Witchcraft (1964)

To be honest I never even heard of this until I spotted it on this list at ICM (that link shows you how many I’ve seen, should you be interested; trying to tick a few more off at present). Apparently it’s not really meant as a properly ranked list, more a list of contenders for a shorter list or something. Anyway, there are some curious titles on it (Tower of London being another), including this; when I spotted it on DVD recently, I decided to see what the IMDB horror board regulars were so impressed by. As with Tower of London, I’m still a bit puzzled. Maybe it’s people’s affection for the younger Chaney, one of whose last “real” film roles this was. Interesting to see this after Haunted Palace, cos Chaney’s in that too and there’s a similar “witch returning to wreak havoc upon her killers’ descendants” thing going on… in this case, it’s Chaney’s ancestor, buried alive 300 years ago by the Lanier family, one of whose scions is involved in redeveloping the area where she lived, and whose partner in property deliberately disturbs Chaney’s family’s grave. And to compound centuries of feud, young Lanier steals a bit of her fractured headstone (like you do) when he inspects the site at night (like you do). Alas, Chaney has fairly little to actually do (and his American accent goes unexplained, sounding odd in the English surroundings) and appears to have been signed up for name value; to be honest I’m not even sure of the extent to which he’s even responsible for the resurrection of his witch ancestor and her subsequent revenge spree; we find he runs his own witchcraft coven, but I’m not sure they really do much. Indeed, on the whole, I don’t think the film did much either. Or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood.

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