Witchcraft VII: Judgement Hour (1995)

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As it would be almost literally impossible to be less interesting than “Witchcraft 6”, part 7 is an uptick for the franchise. New things happen, new characters are introduced, and there’s quite big news for the “Witchcraft” universe at the end. Also, and I think this is sort of important, this is the first movie with absolutely no witchcraft in it at all. No spells, no powers, no Satanic sacrifice, no nothing.

 

It’s also another movie by ISCFC hero-turned-villain Michael Paul Girard. From “Oversexed Rugsuckers From Mars”, to “Getting Lucky”, to writing part 4 of this series, he had a career filled with…one good movie and a huge stream of garbage. He directed this and part 9 (Witchcraft 8 being a different movie that the producers bought the rights to and renamed) too, before helming the reprehensible “Different Strokes”, making a few straight-up softcore porn movies and then “retiring” – he now writes awful-sounding novels and hopefully never goes near a movie set.

 

What he has done, though, is inadvertently allow you, via the medium of the fast-forward button, to create a “non-director’s cut” of this movie. Every time a couple moves in for some sexy fun times and the music starts – you know the sort of music I’m talking about, all saxophone led and slow and sensuous – hit that FF button and be your own editor. Once you’ve seen one mid-90s softcore scene, you’ve seen em all, so unless your enthusiasm for boobs is way way off the charts, you can turn a flabby unerotic 90 minutes into a moderately tolerable 60. By the 24 minute mark, I’d already counted 4 sex scenes, for example, so you need to keep that remote close at hand.

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Part 7 brings back the main people from the previous instalment, but has chosen to replace all the actors playing them. This is fine, as they all sucked, but in one case (the bald sidekick, “Lutz”) the character is now a woman! I admire the sheer laziness of not just giving her a different name. Anyway, Will Spanner, who rumour has it was once a warlock although in seven movies he’s not cast a single spell, is now played by yet another “actor”, David Byrnes. Byrnes is not the busiest thesp of all time, basically never working outside this and part 9, and nor is he the best – he actually looks quite a bit like a sleazy lawyer, but not enough like the lead actor of a movie about witchcraft. April Breneman gets the job of his wife Keli, and she’s got quite the range (more on her later). But…and I don’t know if this is just the terrible quality of the movies I’ve watched recently, but the two cops are actually sort of okay! John Garner is Craggen, and Alisa Christensen is Lutz. Christensen is the only actor with any sort of decent credits (and even she’s much better known as a stunt performer – don’t read about her life after acting if you want to keep a smile on your face), but the two of them try their hardest with the awful wooden dialogue they’re given, so kudos to them.

 

I really don’t want to talk about this movie, as you might have guessed, but here goes. Thanks to being in the hospital on a completely unrelated case, Will discovers a huge conspiracy involving…vampires! Some ponytailed douchebag from Eastern Europe is in town to buy up the insurance company that deals with all America’s blood supplies, for vampiric purposes (really not sure what he wants it for, as it’s not like they’re trying to give up eating people). After a scene where Will and the cops chased the newest vampire through the streets, many questions can be immediately posed. How come she can run through the streets in the middle of the day, basically naked, when the Boss Vampire appears allergic to sunlight like normal? And how on earth did they think the rain effect they used (which looked like a hosepipe held above the camera with a few holes punched in it) would be good enough to pass muster in a real, properly released, expect-people-to-pay-for-it movie? At this point, my wife (enjoying her first “Witchcraft” movie) turned to me with a look of comedic disdain and said “are you enjoying the boobs?” and I replied “I’ve seen a million boobs in movies, but I’ve never seen a special effect as pathetic as that”.

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Will kills this new vampire, but his cop buddies cover for him. Then…and this is perhaps the stupidest scene in the movie…he goes home to Keli, who immediately starts screaming at him because he was out late. Rather than saying “I just killed someone who was probably a vampire”, he answers a lot of questions exactly the same way an adulterer would, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, other than to extend this brain-buggeringly stupid scene for a few more minutes. Luckily, minutes later, she’s entirely put aside her angry suspicion of her husband and has some sex with him. It’d have been cool (if unlikely, given the quality of everything else in this piece of garbage) if her insane mood swings were part of the plot, but it’s just terrible acting, writing and direction.

 

The villain’s plot is foiled pathetically quickly, and despite having been around for hundreds of years and, as we’re shown in a previous scene, being really good with a sword, he gets his ass handed to him by the completely untrained non-supernatural Will. Or does he? And here’s where I guess I ought to warn you about upcoming spoilers, because (go to the next paragraph)…they impale each other on the same bit of wood and both die! Yes, that’s how you treat your heroic lead character – have him do basically nothing for 6.9 movies, then have him killed right at the end. For nothing, as it turns out he didn’t even successfully kill the main baddie either – he sort of escapes and crawls all the way to Keli, who he’d previously turned into a vampire, only for her to finish him off.

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Three examples of why sometimes, if you can’t afford a special effect, you shouldn’t even try. Head Vampire (I should probably have bothered learning his name, but who cares?) turns into a sort of troll / gargoyle thing from time to time, and it’s embarrassingly bad. I’ve seen puppets in second-hand shops that look better than that; and keeping with the villain, when he’s finally sent to his death, he falls into an endless whirlpool of fire, an effect that would have you laughed out of any CGI for dummies school in the land. But I think these two pale in comparison to Will’s hair. Throughout, Will has floppy 90s businessman hair, which is ugly but dependable. Then, while in his office one day, his hair’s slicked back (not tied back, it’s not long enough). He gets a call from the cops, and in the next scene is walking down the street with them, hair floppy again. Oops! Then, they go to the club / hotel / evil den, and it’s slicked back again, and they even try and cover it by having Will smooth his hair into place for a second. Unless you secrete pomade, my man, just reshoot the scene!

 

You may remember I said this was a step up from part 6, then spent a thousand words insulting it. Well…a D grade is better than a D-, I suppose? It’s just a parade of terrible actors making a stupid, badly written movie, with a director who got lucky once and then spent a decade clinging on to the bottom rung of the dirtiest, sleaziest ladder in Hollywood by the skin of his teeth.

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There is the barest modicum of entertainment to be gotten from this. I promise, readers, when this series is done, we’ll move onto something decent. I’ve heard that “Leprechaun” has a few fun instalments, and I liked the first three “Hellraiser” movies too.

 

Rating: thumbs down

 

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One thought on “Witchcraft VII: Judgement Hour (1995)

  1. Pingback: The ISCFC vs. Horror Franchises |

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