The film is called The Evil Within and, according to producer Michel Luceri, it cost Getty around $5m and left him in financial ruin.
Shooting began in 2002, but Getty’s debut has taken over 15 years to see the light of the day. Now, thanks to Vision Film and Amazon’s streaming service, The Evil Within is set to become a cult classic among extreme horror fans.
Getty passed away in 2015, at the age of 47, without living to see his film released. He died of a hemorrhage provoked by his repeated, recreational methamphetamine use. His addiction to the drug also partly explains the frightening intensity of his nightmares, which in turn inspired the film.
The Evil Within is the story of a man with learning difficulties who begins committing crimes under the influence of his malevolent reflection. Getty gleefully breaks all the rules of storytelling: characters appear and disappear with no explanation; surreal interludes go nowhere, adding little to the story; the script veers off in bizarre and seemingly irrelevant directions…
So what’s good about it? Well, the special effects – an orgy of latex and animatronics – will delight fans of 80s horror. Ethically and aesthetically, The Evil Within is suffused in the same sort of dream-like horror as Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street.
The ten years that Getty dedicated to the project can be appreciated in the care that is taken with each frame of the movie.
‘What attracted me to this film was… how Getty painstakingly made sure every frame of the film was perfect, and did almost all in-camera special effects. That kind of meticulous work is not done today on most independent movies,’ says Lise Romanoff, of the film’s distributor, Vision Films.
Perhaps that’s why The Evil Within – a movie as terrifying as it is confessional – has already garnered its own cult following.