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Not that this isn't a very respectable effort overall, and an atmospheric midnight movie. It manages to be both somewhat old fashioned and somewhat modern. The filmmakers aren't afraid to jazz up their production a bit with some violence and nudity, but never go overboard, always maintaining a mood of doom and gloom until its dark twist ending. Alvy Moore plays it pretty straight as a professor who ventures into swampy territory, with some students in tow, to do some psychic research while a killer is claiming nubile local girls. Thordis Brandt is buxom blonde Anastasia, a psychically gifted "sensitive" (yes, the word is used as a noun here) and the granddaughter of a witch, who will help them obtain details, and Anthony Eisley co-stars as our studly hero Vic. Meanwhile, a local Satan worshipper, Luther the Berserk (hulking John Lodge), senses Anastasia's potential and plots to use her for his own purposes. "The Witchmaker" is one of a few productions put together by Moore and contemporary L.Q. Jones, above average genre films that managed to be both intelligent and creepy. These also include "The Brotherhood of Satan" and "A Boy and His Dog". The movie does have a wonderful "late show" sort of appeal, and does have some very nice moments, but they're spread sort of thin at first, as the film gets bogged down in talk and just sort of plods along. However, it does ultimately start getting better, and more interesting in general. It becomes quite fun when Luther starts inviting all manner of witches to his abode, some of them played by the likes of Sue Bernard ("Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"), Patricia Wymer ("The Babysitter"), and TV horror host Larry "Seymour" Vincent. Also appearing are character actor Burt Mustin, and Helene Winston, who also acted in "The Brotherhood of Satan" and "A Boy and His Dog". Lodge is the most fun as the villain of the piece, a part that John Davis Chandler was originally tapped to play. Moore and Jones are the executive producers, and William O. Brown is the writer / producer / director. The film does benefit from the music score by Jaime Mendoza-Nava, although some viewers could find the lighting by John Arthur Morrill to be too murky. The undeniable highlight of the entire thing is seeing Brandt run in slow motion while covering her ample bosom with her hands. Worth seeking out for die hard horror fans eager to discover the lesser known efforts of yesteryear, "The Witchmaker" is interesting viewing as far as witchcraft cinema goes. Seven out of 10.
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