Sunday, 7 October 2012

5 Wicked Witch Movies

Witches, they seem to have gotten a bad wrap over the last hundreds of years.  What with the plague, then the Spanish Inquisition (which nobody expected) and finally the Salem Witch Trials, it just didn't pay to be a witch back then.  The church believed that these people but mostly women had sold their souls to the devil, for magic ability to create spells or potions to control and hurt other people.  This led to perhaps the most unreasonable trials and tests that no one could survive, whether you were a witch or not.  Luckily the witch hunts were stopped but the idea of having these abilities has created a wonderful mythos for movies & television.  Some of the films have witches working alone or with a coven, some are male witches called warlocks and some are spirits exacting revenge for their prosecution many years ago.  Whatever the case, the witch character is an intriguing and fascinating villain for the horror genre.

Here are 5 Wicked Witch Movies:

5. The Blood On Satan's Claw (1971) -While plowing his field, Ralph Gower uncovers a freaky skull with one eye and covered with fur.  He runs over to tell the Judge and asks him to come look at it because it seems evil.  Apparently, Ralph does this a lot because the Judge warns him that if it's not evil then Ralph is in a lot of trouble.  When they arrive, the skull is gone & the Judge shakes his head at Ralph.  Oh Ralph. Meanwhile, in another part of the movie, Ralph's boss arrives home with his new fiance, who his aunt disapproves of and they have dinner with the Judge.  The fiance isn't feeling well, so she excuses herself, which becomes a question of where she is sleeping?  They stick the poor girl in the attic, where in the middle of the night she is attack by a hairy claw hand!  She goes mad, stabs the aunt and is hauled out of the house to an institution. Later that night, Ralph's boss is attack by the claw hand and ends up cutting of his on hand, which he was choking himself with.  The next morning the Aunt's disappeared and the Judge bids them farewell, telling them that there will be some bad times coming.  Thanks, your honour.  In story 3, some kids have found some bits of bones and claws, so they put it in a bag and bring it to school.   The teacher is very religious and doesn't like kids playing with animal bone bits in his class.  He confiscates the bag and the children are pissed.  They seem to be led by a girl with some heavy duty eyebrows named, Angel Blake, who now enjoys killing her classmates, taking their skin for the devil and trying to seduce the teacher. Umm eww.  At the funeral, her father tells the local busy body, who happens to be the town constable that she was propositioned by the teacher.   The constable arrests the teacher and they find another body in a shed.  Ralph decides to go into town and talk to the judge.  The Judge recently borrowed a book and has learned for this book that these signs all point to, that's right, Witchcraft! He and Ralph most now stop it before it goes to farther! (or at least farther than it's already gotten to because he ignored it in the first place.)  This was a fun film to watch and Ralph has the worst clothes I've ever have seen in a period/folk piece. Though a little confusing at first, it comes around eventually back to the Ralph story and it's full steam ahead.  Some creepy scenes, that may have inspired films like the Wicker Man or even Children of the Corn, with kids conducting religious ceremonies and villagers being overcome by the beast.  Not overly violent but some good blood scenes here and there.  Enjoyable and a good watch.

