Search - Witchery on DVD

Actors: David Hasselhoff, Linda Blair, Catherine Hickland, Annie Ross, Hildegard Knef
Director: Fabrizio Laurenti
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2006     1hr 35min

Gary (David Hasselhoff) and his gal pal Linda (Catherine Hickland) visit an island off the coast of Massachusetts where a haunted resort hotel looms to do research on witchcraft. They're joined by the Brooks family (includ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: David Hasselhoff, Linda Blair, Catherine Hickland, Annie Ross, Hildegard Knef
Director: Fabrizio Laurenti
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Shriek Show
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/10/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1988
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1988
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

"They've got a lot of legends about this island. Witches and
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 11/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Witchery (1988) has gone by any number of titles over the years, including the following; Ghosthouse 2, Witchcraft, La Casa 4, Witchcraft: Return of the Exorcist, but no matter which name it's called, the plain and simple fact is it's drecky bit of horror cinema. Produced by the late Aristide Massaccesi aka Joe D'Amato (Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Buio Omega), who specialized in horror and softcore porn, often times featured within the same film, Witchery was directed by Fabrizio Laurenti (Troll 3). Starring in the movie is Linda Blair (The Exorcist, Chained Heat), Leslie Cumming (Zombie 5: Killing Birds), David Hasselhoff (Revenge of the Cheerleaders, Starcrash), and David Hasselhoff's perm ("Knight Rider", "Baywatch Nights"). Also appearing is Catherine Hickland ("One Life to Live"), who was married to der Hoff at the time of filming, Annie Ross (Superman III, Basket Case 2), Robert Champagne (Ghosthouse), Rick Farnsworth, Michael Manchester, and Hildegard Knef (The Lost Continent), as the mysterious and sadistic (and annoying) `lady in black'.

As the film begins we see a pregnant woman in a nightgown being chased on a beach into a deserted hotel by a handful of idiots, and given their garb, I suspect this is meant to have happened sometime in the past. This goes on for a bit until the woman meets an untimely demise as she throws herself from an upper window...which transitions into another woman named Jane Brooks (Blair), who's also pregnant, waking with a start, as it was all a dream sequence (or was it?). Now we see a couple named Leslie (Cumming) and Gary (der Hoff) arriving at the same deserted hotel as seen in the dream (it's located on a island off the coast of somewhere) as Leslie is doing research for a book about witchcraft, and Gary is along to take photos, to which the filmmakers have Hasselhoff monkeying around with a light meter, obviously knowing not how to use it, in an effort to show he's somewhat of a proficient photographer, I guess. Now we move abruptly into some scenes featuring other characters, most of who are related to Jane including her father Freddie (Champagne), mother Rose (Ross), who's a real piece of work, and her younger brother Tommy (Manchester). The gist of these scenes is to inform the viewer that Jane's seemingly wealthy parents are planning to buy the dilapidated hotel in the hopes of turning into a country club of sorts, and decide on taking the family along to check it out. Oh yeah, they also bring along an attractive, blonde architect named Linda played by Catherine Hickland, to evaluate the place. On top of everything else, there's a kooky, old woman, dressed in black (played by Knef) who pops in and out of the film, acting like she's orchestrating things to draw specific individuals to the island hotel, where she just happens to reside. Anyway, the Brooks party arrives at the hotel, with an dopey real estate agent named Jerry (Farnsworth) along for the ride (ahh, another potential victim), run into Leslie and Gary, and the bad mojo starts once they realize, through some kooky circumstances, they're all stranded on the island.

While there were a few things I liked about this feature, there was plenty more I thought wrong with the film, the main aspect, I suppose being director Laurenti's seeming inability to relate the story in a coherent manner. Perhaps I shouldn't be too critical given this was his first film, but the flow was just so uneven that it felt like he was purposely trying to confuse and obfuscate the relatively simplistic plot, which is essentially a mish mash of witchcraft and satanism. As far as the acting goes, it's pretty sad when David Hasselhoff provides one of the better performances in the film. I thought Annie Ross, as the money grubbing, nagging, snippy, too much make-up wearing matriarch, did pretty well, but her role is cut short as she's one of the first victims (she does get hers in fairly spectacular fashion). The absolute worst performance in the film comes from Leslie Cumming, who played the character Leslie, as her delivery was thoroughly monotone and her acting abilities akin to that of a dead fish. She was cute, though, and she did appear topless at one point as a sort of incubus attacks her character while she's sleeping. As far as Ms. Blair, well, she doesn't come off that well, and it's pretty obvious the filmmakers were trying to play off leech off the success of some of her other films, most notably The Exorcist (1973). I think she suffered, as did most of the others, by the sheer fact the writing was generally awful (surprisingly enough, it seemed more than adequate for der Hoff...go figure). There were a few elements about the film that made me laugh, the main one being whenever the witch would work her mojo on a particular character, she'd draw them into another dimension, one populated with weirdoes, chicken wire, and fire, by means of a cheap looking effect consisting of a red, swirly vortex with the character centered in the middle, screaming at the horrific turn of events thrust upon them by forces unknown. Another really funny bit comes as we learn Leslie's never known the pleasures of a man, and Hasselhoff's character, prior to the weirdness, tries continually to score, only to be denied (the woman truly must have had the willpower of the gods to fight the enchanting allure of der Hoff and his magnificent chest mane). The best part of the film, at least for myself, comes near the end as Hasselhoff's character goes up against the witch. I won't spoil it with details, but I will say it was very satisfying and almost made the movie worthwhile if only to witness said events. As far as the `shocker' ending, any horror film fan worth his or her salt will see it coming a mile away. All in all this is a fairly rotten film with a slight bit of nekkidness and a modest amount of gore, worth about two stars out of five, earning one extra for the bit with Hasselhoff near the end.

