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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)
Jack Hedley ...
Bill Lanier
Jill Dixon ...
Tracy Lanier
Viola Keats ...
Helen Lanier
Marie Ney ...
Malvina Lanier
David Weston ...
Todd Lanier
Diane Clare ...
Amy Whitlock
Yvette Rees ...
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

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Witches (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
WITCHCRAFT (Don Sharp, 1964) ***
11 October 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I had always been interested in checking out this one, as much for the late eminent critic Leslie Halliwell's favorable assessment of the movie as for its coverage (from the time of the original release) in a monthly magazine which my father used to collect called "Film Review".

WITCHCRAFT allows horror icon Lon Chaney Jr. (top-billed here but appearing only intermittently throughout!) one of his best latter-day roles – though he gives a rather one-note performance. Jack Hedley (later star of Lucio Fulci's notorious slasher THE NEW YORK RIPPER [1982]) is well cast as the young lead, projecting the right mix of ruggedness and intelligence. Notable, too, is Yvette Rees as the revived witch – actually reminiscent of Barbara Steele from Mario Bava's seminal BLACK Sunday (1960) in her simultaneous evocation of sensuality and repulsion; all of her appearances (including nightly visitations upon current members of her family's rival clan who had her buried alive centuries ago!) denote some of the movie's visual and dramatic highlights.

As a matter of fact, the film emerges as one of four classic British occult chillers – the others being NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1957), THE CITY OF THE DEAD (1960) and NIGHT OF THE EAGLE (1962) – which clearly serve to establish the fact that there was life within the field outside of Hammer Films…although, on this preliminary viewing, I'd say WITCHCRAFT is a notch below the other three. Incidentally, being the last to come out, it shows definite influences emanating from the concurrent flood of Italian genre offerings (with, as I said, any number of arresting Bavaesque images) courtesy of Don Sharp's stylish mise-en-scene – demonstrating once again his flair for Gothic horror also displayed in Hammer's THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE (1963) – and Arthur Lavis' crisp black-and-white cinematography. The few coven scenes – especially one that is foolishly interrupted by heroine Jill Dixon, leading to her immediate abduction – bear a strong similarity to those in THE CITY OF THE DEAD; Carlo Martelli's moody score effectively complements the eerie proceedings, which culminate in a typical but satisfying fiery climax.

Still, I found the script somewhat problematic and was slightly bothered by the following rather glaring goofs/plot contrivances: during the scene in which Jack Hedley is being compelled to drive towards a precipice by the witch, there's a cut to the car back on the main road (unless this was intended as an illusion, for Hedley to keep going regardless – but it's not made exceedingly clear and, in fact, there's been a recent discussion on this very point in the "Classic Horror Film Board"!) and couldn't they have come up with a different method of disposing of the brothers in the first place (especially since no ominous devil-doll is seen anywhere near them at that time!); also, the fact that Hedley and his brother would go off on a business trip and leave their loved ones behind (including a bed-ridden grandmother) when a couple of unexplained deaths have already occurred, the girl staying with them (the brother's girlfriend) may or may not be involved in witchcraft herself and the vengeful head of their rival clan is about to be sprung from jail!; finally, the thirteen members of the coven enter the crypt to begin the pivotal Sabbath rituals but singularly fail to notice straight away the absence of their intended sacrifice (Dixon) from the room – conveniently allowing the girl and her saviors enough time to flee the premises unharmed!

Despite the rather disappointing (if not surprising) lack of extra material found on this "Midnite Movie" 2-discer released from Fox, the included photo gallery does allow one a rare and intriguing look (in color, no less!) behind the scenes of this modest but classy production.


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