Thursday, September 1, 2016

Linda Blair Week: Witchery

Welcome back for Day 4 of Linda Blair Week. Y'know, I had my heart set on reviewing Chained Heat but good taste did prevail as I was informed of today's film which I only knew by its alternative title. Many moons ago, when the Earth was young and yuppies, cocaine and health nuts were abundant, there came a film like no other. A film that would dare to NOT star a Van Patten but indeed they would bring to the big screen, Michael "David Hasselhoff" Knight, Linda Blair and Grandma Ruth of Basket Case 2 and 3. Such was not dare dreamed of. This is Witchery a.k.a. Ghosthouse 2 a.k.a. Evil Encounters a.k.a. The Haunted House a.k.a. Witchcraft: Return of the Exorcist a.k.a. Hexenbrut.

Blair beside herself.  Mirroring emotions.  Okay, I'll stop.

Boy, it has been a while (cue Aaron Lewis Staind tune!) since we have had a multiple alternative title movie. I knew this film under Ghosthouse 2 wondering why this was nothing like Umberto Lenzi's creeper film at all. It didn't even feel like a continuation. Now I know and knowing is half the battle. BLARF! Ahem, moving on... our feature film of the day has a wayward group of folks trapped on a Massachusetts island due to a massive storm front and their only recourse is to make their way into the abandoned haunted hotel for shelter. Folks, it's called a lean to. Google it then build it. You'll thank me.

The movie opens with an angry mob of five pig farmers brandishing a few pitchforks yet no torches as they chase a terrified pregnant woman across the moors. As the mob continues the hunt for said pregnant lady, she is pursued by disgruntled village people( Yyyyy...MCA!! ) she making her way to the hotel, seeing no escape she hurls herself out a window as was clearly her only option.

As if some prophetic dream, Jane (Linda Blair of Bad Blood, The Chilling, Dead Sleep, Zapped Again!, Calender Girl, Cop Kill? The Bambi Bembenek Story, Double Blast and Skins) wakes in a cold sweat as she is pregnant, creeped out and in general not having a good night. Without any further explaination, we cut to Leslie (Leslie Cumming of Zombie 5: Killing Birds and Witchery) and her boyfriend Gary (David Hasselhoff of Semi-Tough, Terror at London Bridge, Knight Rider, Baywatch, Avalanche, Nick Fury: Agent of Shield and Anaconda: The Offspring) are staying at the abandoned hotel so Leslie can write a book about witchcraft, the Hoff is taking snapshots of the house, the island and a bizarre light that happens at particular times of the day that looks suspiciously like a lens flare but I'm not passing judgement. A plot point clearly needed is Leslie is a virgin. We know this because Gary likes haphazardly dropping it into conversation and sounds disgruntled for not getting laid. For shame Hoff, for shame.

Tellin' ya, Baywatch Nights is easy money.

The fisherman that brought Jane, brother Tommy and her parents looking to buy the hotel of darkness appears to have disappeared via lens flare into a cheap prism pendant. Though our lady in black played by Hildegard Knef (The Murderers Are Among Us, The Snows of Kilmanjaro, Decision Before Dawn and Fedora) is genuinely creepy giving you the John Carradine creeper stare. The pace is a tad slow, our gore scenes are fairly creepy and over all the exposition does give the back story.

People are tossed into another dimension kind of like Silent Hill only it looks like a blood caked Doctor Who time tunnel. Day for night shots, back lit actors and lots of masonry shots are confusing as hell. Three doors to Hell seem to be found randomly in rooms and to be honest, you would think one door would be enough. There seems to be a black mass/witchcraft theme going and Leslie mumbles her dissertation but also not really explained so I am confused.

Starring Tom Baker...

Realtor boy and Architect girl or Tony(Frank Cammarata of Witchery) and Linda (Catherine Hickland of Loving, Ghost Town, Witchery, Taxi Killer, One Life to Live andThe City), if you prefer comes off as bland people crafted solely for being gacked but that's not their fault as they were poorly conceived.

Will they ever escape the island??? Will creeper Lady in Black do them all in???

The music score sounded familiar and turns out composer Carlo Maria Cordio (Pieces, Cave Dwellers, Endgame- Bronx lotta finale, Hell Behind the Bars, Iron Warrior, Zombie 5: Killing Birds, Touch of Death and Witchery) covering us with his guitar and synthesizer goodness.   Hmm that may have sounded a tad pornographic.

Our director also brought audiences the unfortunate and unofficial sequel to the Troll movies called Crawlers, which not unlike Troll 2 has nothing to do with Trolls. Confused, choppy editing and more gore than story, Linda does her level best to make this a watchable film.  Stay for the gore and get a story. Not bad but could use a bit more polish.

Santa?  SANTA!!??!!