Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 26th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1988
Director: Fabrizio Laurenti
Cast: David Hasselhoff, Linda Blair, Catherine Hickland, Annie Ross, Hildegard Knef
DVD released: October 10th, 2006
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Shriek Show
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Jane (Linda Blair) is pregnant with child and she has been having dreams of a pregnant women being chased by an occult sect. Her parents are interested in buying an estate which is located on a secluded island that the locales claim that the island is being haunted by a witch. Jane is no shape too take care of herself goes along with her brother and parents to check the place out. Leslie is an author who is writing a book on her studies of the occult and Gary (David Hasselhoff) is a photographer that she has brought along to help gather proof of the paranormal. Strange things start to happen after Jane and her families’ arrival including the disappearance of the boat that brought them leaving them stranded on the island.
The late 1980’s was a bad time to be a horror film fan as the genre had all but run out of ideas and the films that were getting made where some of the worst the genre has ever seen. This brings us to Fabrizio Laurenti directorial debut Witchery a film that is just awful enough that it may have single handedly destroyed any lifeline the Italian horror industry had left. Fabrizio Laurenti direction lacks any great set pieces. He also fails time and again to set up any real tension or fright. The special effects while not mind blowing are average to decent in their design and execution. The most brutal scene is when Jane’s mother gets her lips sewn shut.
The Italians have always had knack for picking their leads actors & actresses from America. There choose of Linda Blair as Jane the pregnant lady is not a inspired as it would seem since Blair has spent virtually all of her career making horror films. The hiring of David Hasslehoff seems kind of odd considering his only success at this point was Knight Rider and the international phenomena known as Bay Watch had yet to go into production. Never fear Ladies David Hasslehoff has at least one scene where he goes shirtless. The acting all around is really bad with the exception of the child actor who plays the little boy named Tommy and unlike most child actors he keeps the annoying factor to a bare minimum. This film like so many horror films before it ends with a twist at the end that didn’t surprise me in the least. Ultimately Witchery is not a good film as it fails miserably in way a successful horror film should succeed and if it weren’t for the unintentional camp value added by the dialog and putrid acting this film would be a total wash.
Witchery is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Colors look faithfully reproduced and details look crisp through out. There is some minor instances of print damage that are inherent to the source material and there fore noticeable on the transfer used for this release. While this print damage is noticeable it never distracts or takes away from viewing enjoyment.
This release comes with one audio option the films English audio mix which is presented here in a Dolby Digital stereo. Dialog is clean and easy to understand. Music and effects sound full and there are no instances where the other overpowers the rest of the mix. Outside of some minor instances of hiss the rest of the mix is free of any major sound defects.
Extras for this release include Witchery’s original theatrical trailer, a Joe D’ Amato trailer gallery which contains trailers for films he directed & produced and four trailers for films from Media Blasters Shriek Show line.
Witchery is fare from what one would call a classic horror film and it is no surprise that there are no real extras included with this release since everyone associated with making this film most likely would like to distance themselves from this film.
Media Blasters Witchery DVD release is the best the film has looked and sounded in years and it can be purchased at a more then affordable price.