4. Witchboard (1986) - Jim & his girlfriend Linda are having a party and someone invited douchebag Brandon Sinclair, who happens to be Linda's ex-boyfriend and Jim ex best friend.  Awkward.  Luckily, he brought a Ouija board, now he and Linda can visit the spirit of an 8 year old boy named David, which Brandon's been spending a lot of time with for some reason.  They contact him and apparently he hates Jim, and Jim teases him about being a ghost, so he blows out Brandon's tires.  Take that Jim.  The next day, Brandon has left his Ouija board there and Linda tries and to contact David.  David tells her that Jim is a still a jerk, she's pregnant and her lost diamond ring is in the sink in the bathroom.  Meanwhile during lunch and some serious back story conversation, Lloyd, Jim's new best friend gets crushed with some sheet rock.  At the funeral, a magic enthusiast and homicide detective named Dewhurst clumsily indicates that Lloyd death may in fact be a murder!  At home, Linda is still playing with the Ouija board and losing her temper with Jim.  She drops the baby bomb on him and he almost tells her he loves her.  The next day, Linda tries to say goodbye to David but he gets angry and throws a knife down on the kitchen floor, then adds insult to injury by pouring ketchup on the floor.  Luckily, Brandon is one step of head of Linda, goes to Jims work and explains to Jim that Linda is in the first phase of demonic possession, "Progressive Entrapment".  Brandon brings over the flakiest medium, Zarabeth and she rids the apartment of David.  On the way home, she mentions to Brandon the name Malfeitor and asks if he has ever heard the name before.  He hadn't so she said she would investigate the name but she is killed shortly after she gets home by an evil spirit.  The next day, Linda is hospitalized from a spiritual attack of some kind.  Fed up, Brandon & Jim put away their differences, try to find the grave of David and find out why he's being so evil!  The worst part about this movie is there are no mention of witches throughout the film! Why call it Witchboard if there is no witches?  *Spoiler* They could of even tacked on that Malfeitor was a witch as well as a killer just to make it make sense. *End of Spoiler*  Anyway the story is silly, the detective is so useless, telling them that the axe that was used to slit Zarabeth throat was the same axe that cut the ropes to kill Lloyd.  I don't think so.  Linda is played by the girl from the Whitesnake video, "Here I Go Again" and the voice of Annebelle on Eek! The Cat, Tawny Kitaen and no one else is recognizable unless you watch soap operas, then maybe Stephen Nichols.  Low body count and when people die, its meh.  It would be more amusing to watch maybe drinking with some friends but by myself I found it witch boring. 

3. Warlock (1989) - After the looooongest walk in an opening, some priests arrive at the top of a tower and tell the chained Warlock that he is going to die.  After some ever so clever banter in ye old talky talk of, no I'm not, yes you are the priests leave.  However, random guy, Redferne is there to tell him that he is happy that the warlock is going to die because bewitched his love, Marion.  Unfortunately, Satan has other plans for the Warlock and sends the Warlock into the future to the year 1989.  When the Warlock arrives, he thrown through a window in California and is nursed back to health by Kassandra with a K and her room mate, Chas.  The next morning to thank them, the Warlock kills Chas and heads into the city to check out a book signing.  At the book signing, he convinces a medium to channel the devil for him and the Devil employs him to find the Grand Grimoire.  This is the Witches how to book, which happens to have God's name in it and if God's name is said backwards, then the universe will be destroyed.  Meanwhile, the police have brought Kassandra with a K in for questioning but gets to leave because she's diabetic.  I need to remember that.  She goes home and Renferne surprises her!  He somehow tagged along in the satanic whirlwind, but what the fuck he's there with a witch finder tool.    She calls the police but before they arrive the Warlock comes back because part of the Grand Grimoire was in an antique table that was bought by Chas.  How convenient.  Anyway, The Warlock escapes and puts a aging spell on Kassandra, so now she and Referne must go on a 3 day road trip, save Kassandra, stop the Warlock and save the world! Director Steve Miner returns to horror after Soul Man, a stint on Wonder Years and puts this one together.  Julian Sands actually does a great job as the Warlock.  He gives the character just the right pompous attitude and flair that makes the Warlock a likeable 80's bad.  Richard E. Grant is also terrific as Renferne, despite the name but Lori Singer's Kassandra character drives me mad.  She is so unlikeable, it's not even funny.  The movie is alright and as some hits and misses with the special effects.  The medium turning to the devil, good.  All the flying scenes of the Warlock, bad.  Not a huge body count but it still was a fun ride.

