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Season of the Witch (1972)

Hungry Wives (original title)
R | | Drama | 18 April 1973 (USA)
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A bored, unhappy suburban housewife gets mixed up in witchcraft and murder.

Director:

George A. Romero

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jan White ... Joan Mitchell
Raymond Laine Raymond Laine ... Gregg Williamson (as Ray Laine)
Ann Muffly Ann Muffly ... Shirley Randolph
Joedda McClain ... Nikki Mitchell
Bill Thunhurst Bill Thunhurst ... Jack Mitchell
Neil Fisher Neil Fisher ... Dr. Miller
Esther Lapidus Esther Lapidus ... Sylvia
Dan Mallinger Dan Mallinger ... Sergeant Frazer
Daryl Montgomery Daryl Montgomery ... Larry
Ken Peters Ken Peters ... John Fuller
Shirlee Strasser Shirlee Strasser ... Grace
Robert Trow ... Detective Mills (as Bob Trow)
Jean Wechsler Jean Wechsler ... Gloria
Charlotte Carter Charlotte Carter ... Mary
MaLynda Parker MaLynda Parker ... Patty (as Linda Creagan)
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Storyline

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 matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every Night is Halloween.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 April 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Season of the Witch See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Latent Image See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director George A. Romero, in the commentary track he did for The Crazies (1973) in 2002, this is the only one of his films he'd like to remake. He cited lack of money as a reason for unhappiness with this production as it turned out. See more »

Goofs

When Joan copies the Lord's Prayer backwards from the Bible, it is the King James version, even though she and her husband are Catholic. While any Catholic owning a Bible in that era (not a very common occurrence apart from scholars) would have a Douay version, the elaborate, antique nature of the book suggests it may have been one of her recent purchases at the antique store where she bought the rest of her witchcraft paraphernalia. See more »

Quotes

[Joan is buying items in an antique shop]
Store Clerk: So, you're a witch?
Joan: Huh?
Store Clerk: Chalice, herbals, knives, they're all witches' tools, you know.
Joan: Oh, I'm just interested in it.
Store Clerk: You're kidding! I mean, I was just kidding.
Joan: Well, I'm just interested in it.
Store Clerk: Hey, that is really great.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally filmed and released in 1971 under the title "Hungry Wives" which ran at 130 minutes, the movie was re-edited for foreign distribution and re-released as "Jack's Wife" a year later, running at 104 minutes. In response to George A. Romero's successful release of "Creepshow" in 1982, "Jack's Wife" was released on home video as "Season of the Witch" with the running time trimmed further to 89 minutes. The current video version runs 104 minutes which is the original overseas version titled "Jack's Wife." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Season of the Witch
Written and Performed by Donovan
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User Reviews

 
The '70s: A tale of witchcraft and floral wallpaper
22 November 2015 | by drownnnsodaSee all my reviews

Joan Mitchell is a bored Pennsylvania housewife with a hippie college student daughter and a disinterested husband, Jack. Dissatisfied with the ennui of suburbia, she finds herself drawn to a neighborhood woman who practices witchcraft; naturally, bad things ensue.

This wonky feminist thriller comes from genre legend George Romero, and is certainly one of his most unexpected and unusual offerings; the film had a troubled release history, coming out under various titles such as "Jack's Wife" and "Hungry Wives," only to be later known as "Season of the Witch," which I'd argue is the most fitting title. It became something of a lost film until it was unearthed in 2006 by Anchor Bay Entertainment.

"Season of the Witch" is a strange one; like Romero's earliest pictures, it is very apparently low budget, bathed in grain and not nearly as slick as "Night of the Living Dead," though I think it's unfair to compare the two. They are incredibly different films. "Season of the Witch" is part horror, but more so a grindhouse thriller of major feminist proportions. The film is surprisingly cerebral in spite of its production's shortcomings, and has the effect of disorienting the viewer in a world of kitschy '70s decorating and an array of heavily-characterized housewives. Virtually all of the film takes place indoors, primarily in the protagonist's house, which is likely due to budget issues but nonetheless lends the film the claustrophobic sensation of being trapped inside a suburban '70s hell.

Joan's bizarre relationships with both her husband and daughter are highlighted throughout the film, though the primary focus becomes her paranoia and apparent hallucinations, which entail a masked intruder breaking into her home again and again; these scenes are actually rather effective and startling. Shades of "Rosemary's Baby" come into play as the subject of witchcraft pervades the plot, and the film boasts a killer montage featuring Donovan's "Season of the Witch" that only could exist in a certain time and place. The conclusion of the film is surprisingly grim, and is the singular moment in which Romero really lets loose on what remains overall a subdued psychological thriller.

Overall, "Season of the Witch" is one of George Romero's strangest offerings, and is a fantastic time capsule of an era in which "The Brady Bunch," mod patterns, and women's lib were all major cultural forces. It is very much dated in its fashions and set pieces, but that is part of what is so charming about it. The gritty, low-budget production values show through the film, but never really prevent it from effectively getting its theme across. And while it's not traditionally scary, there is something weirdly nightmarish about the way Romero captures the interior sets—part of it is indubitably the gaudy '70s decor, but part of it is also the skill of Romero at boxing his audience into an enclosed world—in this case one where hausfraus are prone to coffee table witchery. 8/10.


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