A medieval reenactment troupe find it increasingly difficult to keep their family-like group together, with pressure from local law enforcement, interest from entertainment agents and a growing sense of delusion from their leader.
Joan Mitchell is an unhappy, suburban housewife pushing 40, who has an uncommunicative businessman husband, named Jack, and a distant 19-year-old daughter, named Nikki, on the verge of moving out of the house. Frustrated at her current situation, Joan seeks solace in witchcraft after visiting Marion Hamilton, a local tarot reader and leader of a secret black arts wicca set, who inspires Joan to follow her own path. After dabbling a little in witchcraft, Joan, believing herself to have become a real witch, withdraws into a fantasy world and sinks deeper and deeper into her new lifestyle until the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred and eventually tragedy results. Written by
According to the making-of featurette "Digging Up the Dead: The 'Lost' Films of George A. Romero," when Joan Mitchell (Jan White) said the line "I'm a witch" during filming, the overhead ceiling cracked. Romero attributed this to heat from the lights, but said that some people on set were a little spooked by it. See more »
Your own goddamned daughter, balled in the next room and you go with it.
See more »
Despite the fact that this film is by George Romero and it's sold as a horror film, _Season of the Witch_ (aka _Jack's Wife_ which is, in my opinion, the better title) isn't really a horror film.
Or, at the very least, it isn't a *straightforward* horror film and anyone going into this expecting Romero's typical gore and suspense will definitely be disappointed. The closest the film comes to typical horror are some wonderfully eerie sequences involving a man in a grotesque satanic-looking rubber mask (exploitatively depicted on some of the older videocassette sleeve covers for the film) trying to break into the main character's house.
What this film amounts to is the story of one woman who finds herself dissatisfied with the daily plod of her existence as a respectable wife in a respectable suburb. She feels herself aging. She's secretly bitter toward her husband and her friends. It's never really clear what she wants exactly because she doesn't seem to know herself, but she does become intrigued by a woman in the neighborhood who claims to a witch. She meets with this woman and, though she's afraid of black magic, she's inspired to explore it on her own. She goes out and buys a book on the subject and some witchcraft paraphernalia and then begins casting spells from her kitchen.
Despite the non-gory subject matter, there are some things in this film that bear the distinctive signature of Romero and his influences. There's a keen visual wit on display, particularly in some scenes involving mirrors. There are some odd hallucinatory dream sequences here that come straight from the more supernatural side of Italian horror (particularly the opening scene). Many of the scenes are ramshackle and crudely staged, but not in an altogether bad way. Rather, they almost recall a documentary. There's genuine tension (but not "horror film" tension). You don't know where scenes are going to go or what the characters are going to do or say next. You never really get inside many of the characters, but they're offbeat and watchable (particularly the young student-teacher, who's into drugs, casual sex, and some pretentious post-late 60's philosophy).
Not everything in this film works. It's badly edited. Much of the acting is weak. However, the film does have an intriguing, almost New Wave, experimental-like cadence. It's rough and full of jagged edges, but, in that respect, it's really no worse than Jean Luc-Godard at his most indulgent. Even more so than _Martin_, this is Romero's "art film". If it were a piece of music instead of a movie it would be slow, discordant and lo-fi.
This is recommended for all Romero admirers to see at least once.
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?