The picture, presented in widescreen anamorphic (1.85:1) on this Shriek Show DVD release, looks pretty clean, but doesn't appear to have been formatted correctly (at the very beginning you'll see a credit cut off). As far as the sound, it comes through well, offered up in Dolby Digital 2.0. There's not much in the way of extras offered up, as all that's included are trailers for other Shriek Show DVD release like Shadow Dead Riot (2006), Just Before Dawn (1981), A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971), and Devil Dog (1978). Also thrown in is a montage of a handful of trailers for films by Joe D'Amato. Normally I'm pleased with Shriek Show and their releases, but there didn't seem a whole lot of effort here, especially given the blurb on the back of the DVD case describing the characters of Gary and Linda as a couple, when, in reality, it was Gary and Leslie...perhaps it was just a mistake, but it seems like a rather large one, indicating whomever wrote the piece probably didn't actually view the film.


By the way, if a body were stuffed up a chimney, don't you think it would make for an awful and highly noticeable smell once someone started a fire in the fireplace? Apparently not, according to this least not for a while...
A gem of low budget, supernatural horror
Thomas M. Sipos | Santa Monica, CA | 06/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I sometimes wonder if the hacks who write copy for DVD companies actually watch the films. Here's the Plot Synopsis as quoted by Amazon:

"A pregnant woman is taken back to the house of her husband's mother."

NOT! Linda Blair is pregnant, but she's entirely unconnected to the house. And her step mother just now bought house as an investment. So Blair is not "taken back" anywhere; she was never there to begin with.

"There she begins to have strange nightmare about her child and step-family."

No she doesn't. She falls through a portal in the bathtub and sees a baby being tortured. Only Leslie Cumming's character has a nightmare, and that concerns being raped by a demon.

"For the husband and mother are actually reincarnated lovers who were burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft."

NOT! No reincarnation in this film. A present day couple are killed, but they're not related to Blair's character. And only the guy (he's single, not anyone's husband) is burned -- on a cross, not a stake. Neither is the witch who's haunting the island burned at the stake -- she jumped out a window to avoid being burned at the stake.

"She must soon escape from their clutches or have her child sacrificed to Satan."

It would be more accurate to say that the witch wants the souls of the island's visitors, so she may live again.

That said, this is a gem of a horror film. Eight people trapped on an island, whereupon the witch haunting it starts killing them, using their own Greed and Lust against them (kind of like how the seven deadly sins dispated people in the Euro-horror film, THE DEVIL'S NIGHTMARE, aka, THE DEVIL WALKS AT MIGHTNIGHT.) Several of the people fall through portals and die grisly deaths in a medieval setting.

Some interesting notes:

* This is a rare horror film in that there are TWO "good girls," the virgin Leslie Cumming, and the pregnant Linda Blair. Although this is not a slasher film, even so, with two Good Girls, the horror fan is left in suspense as to who will be the last to survive.

* This film has perhaps the worst day-for-night scenes I've ever seen. Some scenes are shot in pitch black, other scenes shot at dawn or dusk, still others with daylight pouring through the windows -- yet it's all supposed to happen at night, and we cut back and forth with the lighting switching from shot to shot. At one point the characters rush in from the pitch black night outside, and Cumming points to a bright window saying, "Look, it's no longer broken!" And we're not supposed to notice how bright it suddenly is outside!

* The boy has a Sesame Street tape recorder, and another character reads The Godfather. Yet neither Sesame Street nor The Godfather's publisher is listed in the film credits. This is refreshing, albeit rare because Hollywood studios are so paranoid that any item caught in a shot gets credited. GHOST DOG credited Tor Books because that film showed a cover of the Tor edition of Frankenstein (a public domain work). THE CAVEMAN'S VALENTINE credited the Chrysler Building for depicting the building, which is apparently a registered trademark.

WITCHERY has some cute actresses, grisly deaths (especially the chimney death -- look for it!), and spooky atmosphere. Film's a bit confusing and nonsensical (such as the link between the witch and the "Norma Desmond type" actress), but it's highly entertaining. Hard-core horror fans should love it."
Nice to see this one is finally being released on DVD
simple_symon85 | Elizabethtown, KY | 03/31/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I originally saw Witchery when I was a kid (I guess this was around the time it was originally released.) Scared the crap out of me LOL Very creepy and atmospheric with the black and white scenes of the witch being chased by the puritans, not to mention the torture/murder scenes. (Wait and see what happens to Annie Ross's charecter.) This film stars Linda Blair and David Hasselhoff, which strikes me as wierd him being in such a low-budget film at the height of his career. And also with the German actress Hildegard Knef as the lady in black. I have been searching for this film for quite a while with no luck, thank goodness Shriek Show has finally decided to release it. Overall this is very good to be just another cheapie horror film, sure it is cliche with the standard picking off members of the cast deal, but with the imagery this turns out to be a horror film that is actually frightining."