JULY 22, 2011
Somewhere along the line I unofficially "decided" that I would avoid the Witchcraft series, because I sort of liked the idea that there was this major (in numbers anyway) horror franchise that I had avoided through childhood and continued to do so even with watching one every day. But all that fell apart when I watched Witchcraft 13: Blood Of The Chosen, which I actually thought was unrelated from the series (I also didn't realize it had gotten that far; I thought it had topped out with part 10). Stupid BC.
Now, you might be wondering how I made this mistake. Well, for starters, the film was on a budget set with no budget indies (same set as yesterday's Backwoods Bloodbath), which isn't where you'd expect to find a sequel to a long running franchise, even one as dubious as this. Also, the only real connection I had to the series were its VHS and DVD covers, all of which employed the same font and Roman numeral motif, whereas this had a different font and a standard number, plus the cover didn't have a half-naked witch like usual. And again, I wasn't aware there was an 11 or 12 (well, XI and XII). I just figured it was something they thought looked cool because 13 is unlucky and all that; sort of like how Apollo 18 isn't really a sequel to Apollo 13.
So oh well, I watched a Witchcraft movie, one that certainly hasn't inspired me to rethink my random boycott. I assume the series has seen better days, and maybe I'll check out the original and play it by ear as to whether or not I watch future installments, but there was nothing about this movie that was particularly interesting. Worse, I was surprised to discover that the main character in the movie is actually a long-running hero of the series (albeit played by several actors for reasons unknown), and I didn't like the dude at all, so that's not really helping matters.
Again, maybe in previous films he was a handsome, alpha male type, but this guy looked more like a Kinko's manager (or a low-rent attorney, which is what he plays), yet still managed to bang three different girls over the course of the film. To be fair, two of them are doing so because they are evil and it's part of their plan, but in one case it's supposed to be a twist that the character (who is introduced far too late into the narrative) is evil. So it's just ridiculous to see this guy constantly getting tail, though I was relieved to discover that the actor wasn't also the screenwriter, something that is often the case in these sort of things.
Another issue is that he is a warlock but barely ever uses his powers. It would have been fun to see him using magic to help him with his law work or something, but he saves it for one quick scene in the middle somewhere and the climax. The rest of the time he's just sifting through papers, talking to the other, equally dull characters, or fucking. And the sex scenes are pretty dull too; the women aren't unattractive (his second conquest, the pixie blond chick, was quite cute) but hardly the sort of goddesses they're made out to be, and the uniform lack of acting skills suggests that they weren't cast for their talent OR looks, but simply because they were all the filmmakers could get with their budget.
And there's a goddamn pentagram scene. You've seen it in dozens of crappy horror films/TV shows - the hero draws a circle or puts pins into a map at the location of each murder that occurred, then draws lines and realizes that they form the shape of a pentagram. It's a ludicrous concept that's been used far too often, and I would like to formally request that it be given to rest (unless there's an accompanying scene of the villain actually working out the logistics of this plan*). To top off the groaner nature of this scene, the obligatory bit where the hero realizes his house/office is in the center of the pentagram is hilariously botched, as director Mel House failed to get a wide shot of the location in the middle of the star shape. Maybe he just figured that we've seen this scene so many times in other movies that we'd be able to mentally fill in the blanks.
It's not without its charms, though. It has one of the weirdest one-liners ever, as a guy trying to goad the she-bitch into killing him says "If I wanted to fuck a glass of water, I'd go into my kitchen!" There's also a bit where a fat guy sings along to a particularly lurid country song before getting offed (he's one of the pentagram murders - good thing he drove along that road while they were there, and stopped, or else they wouldn't have gotten that point on their little map plan), which I have posted below in lieu of the trailer, which I couldn't find. And the big reveal at the end, amidst all of the mumbo jumbo (which is where I realized that this was indeed a sequel as they were mentioning the character's different names over the years/movies), we find out that one of the girls he banged was actually a direct relative of his. Hey-o!
Also, there's a bit where he plays detective, which charmed me as my buddy Zane Grant just launched a web comic called Detective Warlock: Warlock Detective, concerning, yes, a detective who is also a warlock. I can say with 99.9% certainty that Zane has not seen this film and that it's just a coincidence, and I can bump it up to 100% certainty that reading his (free) comic, which releases a new part every Wednesday, is a better use of your time. I should also note that this seems to be the end of the Witchcraft series, as it's been 5 years since this one premiered (despite its 2008 date) and there's still no 14 in production - they used to churn em out every year or two. Still, by my count, this is the longest running franchise in horror history; even if you count the reboot for Friday the 13th or the spinoffs for Puppet Master they don't hit 13 films. So, grats, I guess.
What say you?