most of her credits in the sexploitation/exploitation arena. The tamest of these roles appears to be the little people crime comedy LITTLE CIGARS (1973)—though even there, she played a stripper. Look for her also in THE BIG SNATCH (1971), BIG BEAVER SPLITS THE SCENE (1971), and THE ADULT VERSION OF JEKYLL & HYDE (1972).

Oh, and just in case you’re not sick of seeing John Holmes’ name here in print, he was also the assistant director of EVIL COME, EVIL GO, and even provided the special effects makeup!

EVIL COME, EVIL GO and SEX PSYCHO are proof of the weird places this hobby can sometimes take me to…


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