The Series Project: Witchcraft (Part 3)

You may be asking yourself at about this point – now that I am poised to review the seventh, eighth, and ninth Witchcraft movies as part of The Series Project – why is he doing this to himself. “Really?” you may be screaming to yourself, “Nine of these? And he intends to review all 13 of these movies? Why??” Well, yes, I do intend to review every last one of them.

As to why, well, that’s a slightly more complex question. I suppose I’m like a mountaineer who likes to traverse up to the highest of unexplored lands, seeking horrible cinematic sequels wherever they may lurk. It’s a bizarre compulsion of mine. It’s the same (harmful?) compulsion that leaves me with a film education that includes 11 Amityville movies, but not The Godfather, Part II. Why review movies no one can see? I also do this for bragging rights. I – my good friends – am one of the only people in the world who actually owns a copy of Witchcraft IX: Bitter Flesh, easily one of the worst movies ever made.

Also, as I have come to learn, I am not the only explorer of the Witchcraft movies. I am not alone. I am part of a small but passionate society of schlock explorers who have bothered to track down, watch, and review all 13 of these suckers. These movies are so rare, so bad, so very useless in the horror film canon, and yet have such a massive volume of information, that they become infinitely alluring to Psychotronic Cosmonauts the world over. Any horror nut can watch the remake of Last House on the Left and compare it, scene-for-scene, with the original. But it takes a special kind of testicular fortitude – and no small amount of braggadocio – to tackle something like Witchcraft.

So my hats off to Chuck a.k.a. “Smarmy Jerkface” of The BMFcast for reviewing all of the Witchcraft movies way back in 2009. You sir, are on the Wall of Fame. A ‘blog called Life Between Frames, run by Cory Hammam and Jay Burleson, wrote rather extensive essays on each film. Also, much regard goes out to one Allison Pregler, a.k.a. Obscurus Lupa, who has been making extended videos of all the Witchcraft movies periodically since January 2013. She is, as of this writing, only up to part 8, but I have faith that she will finish. And I’m sure they’re not the only ones. If any of you noble souls are reading this, contact me. We need to discuss these movies, and flout our bad movie credentials.

When we last left off the Witchcraft series, I was a little loopy, and had declared that Witchcraft 666: The Devil’s Mistress was actually a pretty good film with energy and a healthy view toward its own sleaziness. Don’t worry. I’m not losing my mind. I did explain that dipping six films into any series can have even the stanchest of viewers acquiescing to the series’ own peculiar charms. Prepare, however, to suck the fire as we delve into…

Witchcraft 7: Judgement Hour (dir. Michael Paul Girard, 1995)

The box for Witchcraft 7 declares it to be “The final chapter,” which is a hoot, as I don’t think anyone anywhere had any intention of calling the series to a close. Perhaps when they got to the end of this vampire-themed installment, and the filmmakers realized they had killed off their lead character, they decided to advertise that it would be the final one. In actuality, this is the exact midpoint of the series. But “the middle chapter” doesn’t sound nearly as portentous.

So Will Spanner is still our hero for Witchcraft 7, only this time he’s played by David Byrnes, who looks a little bit like Martin Donovan crossed with Matthew Lillard. The cops Lutz and Garner are back as well, but Lutz (previously played by Kurt Alan) has mysteriously transformed from a balding fortysomething wisecracker into a hot busty blonde woman played by Alisa Christensen. Garner is also younger and has a mullet and is played by John Cragen.

Most of the Witchcraft movies involved Satanic sacrifice and were at least flavored with themes of, y’know, actual witchcraft. Not so here. Witchcraft 7 is an out-and-out vampire movie. The lead vampire, Martin, is played by a douchey blonde, be-ponytailed hunk named Loren Schmalle, who, in one scene, shows off with a katana. Martin hides out in a mysterious school of some sort called The California Polytechnic Institute, where he is protected by some mysterious cult.

Martin is trying to seduce Will Spanner’s girlfriend Keli, played this time by feisty blonde April Breneman. This is Keli’s third film, and third actress. Keli and Will are having relationship troubles as is. When he kills a vampire early in the film, Will doesn’t tell her, and would prefer that she think he was cheating on her. She pouts a lot, and flounces about in a man’s shirt with no pants. In a truly baffling scene, Will goes to a cemetery and rubs dirt on his face while crying. We don’t see whose grave he is looking at, or why he felt the need to rub dirt on his face.

Martin has the ability to turn into a bat, and the rubber bat puppet is one of the silliest movie monsters I’ve ever seen. It looks like an off-the-rack rubber wall hanging from Aahs!.

How’s the sex? It’s fine, I suppose. This will be the last chapter this week, however, wherein the sex won’t make me want to vomit and cry simultaneously, so I’d better focus on it for a while. The sex tally: Lutz does not take her top off, but her cleavage is always out. The sex scenes are largely in slow motion, and are pretty lush, as we’ve come to expect. The women all typically have breast implants. There is a scene early one wherein a vampire woman is walking around L.A. in a hospital gown, and there are several pervy close-ups of her ass.

An odd detail: This film was shot in L.A. during the rainy season, and it’s always wet outside. This comes into contrast when characters are together in a car, and the cameraman has to remain uncomfortably close on their faces to reveal that they are not actually driving, and that the weather doesn’t actually match the exterior footage.

Will stakes the evil vampire lord, and, in the process, is staked by the wooden shard sticking out of the vampire lord. Where the “judgement” comes in, I don’t exactly know. The song that plays over the credits is a breathy ballad called “Suck the Fire.”

The next chapter will be what is essentially the only standalone movie in the series, even though some familiar faces will return…