Friday, November 6, 2009

Warlock Moon (1975)

Caution: Spoilers Galore

When college student Jenny Macallister (Laurie Walters) is comically accosted by an oddball wearing a disguise and speaking in a bizarre accent, she should have just walked away. Perhaps finding his schtick amusing, she sticks around long enough to allow him to propose that they go on a picnic together. In a brown paper bag, he's got a jug of wine, a load of bananas, and a piece of bread. What more could a girl ask for?

After some hesitation, Jenny decides to go with the effervescent John Devers (Joe Spano) out to a deserted spa, located 5 miles or so past the middle of nowhere. John seems like a regular guy, and can't really be blamed for wanting to get Jenny alone. After all, she's a beautiful girl in the prime of her life, and she's not wearing a bra. Soon, however, the pair discover that they are not alone when they encounter a fiesty, old crone, who appears to be squatting in the abandoned Soda Spring Spa spa.

The hag introduces herself as Agnes Abercrombie (Edna MacAfee), and provides them with a convenient history of the place over a hot cup of hypno-tea. Before long, Jenny is hearing voices and feeling dizzy. She stays back to rest while John and Mrs. Abercrombie explore the rest of the old spa.

The strange voices, and quick-moving figures she sees at the edge of her sight lead her on an exploratory mission of her own. By and by, she comes to understand that not everything at the Soda Spring Spa is quite as it seems. Jenny is glad when they finally get back into John's car and head back into the city. She never wants to return.

A few days later, John displays his unconventional personality once again when appears out of nowhere, and pounces on an unsuspecting Jenny while she is relaxing alone in a park. Although she is wearing a powerfully awesome poncho, she is unable to resist his allure as he begs her to return with him once again to the Soda Spring Spa. He explains to her that he is a journalist, and has been given the opportunity to write a story about the strange and fascinating place. After a pinch of whining, Jenny gives in to his request. The date is set.

Jenny arrives first to the spa the next day, and has the opportunity to engage in a most enlightening conversation with an old hunter (who just happens to be lurking about outside). After he almost blows her head off, the jowly, old man regales her with a frightening tale in which the former cook of the Soda Spring Spa cooked the hotel owner's daughter and served her to the guests at a lavish banquet. Heavy shit.

Heavier still: the old man promptly gets cut down by an axe-wielding maniac promptly following his exchange with Jenny. Perhaps in the next life, he won't be so forthcoming with his cannibalistic conspiracy theories?

John finally shows up at the spa, which for poor Jenny means more of Mrs. Abercrombie's hypno-tea. Then come more the weird voices, which compel her to explore dark places filled with high-speed ghosts and axe-grinding madmen. Jenny is being hunted... for the bizarre, sadistic practices of a blood cult!!!

She must die between midnight and six
in the morning, not a second before or after...

Most importantly, the circle.
She must enter it without us forcing her.

Not entirely surprisingly, John is in on it with the crone. The Axeman and his equally-psychotic buddy, Longhair, serve as "overanxious" helpers. Does the wily Jenny have what it takes to escape the evil Mrs. Abercrombie and her cronies..?

Warlock Moon shares an "eerily similar" plot the wildly-popular Tobe Hooper film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In his Media Blasters DVD forward, Joe Bob Briggs alludes to some "polite thievery" which may have occurred surrounding the two films, which were released within months of each other. In the end, an axe-wielding maniac is marginally less frightening than a chainsaw-wielding maniac, and in like fashion, one film flopped while the other made movie history.

It's a shame that Warlock Moon (aka Bloody Spa) ultimately failed to reach it's audience. Killer Kittens From Beyond The Grave thinks it's a fab frightener, most deserving of a trip to a rental joint near you!

4/5 Kitty Skulls = Video Cocaine!


Tower Farm said...

How could I have never even heard of this one?! This seems right up my alley!


Kitty LeClaw said...

Without the help of the muchos knowledgeable Karswell, I wouldn't have seen it, either! A real hidden gem!

Professor Brian O'Blivion said...

Cool review of a obscure horror gem.

Kitty LeClaw said...

As Mrs. Abercrombie might say: "Thank you, Child."

Karswell said...

>Killer Kittens From Beyond The Grave thinks it's a fab frightener

I think so too!

Kitty LeClaw said...

Mrs. Abercrombie's see-through kitchen frock put it over the top.