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.


Leave a Reply