Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Witchcraft 8: Salem's Ghost (1996)

Well, you have to hand it to this movie. The eighth instalment in the Witchcraft series at least takes things in a slightly different direction. We don't get an adventure created around Will Spanner, the lead character of most of the previous films, and there's even an attempt to add some comedy. It's a poor attempt, the comedy is awful, but it's an attempt nonetheless.

Writer-director Joseph John Barmettler delivers what is expected from the series - supernatural elements and sex scenes - while admirably trying to make this film stand out from the other films that preceded it. It's just a shame that he doesn't make a better job of things, with a lot of the events feeling as if they were found in a bin of discarded ideas from the House movie series.

The slim story concerns a a warlock (Jack van Landingham) being all trussed up and killed by angry locals. Fast forward many years later and a couple move into a nice home. Unfortunately, that nice home contains the final resting place of the warlock, and his spirit is freed when a magical thingummybob is moved. And stuff happens.

I think that's quite an in-depth plot summary there. I have certainly written it with almost as much care and attention to detail as Barmettler, who is clearly more interested in stringing together some individual fun moments than making a feature that holds up from start to finish.

Lee Grober and Kim Kopf are the couple at the centre of events, and David Weills and Anthoni Stewart play a pair of neighbours who immeditely ingratiate themselves and wander around the home, being generally a bit too nosey and unwittingly setting off the supernatural goings-on. Tom Overmyer, Mai-Lis Holmes, and William Knight also lend weak support.

While looking into the production of the movie, I discovered that this was originally intended to be the potential starting point for a whole new series of films, based around the Salem's Ghost concept. That idea was binned after the negative reaction to this, whether from executives or viewers, or both, which meant that the next instalment of the Witchcraft series would bring back one Will Spanner (sigh).

If you're somehow trying to make your way through this entire series, as I am, then this is like a cool flannel on your forehead during a particularly bad fever-dream. But that still doesn't make it a good film. It's just relatively less painful.


Available on Amazon Prime, perhaps you may want this complete set of Charmed instead.
Americans can get some Charmed here.

A gratuitous pic of the ladies from Charmed

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