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Witchcraft (1964)

Not Rated | | Horror, Romance | September 1964 (USA)
When her grave is disturbed by modern-day land developers, a 300-year-old witch is accidentally resurrected and terrorizes an English village.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Morgan Whitlock (as Lon Chaney)
...
Bill Lanier
Jill Dixon ...
Tracy Lanier
Viola Keats ...
Helen Lanier
Marie Ney ...
Malvina Lanier
...
Todd Lanier
...
Amy Whitlock
...
Vanessa Whitlock
Barry Linehan ...
Myles Forrester
Victor Brooks ...
Inspector Baldwin
Marianne Stone ...
Forrester's Secretary
John Dunbar ...
Doctor
Hilda Fenemore ...
Nurse (as Hilda Fennemore)
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Storyline

Since the 17th Century when the Lanier's buried a Whitlock woman alive as a witch and took over the Whitlock estate, the Whitlocks have hungered for revenge. Against the wishes of both families, Amy Whitlock and Bill Lanier are planning on getting married. The Laniers have sent bulldozers onto the old Whitlock Estate to level the land for a construction project. Morgan Whitlock and his daughter Amy make a futile effort to stop the bulldozers that overturn headstones and churn up graves in the Whitlock Cemetery. That night, an overturned coffin opens and Vanessa Whitlock, the witch buried centuries ago, rises from the grave. Together with Morgan, they use their supernatural powers and soon, one-by-one, the Laniers meet with fatal accidents. Tracy Lanier follows Amy into the family crypt and is astonished to see Vanessa and her witches in weird supernatural rites. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

After 300 years in the grave ... they returned to reap blood havoc! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brujería  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As a promotional gimmick for the US release of Witchcraft, posters warned the public that: "Only the witch deflector can save you from the eerie web of the unknown." Patrons were told that they could collect their 'witch deflector', a green badge, from the theatre. See more »

Goofs

Bill and Todd Lanier do not have a Devil Doll tied to their car when they are bewitched and almost go over the quarry cliff, even though the charm was necessary for sending Helen Lanier over the same cliff and was also needed to cause the death of Myles Forrester. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Morgan Whitlock: Stop that! This is blasphemy! Stop it! Go back! Go back, I say!
See more »

Connections

References Black Sunday (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

Absolutely petrifying!
17 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

It's funny how a B-movie like Night of the Demon will achieve cult status while Witchcraft, although boasting a less original storyline, is ignored despite having some equally memorable visuals.

When we were kids, I remember my sister and I being allowed to stay up late to watch Witchcraft as a special treat, if that's an appropriate way of describing it. It scared the heebeejeebees out of us. As the camera slowly panned up Vanessa Whitlock's body after she has risen from the grave, my sister whimpered: "oh, please make her pretty", which didn't make a lot of sense then but sort of does now. As it turned out, she was semi-relieved as she probably expected worms in empty eye sockets.

I've never forgotten the main set pieces - Vanessa appearing in the bedroom, the spellbound car journey and Granny Lanier's heroic exodus from her sanctuary - so the director was doing his job. What surprised me is how well this ancient movie stood up. Yes, the soundtrack is occasionally overbearing and the Devil doll and Devil worshippers running around in robes somewhat hokey, but there are some effective moments, such as the telephone call by the open door in the Lanier's living room. There is an eerie sense of foreboding as the camera pans to reveal the hall and you catch glimpse of a shadow on the stairs, at the same time as the door begins to mysteriously close.

But what really makes the film is Yvette Rees's uber-freaky performance as the resurrected witch, Vanessa Whitlock. She's not on the screen often but when she is, boy, does she make an impression. With her rictus grin and studied attempts to coordinate herself through rigor mortis, the effect is quite grotesque. Lon Chaney also appears intermittently to bellow lines, and is sadly less distinguished.

Those who liked BBC's Ghost Story for Christmas series (The stalls of Barchester springs to mind), may like Witchcraft. I'm not trying to talk it up to being a masterpiece or anything, but the impressionistic lighting of black and white is so right for this material and it's a shame it is long since out of vogue; Michael Almereyda's Nadja being a rare exception. The director of Witchcraft went on to direct Psychomania, an unfortunate attempt to come to terms with changing social mores. Set in a middling period of transition with more traditional material, Witchcraft is more successful.


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