Monday, June 2, 2014

The Witchmaker (1969)

Director: William O. Brown

Writer: William O. Brown

Composer: Jaime Mendoza-Nava

Starring: Anthony Eisley, Thordis Brandt, Alvy Moore, John Lodge, Shelby Grant, Tony Benson, Robyn Millan, Warrene Ott, Helene Winston, Burt Mustin, Rudy Haydel, Teska Moreau, Kathy Lynn, Sue Bernard, Howard Viet, Nancy Crawford, Patricia Wymer, Carolyn Rhodimer, Larry Vincent, Gwen Lipscomb, Valya Garanda, Diane Webber, Del Kaye, L.Q. Jones

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Their Form Is Human But They Have Crossed Over ... Is There Sex After Death?

Plot:  A series of brutal witchcraft-oriented murders has taken place in a lonely southern bayou. Moore takes a research group deep into the bayou to investigate suspected paranormal events. One of his crew is the descendant of an ancient witch. When the local group of witches finds this out, they decide that she must be brought into their satanic web.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

The first half hour is quite good.  The atmosphere is great (I watched a really dirty widescreen print that gave it that groovy drive-in vibe), the performances were good, story, music, etc.  There was a lot of promise.  But then the second half hour felt like more than twice that.  I hit the timer button and there was still another half hour left to go. The last fifteen go by pretty quickly and the ending was great but there's no escaping the incredible drag you get in that middle third.  It was tough to get through.  If something were done about that this would be a pretty good witch flick in the swamps of Louisiana that would be great to see on the big screen.  Sadly, giving the many opportunities they had for nudity, it was always cleverly or humorously circumvented. 

See that fella in the middle?  That's John Lodge playing Luther the Berserk.  What's weird is that when he's inside his cave home, he's articulate and smart.  Outside...he's a child like oaf.  Strange.  It was AWESOME seeing Alvy 'Hank Kimball' (GREEN ACRES) Moore. 

He's always a welcome sight when he shows up in a picture and he's got a big role, too.  I guess that's not surprising since he was an executive producer.  I loved him on GREEN ACRES, along with everybody else on that show.  It really pains me that this didn't have a tighter mid section.  The movie is probably twenty minutes too long, with at least one long scene of exposition too many.   It was neat seeing that L.Q. Jones was also an executive producer.  He and Moore must have been pals since they worked together as actors and producers for a number of films.  That's neat.

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