Necromancy (1972)
3/10
What's in a Name?
1 July 2006
When a film has no fewer than FIVE different titles, it usually means several things and almost always means that the film has major flaws somewhere. Necromancy has major flaws and is just out and out bad. I saw the version on video called Rosemary's Disciples. Yes, I am sure it differs from other versions, but I am not inclined to think that in any way is any other version and the few more minutes it might have - going to be really any better. The story is perhaps the biggest problem: the film opens with Laurie waking up and her husband taking her to a town where he has a new job at a toy factory for occultists(yep, it gets bad this early!). The town is called Lillith and has some guy with a rifle on the bridge to make sure only those selected by the "owner" of the town are allowed in. Soon we find that everyone living in Lillith is a witch and all follow the directives of Mr. Cato - the head of this municipal coven who wants his dead son back(hence the name Necromancy). The people in the town do witch kind of stuff - have ceremonies, some like wearing a goat's head, and promiscuity abounds(not much really shown in this area), but none of these people are very good actors. Mr. Cato is played robustly by the figuratively and literally larger-than-life movie maverick Orson Welles. Welles is misused, but, make no mistake, he is the best thing in this movie. And that is really the saddest part of Necromancy as Welles gives a pretty poor and pedestrian performance with little directorial guidance. In one scene at a party, director Bert I Gordon keeps going back to Welles watching the action of the party using the exact same frames! It looked ridiculous. As did the scene that was repeatedly seen over and over again of a woman's arm centered in swirling flames after a car crash. It looked like the arm of a shop mannequin. The story is never fully utilized as we never really know what happens: many scenes are shot like dreams or hallucinations and never confirmed. This also applies to the corny, hokey ending. The lead Pamela Franklin is pert and pretty and has some talent. Other than her performance, real slim pickings from the rest of the cast sans Welles. The direction and story were both done by Gordon who obviously had little gas left in the engine. This is not a good movie in any way under any name.
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