Anyone fond of Roger Corman’s vividly-coloured 1960s horrors featuring Vincent Price, or 1970s tv cop-shows, will absolutely adore the decadent technicolour-saturated charms of this strange movie. It’s a love-letter to 1960s and 1970s occult horrors and as a retro feature its an unmitigated success. The casting, the acting, the sets and costume design, it’s a beautifully garish work of art. As a movie in its own right, well, maybe not, but I guess your final opinion will be swayed by how much you love and recall those 1960s and 1970s exploitation flicks that this film revels in. You might find yourself thinking that the style is strong enough to outweigh the lack of substance, or you might find the film long out stays its welcome over its two hours.
Samantha Robinson chews up that lurid scenery as Elaine, a beautiful, single witch in search of a man- the perfect man, and she’s going to use all her witchcraft to get him. Unfortunately, her search pulls a a number of gorgeous hunks into her web but when found lacking they end up dead, and the police end up on her trail. Wouldn’t you know it though- that police detective hunk measures up just fine, and Elaine decides she’s found her perfect man. But will detective Griff be man enough to resist her spell?
In all honesty, the story isn’t the film’s strong point, particularly with its overlong running time and awkward speeches about feminism and the role of women in an ostensibly man’s world, or how women use their sex to overpower men. What I enjoyed was the garish production design, that incredibly vivid cinematography and the deliberately (?) wooden acting and delivery that seems straight out of a 1970s tv-movie. As an homage, I thought it was brilliant.
Budget constraints hurt it somewhat. Or maybe it’s an advantage, all the curious mixing of authentic 1960s/1970s styles with modernity awkwardly (accidently?) thrown in like mobile phones, modern cars etc. sneaking into shots making it a particularly surreal, dreamlike film.
If only this was a Kolchak: the Night Stalker movie instead of something about witches, it might even have been perfect. I’m sure I’ve missed the point of it, but really, someone should shoot a Kolchak movie just like this one was shot, complete with Kolchak’s cheesy monster-of-the-week. It’d be fantastic.