Necromancy 1972 ***

It’s hard to imagine why Orson Welles is in Necromancy, also known as Horror Attack, The Witching, The Toy Factory, Rosemary’s Disciples and several other titles, none of which conceal this is a cheap production from horror director Bert L Gordon. Welles presumable banked a cheque for his role as Dr Cato, the sinister patriarch of the small town of Lilith, where Lori (Pamela Franklin) and her husband Frank (Michael Ontkean from Twin Peaks) unwisely move so her can pursue a career in ‘advertising and promotion’ at a local toy factory. Dr Cato turns out to be the head of a coven that Lori is invited to join, but her refusal sparks controlling behaviour from the townspeople. Welles may have been down on his luck at the time, but as the admirable F For Fake shows, was still very much himself; perhaps the role of a magician was too enjoyable a notion for his to turn down. Necromancy is a strange and uneven film, bizarrely edited and scored, but it’s not devoid of interest; it puts devil worship at the centre of the narrative, and conjures up a surreal, distasteful atmosphere that dedicated horror fans might enjoy.


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