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Film Review: Sorceress (1995)

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SYNOPSIS:

This is another look at the occult as inspired by Roger Corman and his view of the dark side. Jealous witch Erica uses her powers to influence her unwitting husband Larry and his colleagues, who all work for a big law firm.

REVIEW:

Within five minutes of Sorceress, directed by Jim Wynorski (Sorority House Massacre II) you will know exactly what kind of film you’re up against. Speaking in tongues and incantations, sorceress Erica Barnes (Julie Strain) wears just enough to hide her areola’s modesty in the opening scene. Her black magic spell, somehow dependent on how little she’s wearing, will ensure her husband, Larry (Larry Poindexter), rises to the top in his law firm. To do this, she conjures up an accident that badly cripples his nearest rival, Howard Reynolds (Edward Albert).

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When Larry comes home to find Erica all naked and witchy, an argument breaks out revealing that hubby is not to happy that his wife hasn’t given up the old black magic like she promised. One unbelievable thing leads to another equally unbelievable one and Erica takes a swan dive off their balcony, promising to haunt her husband for the rest of his life.

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But wait, dear reader, there’s more! A year later, Larry has moved on with his life, being awesome at lawyering and doing it with the ladies. Harry however is confined to a wheelchair, whilst being looked after by his doting wife, Amelia (Linda Blair), who also just so happens to be a sorceress. With the taste of revenge still fresh in her mouth, she plots to destroy Larry and everyone in his life.

If ever there was a film you didn’t want to be caught watching by your mum, then this is it. For let’s not be too blunt, Sorceress (aka Temptation) isn’t really a horror film. Yes, people get possessed and someone draws a pentagram when the mood grabs them, but ultimately this softcore adult film dressed up as something spooky.  And not very spooky at that. It’s mostly 90 odd minutes of dry humping in the nude whilst a saxophone plays in the background.Sorceress-Linda-BlairSorceress-1995-movie-Jim-Wynorskijpg-(6)

It’s the kind of film where editing and plot come second to finding an excuse to put Strain – whose character, remember, dies in the first five minutes of the film – into faux-threesomes. Mostly this is done through Larry reminiscing about his sexual escapades with his wife, the same way you would reminisce about holding hands and walking on the beach. Other times, it’s through Blair’s Amelia possessing Larry’s new girlfriend and making her think about sexy parties. You know, organic storytelling.

Whether these scenes do it for you is obviously a matter of taste, but strip them from the narrative and Sorceress is a surprisingly dull exploitation film. Witchcraft, sexy ladies, murder, cars exploding; it’s the recipe for a good midnight movie. Instead, when it’s not shuffling its clothes off, Sorceress is just shuffling around. The dialogue is irksome and delivered by most of the cast in the same manner one would readout Ikea instructions. (Actually there’s a joke there about Ikea, Sorceress and putting things into holes, but I’m too mature to go there)

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Blair, looking practically Amish in her clothing compared to everyone else, looks as disinterested in the plot as the audience should be. If it was to be revealed that she filmed all her scenes in one day, there would be little surprise. She very rarely interacts with the rest of the cast, save Albert, and a large number of her scenes find her tucked away in her secret cubby house where she does all magic talking and stuff.

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Of course, there’s a place for cult movies in our lives and I’d like to recommend this on the basis of it being the supernatural equivalent to The Room or Miami Connection, but that would be a lie. Sorceress is just too dull a movie warrant a legion of ardent fans and midnight matiness. Don’t get me wrong. There is no reason why the world of cinema doesn’t need an erotic horror movie that excites in two distinct fashions, but let us be blunt, Sorceress is not the film to lead that campaign.

Features

  • Original Never-Before-Seen Uncensored Version Remastered in 2K from Original Vault Materials
  • Audio Commentary with Director Jim Wynorski
  • Additional Audio Commentary with Director Jim Wynorski and SPFX Make-Up Artist/Actor/Director, Tom Savini

Sorceress is now available on bluray per Synapse Films

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