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Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/14/2016
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/13/2016
Stories about witches have been around for centuries and most every culture has their own version of this supernatural entity. As we all know, 17th century colonial America saw an outbreak of witch tales and paranoia. So, it's no surprise that witches have been featured in movies as well. The late 1980s saw a resurgence in these films, with titles like Witchcraft, Witchery, and Spellbinder, which ran through the mid-1990s. These films were popular with the direct-to-video crowd, as the movies were usually relatively inexpensive to make and could feature sexy women. 1995's Sorceress shows that a witch movie doesn't have to contain a lot of witches.
Sorceress introduces us to Erica (Julia Strain) and Larry (Larry Poindexter), a unique couple. Larry comes home from work to find Erica performing a ritual so that her husband's main work rival, Howard (Edward Albert), will be in a car accident, thus guaranteeing Larry a promotion. Larry states that he's tired of this behavior and that he's leaving. An argument ensues and Erica falls to her death from a balcony. As it turns out, Howard did have an accident, which left him wheelchair-bound. This did not sit well with his wife, Amelia (Linda Blair), who also happens to be a witch. Meanwhile, Larry is attempting to move on with his life. Realizing that Erica had enchanted him, he rekindles the relationship with his old flame, Carol (Rochelle Swanson). However, Larry feels that he can't escape from Erica, as he keeps seeing her. Is he being haunted?
Sorceress comes from prolific exploitation director Jim Wynorksi, who has made nearly 100 movies in his career, including the recentSharkansas Women's Prison Massacre. His modern films lean more towards sex spoofs, with titles like Cleavagefield and The Hills Have Thighs, when he’s not making monster-movie trash like Camel Spiders. Sorceress comes from a period in Wnyorski’s career when he was still making films with both adult and Adult themes.
But, that doesn’t mean that Sorceress is a good movie, as it features the kind of goofy ridiculousness which often inhabits sex romps. The weirdness begins with the opening frame, as we are treated to an erotic, semi-clad dance by Julie Strain. Things get illogical after Erica falls to her death...and there is apparently no police investigation. Doesn’t someone want to question Larry and ask if he pushed her? From there, the movie sort of plays like a drama, as Larry copes with Erica’s death by immediately becoming involved with Carol. Meanwhile, Larry is attacked at work by Amelia’s gardener (Michael Parks), who has also been accused of killing his family. While this is going on, Carol decides that Larry should re-paint his house, so they invite Don (Lenny Juliano) and Kathy (Kristina Ducati) over for a painting-party. (Where I learned that you should wear high-cut denim shorts while painting.) Let’s not forget about the scenes in which Howard and Amelia watch porn, but then somehow switch to the news. Was that movie on TV?
But now you are asking, “Wait a minute, this movie is called Sorceress. Where is the sorcery?” Well, it’s not in this movie. We see Erica doing a ritual in the opening scene and Amelia attempts a ritual in the finale, but otherwise, the other link to anything supernatural in this movie is an amulet which causes the wearer to exhibit bizarre behavior. While it was probably filed in the horror section of the video store upon its initial release, this is far from being scary. This prompts a new question from you, “So what is this movie’s purpose?” Again, that opening scene answers the question for you -- sex. Forget about witchcraft or house-painting, this movie is about how many women Larry can have sex with. Larry hooks up with three women in Sorceress, both in the present and in flashbacks. Add to this the extended lesbian dream sequence and you get a movie which is about 90% T&A 9.9% odd drama and 0.1% witchcraft.
While watching Sorceress, I couldn't shake the feeling that this smacks of a late night Cinemax movie. This "Uncensored Director Approved Edition" is chock full of nudity and if you are a fan of women who...how should I put this...have been to see a plastic surgeon, then this is right up your alley. Those who lean towards absurd movies which would be right at home at a TV-MA version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, then you will find something to love here. If you are coming to Sorceress because of Linda Blair, then you will be disappointed. Despite the fact that she's prominently featured on the cover art, Blair only has a handful of scenes in the film. I guess that you could say that Sorceress is an erotic-thriller, but that should really be written EROTIC-thriller.
Sorceress spent what it save on full-length shorts on S&M outfits on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Synapse Films. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 31 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain. The picture does show some very slight defects from the source material, but they aren't distracting. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is impressive and the depth is notable. Synapse has a nice job cleaning up what I can only assume was not a high-budget movie. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The music and effects never drown out the dialogue. The stereo effects are fairly active, and are obvious at times.
The Sorceress Blu-ray Disc offers two AUDIO COMMENTARIES as the only extra features. The first one has Director Jim Wynorski, while the second offers Wynorski and famed gore-master Tom Savini (who, as far as I can tell, did not work on this movie).
Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long