Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Witchery: Linda Blair and David Hasselhoff's Greatest Shame

Caution: Spoilers Galore

As previously posted, I recently found a copy of Witchery, a movie I hadn't seen since I was a very young girl. I have always maintained vivid recollections of certain parts of the movie (I can't bring myself to call it a "film"), but couldn't piece together all the frayed bits of fabric floating around in my mind... Until I watched it for the first time in 20+ years. For nostalgic value, I hunted down the cover image from the videocassette that I remember for the purposes of this "review."

I could have gone through the motions of writing a review for this movie, but I couldn't imagine it being very entertaining to read. The plot didn't even make sense, much less captivate. I decided that it would be a great deal more beneficial for all concerned parties if I posted a review: in pictures instead.

So, without any further caterwauling, I present to you: Linda Blair and David Hasselhoff's Greatest Shame.

Leslie wants Gary (The Hoff) to help her unlock a mystery about a strange "witches' light" reported in the area. They are squatting in an abandoned hotel on a deserted island rumored to be inhabited by an evil woman. Leslie (Leslie Cumming) is in the midst of translating an old German text (though she seems to have her share of difficulty with the English language), and she has brought Gary along with her to take photographs of the mysterious phenomena. Gary couldn't care less about pictures; he just wants to bust Leslie's Cherry.

Wouldn't you know it? This crazy, old lady (Hildegard Knef) is squatting in the hotel, too! The family that has just bought the hotel to be renovated and converted into a getaway for rich people didn't have the balls to throw her out, and she was left run wild about the grounds, killing pretty much everyone in sight with her wicked, wicked witchcraft.

The poor, old fisherman gets it first! This guy's boat represents the last chance to get outta dodge for the new owners of the hotel, their children (one is, like, 5 years old, while the other appears to be in her 30's -- go figure that one out), and the working stiffs they brought to the island with them. After the Witch Bitch strings this poor sucker up, she ghost drives his boat away from the island, stranding everybody.

Meanwhile, inside the hotel, weird shit starts happening. Jane (Linda Blair) drops her I Can't Believe That I'm Preggers pills in the bathtub, and gets pulled into a crazy, red vortex when she reaches her hand into the nasty-ass water to pull them out. Why she'd still be interested in her pills after they had been soaking in a pool of disgusting filth is beyond me, but nevertheless...

Once inside the crazy, red vortex, Jane sees a bunch of mentally ill homeless-looking people writhing around, gnawing on flesh, and she is never quite the same for it once she regains consciousness in the presence of her family. They all look down at her like, "Woah! Jane! You crazy, knocked-up bitch!" but she knows that something not of this world pulled her into that bathtub.

Here, we have Jane's mother (Annie Ross), and this was the only way they could get the old hag to shut her mouth. Jane's mom is the second victim of the crazy, red vortex, but she doesn't get off as easily as her daughter did. The mentally ill homeless-looking people are at it again, and this time, they brought a needle and thread! At this point, the viewer endures what seems like an eternity watching the riffraff stitching this lady's lips shut. This is one of the images I mentioned earlier that have remained etched into my memory, and it is easy to see why. I actually thought the effects used in this scene (and several others) were quite good.

After mummy is all stitched up, she is left to dangle upside-down and just out-of-sight above the fireplace. Before too long, her family members decide that it's getting cold, and they light a flame. "What's that smell? I think it's... MOM!" That's pretty much the way it goes down, only they don't realize the error of their ways, and mummy ends up being roasted all the way to well done.

This is one of the working stiffs (Frank Cammarata), the real estate agent about to close the deal on the hotel... or, so he thought! He was doing something he shouldn't have been doing, so he got nailed to a wooden cross, inverted, and then burned alive.

This is the other working stiff (Catherine Hickland, who was married to The Hoff when this picture was filmed), an architect, who looks markedly better in her underwear than in her cheap, 1980's polyester suit. She's blonde, she's beautiful, and she's a bimbo. Surprise! Her and the real estate agent wind up smack in the middle of the crazy, red vortex while the two of them are getting it on. To repent for her slutty sins, the mentally ill homeless-looking people force her to begin taking a more hands-off approach to her work.

Jane's dad (Robert Champagne) is the next one to go (I think). His veins start inexplicably throbbing and bursting all over the place, and D-Hoff, I mean Gary, can't help but get caught in the line of squirt.

While Gary is downstairs finger painting with Jane's dad's red essence, Satan himself (Ely Coughlin) is upstairs fucking his girlfriend, the virginal Leslie. You guessed it: she done gone into the crazy, red vortex! I wasn't entirely certain that the guy with the drippy mouth was supposed to be Satan, but the credit roll confirmed my vague suspicion. Really, he isn't all that much more impressive than the rest of the mentally ill homeless-looking people who live inside Vortexland.

Is it just me, or does he look a little bit like Winnie the Pooh after he's been feeding his face with honey?

Is that Cyndi Lauper? Nope, it's just Linda Blair, being possessed again. This scene represents one of several obvious nods to Blair's most noteworthy project, The Exorcist, that I found lurking within the frames of Witchery.

This movie is a far cry indeed from William Friedken's masterpiece based on the novel by William Peter Blatty, but that didn't stop anyone from allowing cheeseball role reversals/reprisals to appear in this film. For starters, the movie was known as Witchcraft: Return of The Exorcist in the Philippines, although not a single Bible was opened in production, nor a single demon cast out. In the scene pictured above, Jane (looking somewhat Regan-ish in her weird, new wave makeup and wacky hairstyle) turns her head to face the camera in a way ever-so-reminiscent of the famous headspin she completes in The Exorcist.

The Death of D-Hoff

Let's take this one nice and slow...

Happy & Carefree

This never happened on Baywatch! Hoooobieeeee!

Yup, that be the Deathblow.

"Michael, you appear to be slain."
"I know that, Kitt! Fuck off!"


Which brings us to the Mother of All Cheeseball Exorcist Ripoffs... How did I know that Linda Blair's character was going to fling herself out the window? Within the first few minutes of the movie, the camera not-so-casually reveals an ominous-looking broken window at the end of a long hallway.

I wasn't exactly splitting the atom when I thought to myself, "Hmm, it almost looks like they're setting this whole thing up to end with Linda Blair going out that window, just like in The Exorcist, but a complete role reversal! How positively droll!"

Yes, right. "Droll." That's exactly what this movie is.

2/5 Kitty Skulls = This movie should have been aborted in the first trimester.


Wax On Wax Hoff: Someone with an infinite supply of awesome created this way-fun game in which the player gets the honour of waxing D-Hoff's chest.


Tenebrous Kate said...

A place in my black little heart--you have it, darling Kitty. Danke schon for the Rape Demon pic. I plan on sending that to the Costuminatrix to make her morning ;)

Kitty LeClaw said...

The hour I spent slaving over a hot screen capture program was time well spent, methinks!

Ely Coughlin, the actor who portrayed Satan, didn't work in the industry before or after this flick (according to IMDB). I choose to take this as an indication that the producers were somehow able to convince the Genuine Debil to appear in their crappy, awesome little film.

D-Hoff bleeding from the mouth may or may not be my new laptop wallpaper :o)