There are some movie series where you’re genuinely surprised they continue to pump out sequels. Surely paying for the name would outweigh any fractional extra profit from hardcore fans of, say, “Nemesis” or “Sleepaway Camp” (pity such poor fools, should they exist). But continue they do – and now my brain is occupied by an image of a gentleman in a smoking jacket introducing a friend to his DVD collection and casting his arm along one shelf – “this, dear boy, is all 16 Witchcraft movies”.
What makes this an odd choice to be current record holder for most numerous movie series (English language, non-James Bond) is that it started in the toilet. Part 1 was a ripoff of “Rosemary’s Baby”, just without any of the good acting or interesting direction that made that movie so fondly remembered; with a sprinkling of every other satanic panic 70s movie thrown in for good measure. There’s not a lot of barrel below this to be scraped, is what I’m saying, but boy oh boy, “Witchcraft 2” manages it.
By the way, these reviews are probably going to have a ton of spoilers in them, because I seriously don’t expect any of you to watch these things. If you, in 2016, are asking the internet whether this is a good use of your entertainment dollars / time, then you deserve to have it spoiled. Anyway. The star of this movie is the baby from part 1, William (Charles Solomon, who’d go on to compete in NASCAR. As an actor, he makes a fine NASCAR driver), and he’s living with a new family. There’s a super-creepy bit near the beginning where the father pokes his head round the door and looks lovingly at his sleeping son – the sort of thing you might do if your kid is 8 years old, not 25-playing-18.
William is dating the local Pastor’s daughter, Michelle (Mia Ruiz), and his weirdly flirty neighbour is Dolores (former Playboy model Delia Sheppard). His “parents” are also witches who are looking after him until…well, I assumed he was Satan’s son, and would allow his father access to the world of mortals; but it turns out he’s got to have sex with Dolores, who’s very obviously a bad ‘un, and her baby will be the Ultimate Evil. I don’t know, writing it out feels stupid as it seems unlikely that was the best plot they could come up with, but so be it. There’s a whole thing with him getting special magic gifts each night for three nights, but as far as I can tell they don’t really factor into the plot all that much (although I will own up to not entirely paying attention by the end).
According to IMDB, this was made for around $80,000, which was a pittance even in the late 80s. The special effects are laughable – one memorable scene has Michelle being savaged by a flashlight’s beam, being shaken round off camera by some poor staffer – with the sound and lighting being every bit as bad as you’d expect, with murky interiors (where most of the movie is set) and murky dialogue. The acting is where things truly excel, though, but where to start? How about William himself, who is (I think) supposed to be at high school, despite the actor being 25 and looking 35? Or Michelle, who screams so much at the end of the movie I was genuinely worried for her health? Or Dolores, who is bad even compared to other Playboy models turned actresses? But we can’t forget the parents, whose stilted performances bring to mind two aliens being asked to pretend they’re upper middle-class humans (but not as funny or interesting as that description sounds).
As the story stumbles on, it lucks into an interesting idea, as the cast contracts and the remaining good guys are trying to stop the final night from happening. A better movie would have been able to turn this into tense entertainment, but…you know the rest of the sentence. Man, this film was rough. Although I sort of admired how dumb it was, in the sense of “no-one gave a damn about this film at all”, that did not help me enjoy it.
If you were aware of “Witchcraft” at all before reading these reviews, chances are it was one of the lurid later covers, starring someone like Julie Strain, with an emphasis less on storytelling or acting, and more on boobs and hot witch-on-witch “action”. The first hints of that appear here, as there’s some very brief toplessness, a scene where Dolores wears a body-stocking and nothing else, etc. But please don’t try and watch this for some titillation, as you will be very disappointed. Why should you get any enjoyment from this movie, none of the rest of us did?
As the cast is littered with people from the very bottom rung of Hollywood’s ladder, so is the crew. This is Mark Woods’ only film as director (excepting a few Playboy documentaries), being more a cinematographer for other terrible directors; and it’s Jim Hanson’s only writing credit, having produced a few movies in the 80s and 90s – the only ones you’ve ever heard of being the first two Witchcrafts. There’s another listed writer called Sal Manna, which sounds like a made-up name, and it’s their only credit also. It’s a rare triple-threat of amateurishness!
I wrote “ending” with a sad face next to it in my notes, but mercifully my brain has wiped the memory of exactly what the ending was, and why I didn’t like it. I bet it was rubbish though! There’s a lot of people who seem to think this is the worst movie ever made – I mean, I wouldn’t go that far, and don’t think I’d even put it in my bottom 100, but it certainly is bad, and you certainly shouldn’t ever watch it.
Rating: thumbs down