Search - Simon, King of the Witches on DVD

Simon, King of the Witches
Simon King of the Witches
Actors: Allyson Ames, Norman Burton, Jay Della, Angus Duncan, William Martel
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2008     1hr 39min

"All I touch, I corrupt." — Simon Sinestrari is a warlock. Though he lives in a storm drain and sometimes talks to trees, he's the real deal, no smoke and mirrors. Deadly serious about his craft, he despises falsehoods and ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Allyson Ames, Norman Burton, Jay Della, Angus Duncan, William Martel
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Dark Sky Films
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 06/24/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Fine Comedy
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 04/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Simon, King of the Witches"

A Fine Comedy

Amos Lassen

"Simon, King of the Witches" is a very funny film. It is a little witty, comic thriller with a bravura performance by Andrew Prine. Simon is a warlock and an occult magician who is very serious about his work. He tries to explain what a witch really is and no one wants to listen.
Let me tell you from the very beginning. This is not a sexually amoral cult film. Instead the movie is about Simon's involvement in attempts to put a hex on the local district attorney. What the movie is really about is how ignorant we are about the world of the spirits and about those who try to be able to contact it or control it. Simon does not seem so much a witch as a shaman. The words Satan and G-d are never mentioned in the film and the movie is related from a secular point of view. Simon is simply a trained professional who has the ability to be able to influence the nature of humans and the elements.
Simon lives in the storm drain underneath the city. He meets a hippie who takes him to a party at a rich man's house and he begins his adventures--war on the police department, love, and a really honest performance.
It seems to me that the movie is only half serious and at times seems very campy. There is a freaky feel to the entire project and the film is at times hard to follow but it is fun. There is a lot of psychedelia in the film and it reminded me of the old Haight-Asbury scene.
An Insider's Look at the insider's look: Hollywood Occult Sc
Thabion | Orange, CA USA | 07/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Simon, King of the Witches
Directed by Bruce Kessler. Written by Robert Phippeny, 1971

This film has several levels of meaning. Superficially it appears to be a stylish excursion through the Southern California psychedelic pop-culture era of self-styled warlocks and witches circa 1970. This was a time when magick was in the air and even the mundane world had a mysterious shimmer and sparkle. There will never be a time quite like it again - And for those of us caught in the spell of that bygone era, Southern California was the Land of Oz.
You can recapture the flavor and mystery of that now-ancient time and faraway place with the excellent DVD reissue of the 1971 film Simon, King of The Witches. How do I know this? Because according to urban myth, I was the real-life (if any of our lives at that time could be called "real") model for the character of Simon Sinistari, the Hollywood warlock in the film.
Now that requires some qualification: I never lived in a storm drain, I never performed an 11th degree operation (gay sex magick), and I never killed anybody, but other than that, how many black bearded, cigar smoking, wine drinking, witch-bashing, self-proclaimed mighty wizards were there prowling the streets of Hollywood during the 1969-70 years? I ask this question because, in the excellent commentaries included in this reissue, both the actor Andrew Prine and the director Bruce Kessler state that screen writer Robert Phippeny was himself "a warlock" and the model for his own character. If this is true I will be more than happy to concede Simon's tarnished crown to Phippeny----but I would like to know where he was while we were "doing his thing."
The general consensus among the "old guard" (some of us did survive!) is that Robert Phippeny was at least a first-hand observer and a student of "The Black Arts." He kept a low profile, whereas I did not. He may have used another name on the street. Many of us did. He had obviously read Aleister Crowley and Franz Bardon (putting him light years ahead of most witches in the magick department). The "magick" depicted in Simon comes closer to actual practice than anything previously shown on the screen----or subsequently for that matter. But just to be picky we should point out that there is no such thing as an "effluvial condenser" although effluvium is an appropriate ingredient for certain "fluid" condensers which could be charged sexually but would then have to be applied to the magick mirror, not hung over it as in the film. However this error may have been intentional in order to achieve a more dramatic effect. Phippeny's knowledge of Bardon on sex magick is apparent in the colors of Simon's and Linda's ceremonial robes: Simon wears blue and Linda wears red, reversing the polarities to create a dynamic interchange
(see Initiation into Hermetics page 247 or 308 in the 2nd edition).
But we still want to know just what astrological aspect Simon was trying to exploit in his major magical working set for 1:33 p.m.?
Robert Phippeny certainly did his homework, but don't try to use Simon as a training film anymore than you would use Saving Private Ryan as a guide to actually saving Private Ryan.
Beyond all the technical expertise demonstrated in the film we have what I consider a very good story---perhaps too good, and certainly too deep for the market the distributors appealed to. Director Bruce Kessler laments this in his commentary. The screen play is witty, sharp and well-crafted, although it gets a bit confusing in the end, obviously due to budget and time constraints. With all the limitations and the brief production time, Kessler and as his crew were really trying to make a meaningful film. Along that line I should point out that the novelized version of Simon, King of the Witches (Dell 1971) is an excuse for hack pornography by "Baldwin Hills" (name taken from a Southern California community) and serves only to remind the aspiring screen writer never to permit any novelized version of his work over which he has no control.
So, if Robert Phippeny is still out there somewhere, here's a five-star review from "the old guard." Let's hear from you. Same goes for Andrew Prine and Bruce Kessler. You gave us a terrific memorial to our personal, funky, trippy, long-gone Land of Oz.
But perhaps the biggest unsolved mystery in Simon, King of the Witches are the identities of its stars? I always thought Andrew Prine and Brenda Scott had top billing. Who are Allyson Ames and Norman Burton?

Poke Runyon
Writer-Producer: Beyond Lemuria

Much Better Than I Expected...
Jeffrey Peter A. Hauck | Pennsylvania USA | 08/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Simon - King of The Witches:

I won't repeat and thus detract from the other positive reviewer's comments on this movie. However, as a fan of the sci-fi/horror genres I had read about this movie but never expected it to be released on DVD.

After receiving it I watched it three times to catch all of the overt and subtle nuances and then watched the special features featurette "Simon Says" with actor Andrew Prine. The result? I found this movie to have a clear objective and to show another side of "witchcraft" departing from the stereotypical with an understandable storyline requiring only minimal "suspension of disbelief."

Released in 1971, this movie was cast in the days before computer generated special effects (FX) were conceived (obviously!). However the effects that were created and used are well done and successfully incorporated into the frames. The performances of Andrew Prine (Simon) and the supporting actors and actresses were professional and consistent with the better movies of period.

I thought the film photography was clear and professionally produced and perhaps only borders on the line between a "B" and "A" rated movie at worst. At best, it is an exemplar of the genre that could be believed and that makes for a good movie! As director Bruce Kessler stated in an interview the downfall of the movie was that "it was not marketed and sold properly." I agree with him. If it was, it might have risen to a higher level of film acclaim.

Regardless, "Simon - King of the Witches" is a worthwhile 99 minute trip into the occult and bizarre that may keep you coming back for more. Although thirty-seven years old at the time of this writing I rate "Simon" at 5 stars. Get it for Halloween and view with an open mind. You won't be disappointed!


Simon, King of the Magical Movies
silver elves | honolulu, hi. | 08/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While this is not a perfect movie, it is a great movie, one of the few about real magic and a real magician. It is sly, witty, and despite its failings, quite brilliant. It never fails to move and inspire us. We seldom see movies more than once but we've seen this one over a dozen times. If you love magic, you will most likely love this movie. If you love movies, you'll appreciate the innovation and creativity that went into this one. It truly is magic.
the silver elves"