Witchcraft 1964


Another choice film from the late Don Sharp, Witchcraft was made the year after the gaudily effective Kiss of the Vampire, and despite working in black and white and with a less exciting cast, Sharp pulls off another minor genre miracle with this cool little film. Jack Headley plays Bill Lanier, a cardigan-sporting sceptic who is engaged to be married to Amy Whitlock (Diane Clare); what they don’t know is that their families have a long standing grievance, and that the current demolition of the graveyard in their sleepy town is about to unleash hell.  Many years previously, the Lanier family burned a Whitlock alive at the stake, and she returns in the form of Vanessa (Yvette Reeves). Lon Chaney Jr has a small role as Amy’s father Morgan, but Witchcraft isn’t driven by star-power; Harry Spalding’s script rigorously develops the idea of the past catching up with the present, and Sharp brings ingenious touches to the material; when the witch casts a spell on local drivers, we see the driver’s imagined view intercut with the real situation; the crafty witch is forcing them to drive themselves into the local rubbish tip. Older horror fans complain about the lack of story in recent films; Witch Craft would be a good place for a younger fan to start. On Amazon Prime.



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