The Witchmaker – USA, 1969

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‘Their form is human but they have crossed over… Is this sex after death?’

The Witchmaker is a 1969 American supernatural horror film written, produced and directed by William O. Brown. The film was executive produced by actor L.Q. Jones (The Brotherhood of Satan). The movie stars Anthony Eisley, Thordis Brandt and. Alvy Moore.

It was also released as The Legend of Witch HollowThe Witchmaster and Witchkill  

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Deep in the Louisiana swamps, a psychic researcher and his student assistants investigate a series of murders of beautiful young women…

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Reviews:

” … the plot is incredibly expansive and far more intriguing than what ends up on screen. Terribly tame for 1969, there’s just enough sexual subtext, goofy acting and a bravura performance from John Lodge to make these satanic shenanigans a fair late-night offering of bayou devilry indulgence.” Cool Ass Cinema

” …a very entertaining piece that for some reason went missing from the conscious mind of genre fans. A sad loss of a piece that is very high on atmosphere, tells a great story and is a damned fine movie indeed, well worthy of a rediscovery.” Jason Meredith, Cinezilla

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“Apart from the pace there was nothing really wrong with it – the actors were mostly solid, it looked terrific, and the plot wasn’t too cliched, so I’m willing to put this in the “have to be in the right mood” category.” Horror Movie a Day

“Atmosphere is fantastic. And, if that can carry you through a movie, this one has it. The over-explanation of the witchcraft I can understand. The excessive chatter covering the scenes between the main characters I can’t.” Dan Budnik, Bleeding Skull!

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“At its worst, it is muddled and tedious, and whenever it tries to play up the exploitation elements it just gets silly. At its best, however, it is moody, suspenseful and surprisingly soulful; in particular, some of the speeches given to Alvy Moore’s character are rather touching…” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“There’s also enough blood and bare skin to appease audiences for the time (including one odd but memorable sequence with a topless Brandt running through the swamp cupping her cleavage) […] On the downside, the pacing of the first half is, to put it charitably, on the pokey side at times; you have to be in the mood for a film that only delivers in occasional bursts before finally going full-on crazy after the 45-minute mark.” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital

” …Witchmaker is a cool flick that makes you wish Brown had continued to work in the genre. It’s a film that seemingly works in spite of itself sometimes; our villains (especially Lodge) are sometimes stage-bound and hammy, while our heroes are often left to figure out stuff we already know; without the combined powers of Techniscope and Technicolor, it would have been quite drab.” Oh, the Horror!

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“While not exactly audacious, it’s very entertaining, and worth a look for students of the cinematic unusual. In short, if you get a chance to check this one out, take it.” Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies

“The plot contours are familiar to the point of exhaustion. The dialogue is uniformly clunky, and most of the acting is feeble enough that Anthony Eisley stands out like an actual movie star. The precocious 70’s-style shock ending is insufficiently justified, and there are a couple moments that are just unbelievably silly.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“Enjoyable fare is well made and benefits from a structurally sound storyline and good pacing; the turnabout ending is a nice touch. Best scene: the coven party/dance/punishment sequence.” The Terror Trap

Choice dialogue:

“I’m no philosophiser, I’m the guy that gets the firewood”.

“Well, now we know what we’re up against. And his name is Luther!”

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POSTER-THE-WITCHMAKER

Main cast:

  • Anthony Eisley … Victor Gordon – Evil Spirits; Deep Space; Monstroid; The Mummy and the Curse of the JackalsThe Navy vs. the Night MonstersThe Mighty Gorga; Dracula vs. Frankenstein; The Outer Limits ‘The Brain of Colonel Barham’
  • Anthony Eisley
  • Thordis Brandt … Anastasia
  • Alvy Moore … Dr. Ralph Hayes – The Horror ShowIntruder; Mortuary; Scream; The Brotherhood of Satan; The Munsters 
  • John Lodge … Luther the Berserk
  • Shelby Grant … Maggie
  • Tony Benson … Owen
  • Robyn Millan … Student
  • Warrene Ott … Jessie (young)
  • Helene Winston … Jessie (old)
  • Burt Mustin … Boatman
  • Rudy Haydel
  • Teska Moreau
  • Kathy Lynn … Patty Ann
  • Sue Bernard … Felicity Johnson
  • Howard Viet … San Blas

Filming locations:

Marksville, Louisiana, USA

Technical details:

99 minutes | 2:35:1 | Technicolor | Techniscope

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