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The 100




Witchcraft
(1964)
Reviewed by Joel Mathis
Rating: 7.5 Beans

itchcraft tries desperately to be a twisting psychological horror film. It tries very hard to be different from its slasher film cousins; there are only three victims in the film, and two of those don't die until the last ten minutes. However a weak script filled with cliches and no suprises for the viewer, a total lack of acting talent in the film, and the merely adequate direction prevent Witchcraft from being an interesting horror film.

The film opens with a young couple being burned at the stake for witchcraft. As always when shown at the beginning of a horror film, the mob justice was right. As they burn the director (Rob Spera) cuts in shots of a woman giving birth. I can only assume that this was intended to be artistic, but it comes across as confusing.

The woman give birth, Grace (Anat Topol), is persuaded by her husband (Alexander Kirkwood) to stay with his mother (Mary Shelley) until she recovers from the birth. Aparently giving birth is normally enough to prevent you from staying at your own place and taking care of your child, but not enough to prevent you from doing things like gardening. At the mother-in-laws, Grace is woken up in the night and looks out the window to see her mother-in-law and a mysterious cloaked man (who could that be?) sacrificing a stuffed black goat that they smeared with blood. From there the film attempts to provide us with non-sequitor "spooky" things happening, but it all comes across like you would expect a typical weekend at the Kennedy estate.

Perhaps the worst part of the film for me was the complete and total lack of any maternal instinct on the part of Grace. While her performance was lacking in general, all she ever does with the baby is occasionally pick it up and admire it. She also has a tendancy to leave the baby behind either unsupervised or with someone I wouldn't trust with a candy bar, let alone my child. While 90 minutes of changing diapers and feeding it wouldn't make for an interesting movie, it would at least show us that she actually cares about the child instead of just caring that she's a mommy.

If the film wasn't bad enough already, there are ten(!) sequals. However, none of the people from this first film return. In fact, as far as I can tell, no one from Witchcraft ever appeared in any other movie again. And seeing Witchcraft will give you a pretty good idea why.






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