Sunday, September 17, 2017


So I watched Witchcraft on FXM Retro this morning since it's going to be on again tomorrow morning at 7:20 AM.

The movie starts off with a man on a bulldozer grading some land somewhere in the Home Counties of England. The land is a disused cemetery, and descendants of most of the people there have already removed the gravestones. Except for one family, the Whitlocks. And patriarch Morgan Whitlock (Lon Chaney Jr.) is furoius about all this.

Whitlock goes to the developer ultimately responsible for the new housing development, Bill Lanier (Jack Hedley). It turns out that the Whitlocks and the Laniers have a history going back centuries, to the point that Morgan as well as Bill's aunt are both unhappy that Bill's younger brother Todd (David Weston) wants to date Morgan's niece Amy (Diane Clare). We later learn that 300 years ago, the Laniers accused the Whitlocks of witchcraft, and were able to get one of the Whitlocks killed and the rest dispossessed of their land, which now happens to be the Lanier estate. No wonder the Whitlocks are still pissed.

Actually, when I said they got one of the Whitlocks killed for practicing witchcraft, that's not entirely correct. Vanessa Whitlock was put to death by being buried alive, and she was buried in the cemetery that is now being disturbed by the property development. And the work has disturbed Vanessa's grave. We find that Vanessa is still alive, and that she is still more than interested in practicing witchcraft. I suppose you can't blame her after what the Laniers did to her.

Anyhow, she first gets a devil doll placed in the office of Bill's manager, who then drowns in his bathtub although there are signs that he was strangled. That's followed by attempts on the lives of various members of the Lanier family! Are Morgan and Amy involved in this?

Lon Chaney gets top billing here, although it's probably the Bill Lanier character that's the real male lead. The movie is understandably put in the horror genre, although it's really not very scary. It's decidedly a programmer, and in that regard it pretty much succeeds even if there's nothing particularly great or memorable about it. It's the sort of movie that would be a great 80-minute watch in the runup to Halloween if you're looking for something you probably haven't seen before.

Witchcraft doesn't seem to be on DVD, although Amazon does do the streaming thing.

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