2. Superstition (1982) -A young couple is parked outside a spooky old house.  During a break in their make out session, they talk about how creepy the area is and all the supernatural events that have happened there.  The girl suggests they go but the guy says it's fine.  All of a sudden!  A head pops up, scares them and they drive away while some guy is laughing hysterically in the bushes.  The guy radios his buddy in the house and tells him how funny it was but they should get going.  The guy inside agrees and comes downstairs when he's attacked by the something eeeevilll!  His friend outside gets tried of waiting and comes inside to find his friend.  Only to see that his friends head is in the microwave and it explodes!  The guy runs and tries to crawl out a 2nd story window, which cuts him in half.  The end.  No wait, apparently the police are fed up with this house killing people and the church who owns the property needs to take care of this murdering house.  They also need to drain their lake, because if someone survives the house, they may drown in the lake.  The young priest explains that a new reverend is coming to live there with his family but the old priest can go down to the house with the detectives to see what's up.  They go down there and discover a creepy old lady and her mentally challenged son live in a house right beside the evil house.  After minutes of detectiving, they decide the handicapped man is the killer and the young detective chases the mentally disabled person to the lake.  Only he escapes and the evil lake sucks up the detective.  The police put out an APB on the handicapped fellow and search the lake.  Not finding anything but a silver cross, they give up and give the cross to the young priest to investigate.  But wait, isn't the reverend and his family coming to live in the house soon.  We need to spruce it up!  During the sprucing up, the old priest gets it in the chest with a saw blade, um gruesome, and the new family arrives just shortly after.  Apparently, there is no crime in his town because the one detective that we have left is just hanging out while the new reverend and his family are unpacking.  Him and the young priest aren't torn up by there loses, if only they had some clue of what was going on.  Eventually, the young priest, after a bunch of murders finally finds out that the home belonged to a witch, that the town drown 300 years ago, but because she wasn't burned she can attack people in the surrounding area and now that the silver cross was removed from the lake, she can kick some serious ass in the tri-state area.  Can the young preist get his ass in gear with the help of the alcohollic Reverend and stop this witch?  This movie is pretty gory.  There are some terrific kill scenes and was on the Video Nasties list at one time.  The story isn't very good, but it can be funny at times.  The acting is poor and I noticed that costume continuity wasn't a huge priority.  All in all, fun film and totally worth a view.

1. Suspira (1977) - Susan Banyon arrives in Munich to go to a prestigious ballet school.  When she arrives, it is storming and another student, who is visibly upset is yelling about something into the school.  The upset student runs into the night and Susan rings the doorbell but is told to go away and they've never heard of her.  Susan gets back in the cab, feeling rejected.  However the upset student runs to her friends apartment and asks to stay the night.  When asked about what happened, all the student says is that it was unbelievable.  She catches her breath and asks to use the bathroom, where she is horrified, not by the smell but an evil set of eyes in the window.  She is pulled through the window by a hairy arm and stabbed repeatedly in the chest.  For good measure she is thrown out a window and hung by an extension cord.  Her friend runs downstairs and freaks out!  When the police arrive, the friend has been murder as well.  So, when Susan arrives at school the next day, she meets Miss Tanner and head instructor Miss Blanc, who aren't visible upset and excuse themselves from the police to talk to the new girl.  Miss Blanc tells her that her room is not ready and she can stay with another student until it's ready.  She is brought upstairs and left with the girls in the change room.  She meets her obnoxious room mate and makes a new friend with another girl named Sarah.  The next day, she is told her room is ready but she tells them that it's okay and she's happy living outside the school.  Miss Blanc insists but Susan says it's alright.  Miss Blanc leaves in a huff and while Susan is walking down the corridor of the school, the kitchen lady flashes something in her eyes.  Susan gets to class disorientated and while warming up, she collapses.  When she wakes up, she finds all her bags have been moved in and she is being treated by a doctor.  Miss Blanc and the doctor inform her that she needs to rest and they have put her on a strict diet.  That night, they top floor has maggots dripping from the ceiling and the girls panic, Miss Tanner investigates the attic and find a box full of...spoiled meat!  They have a slumber party in the practice hall and Sarah starts filling in Susan about weird things that go on in the school, while they hear some bizarre snoring.  The blind pianist, whose piano playing sounds like an orchestra, helper dog attacks Miss Blanc's nephew.  He and his dog are banished from the school and winds up dead.  Sarah tells Susan that she knew the girl who was murdered when Susan arrived.  And that she thought there were witches in the school and they were being evil and stuff.  Can Susan find out the secrets of the school and stop the witches, if they exist?  I love Suspira and every time I see it, I find more things to like about it.  Dario Argento has some very stylish and graphic kills in this film, that still hold up today.  This is the first in his, Three Mothers trilogy which includes Inferno and Mother of Tears, which are both excellent films.  Great film and a definite must for any horror fan!

 So, make sure your cauldron is bubbling and you've got your pointy hat on when you watch these movies.  And if any clergy people come to your door, make sure you turn them into a toad before you fly away on your supped up broom. I'm out, Witches!

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