Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Psyched by the 4D Witch – review

dvdDirected by: Victor Luminera

Released: 1973

Contains spoilers

Sometimes, in the quest for all things vampire, you really have to delve to the absolute depths of awfulness. This movie, a term I use in the loosest possible sense and subtitled ‘a Tale of Demonology’, isn’t quite at the deepest point. Its saving grace – the soundtrack. Mostly stolen pieces of classical music with Pink Floyd’s Saucerful of Secrets thrown in for good measure, the soundtrack mainly doesn’t fit but it is groovy.

Most groovy was the original piece of music ‘Beware of the 4D Witch’, a funky piece of psychedelia that was almost worth the entry fee… almost but not quite. The soundtrack was more important when you realise that the film was dialogue silent with voiceovers only. Thus I can’t tell if those who played the characters did the voiceovers. I can tell you that the voiceovers were all poorly written and delivered.

psychedelic danceWe begin with psychedelic dance imagery to aforementioned, ‘Beware of the 4D witch’ and then a voiceover tells us that whilst we believe we live in a nice 3D world, there is a 4th dimension, untouched by science, wherein lives good and evil. Honestly, it made Criswell sound plausible. The voice over ends and we groove some more to the theme song.

Cindy's ritualMeet Cindy (Margo), she is the main teller of our tale and was a virgin who had never climaxed through masturbation – for indeed this was nearly a sexploitation film (if it wasn’t for the fact that you barely see any sex or nudity). She was, however, a practitioner of witchcraft. Or should that be dabbler for she’d started reading up on it 6 weeks before. Anyway she was mightily disappointed when her first ritual failed. That was until apparitions appeared.

Esoterica as AbigailHer ancestor Abigail (Esoterica) visited her astrally. She had been a witch at Salem and offered to give her a sex life whilst she remained a virgin. With the magic words, “Let’s fantasy f*ck now” she would project Cindy into a fantasy where she would climax but, as Cindy put it, remain a virgin for daddy! A word about the magic words – or indeed any vulgarity. It would be spoken the first time (maybe a couple of times more during the film) and then, when spoken again, blanked out from the dialogue – why, I don’t know.

Tom Yerian as a vampireThe first fantasy was with herself and then the next couple involve her neighbour Mr Jones (Kelly Guthrie), who happened to be gay. Following the third fantasy we see that Cindy falls into a trance when this occurs. We also see a vision of what will transpire which includes images of a vampire (Tom Yerian). I was going to say it becomes clear that Abigail is some sort of psychic vampire, feeding in the astral, but it is not clear as such but certainly implied. The sex is fairly much hidden by strobes, masked faces, planetarium stills etc…

Margo as CindyFollowing this Cindy’s fantasies become more and more bizarre. She has sex with her Aunt Fanny, an act that disturbs her due to its lesbian nature (not its incestuous nature, note). It all culminates with Abigail telling her to have sex with her dead friend Jan – to bring her back to life. Cindy refuses and breaks the spell but Abigail warns that she will do it herself, drinking the corpse’s blood – she is named as a sex vampire at that point. A prayer is said and Jan, elsewhere, awakens from a coma with the words “Salem, witch bitch!” on her lips – or at least so we hear third hand.

Mark is marked for hexingHaving lost control of Cindy and Jan, Abigail puts Cindy into a mystic sleep and turns her attention to Cindy's brother Mark. It appears that Cindy, in a past life, stole Abigail’s love and this is a revenge trip. She will turn Mark into a sex vampire and make Cindy watch. It appears that going to Chinatown for a meal can hold of the transformation into a creature of the night, but then he develops fangs once he gets home.

Mark attacks as the vampireHe succumbs to Abigail’s will, drinks a potion, foams at the mouth and goes looking for a victim. It appears he has hypnotic eyes now. We then discover that multiple gunshots to the neck and chest can kill a vampire and this, in turn, can break a witch’s spell… Confused… good, because the bull-hockey story is unimportant. It is just an excuse to string a series of sexual encounters together, make them more than a little distasteful – we have turning a gay man straight (which, at the very least, would be offensive to the gay community), incest, play with a snake, suggested necrophilia, rape and professional misconduct (a psychiatrist with his hypnotised patient). Yet we also have nothing, just hints and psychedelic messes on screen.

WTF?I can give this 0.5 out of 10, for the “Beware of the 4D witch” song, everything else in the film deserves to be condemned to movie history and forgotten – bizarre then that it got on a DVD when other, deserving films have not.

The imdb page is here.

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