In 1700s Austria, a witch-hunter's apprentice has doubts about the righteousness of witch-hunting when he witnesses the brutality, the injustice, the falsehood, the torture and the arbitrary killing that go with the job.
In the 13th century there existed a legion of evil knights known as the Templars, who quested for eternal life by drinking human blood and committing sacrifices. Executed for their unholy ... See full summary »
Amando de Ossorio
María Elena Arpón
Udo Kier is a witch hunter apprentice to Herbert Lom. He believes strongly in his mentor and the ways of the church but loses faith when he catches Lom committing a crime. Kier slowly begins to see for himself that the witch trials are nothing but a scam of the church to rob people of their land, money, and other personal belongings of value and seduce beautiful women.Written by
The U.S. distributors of this film advertised it as "guaranteed to make you sick" and backed it up with thousands of vomit bags advertising the film. See more »
At or about 12:47, the shadow of the camera and operator are visible as the camera makes its way through a crowd of villagers. See more »
[to an accused witch]
I accuse you of having trampled on the cross, of having ridden to the Sabbath, of throwing the Holy Cross of our Saviour into manure so that the skies grew dark, and the rain fell upon the earth!
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The 2003 UK Anchor Bay DVD restored many of the previous BBFC cuts but was still edited by 38 secs to reduce the nudity from the rack torture scene. See more »
An allegedly true tale of Austrian witchcraft trials... we follow one accused witch over the course of a few days as she tries to convince her captor she's innocent.
This film is considered shocking and disturbing and is still banned in various countries (including its native Germany). I watched the 96 minute unedited version, and I think the film should be banned no longer. The gore is there. Witches burned alive, one has her tongue ripped out, and another scene that made me physically ill showed a finger in a vise. But overall, I think worse films have been made and are shown worldwide ("Cannibal Ferox", "Saw"... and some might include "Hostel").
There was also some nudity, though surprisingly less than one would expect. Many nude scenes were films at angles so the nudity was never really shown. Sure, you can argue "this was 1970, they didn't have nudity in films back then"... but I saw "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", so don't blow smoke up my bottom. Show me some bodacious babes and chiseled men! The main actress of this film was surprisingly attractive, a rarity in 1970s films in my opinion.
The plot was fairly decent. The main character, Vanessa Bendikt, falls for Udo Kier, the apprentice of the local witch judge. Kier, a horror legend, is very young in this movie and has yet to acquire the wrinkled "creepy German guy" face I know him for... but those ice eyes are unmistakable. Vanessa is accused of witchcraft after refusing to sleep with the hideous witch hunter, and Udo Kier must choose between his love for this woman and the loyalty to his master.
In love after only a day or two, you say? Ludicrous! Maybe, but if you hear them giggling and listen to the music played in the background, you would agree they are in love... it's like the bicycle scene from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" where Burt Bacharach is singing "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head". It's so cliché, but works for a reason I will never understand.
I would not consider this a great movie... not by horror standards or even by movie standards in general. But I would call it a classic, and maybe even a cult film. Heck, Rob Zombie even took a sample from it (the line "the devil is in all of you"), so obviously at least a few of our modern horror masters have been inspired. Maybe you'll get something out of it I didn't.
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