Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Witchcraft (1964)

Starring Lon Chaney, Jr., Jack Hedley, Jill Dixon, Viola Keats, Marie Ney
Directed by Don Sharp
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An English village is home to a modern day coven of witches who seek revenge when a developer desecrates their family burial ground.

This is a nicely polished little "B" picture with good production values, benefitting from a tight script by Harry Spalding, a cast of quality character actors, and good direction by Don Sharp, who ratchets up the suspense in a number of effective sequences.  Star Lon Chaney, Jr. plays Morgan Whitlock, patriarch of the family descended from a fearsome witch, and reliably brings the same gruff anger and creepy stare he brought to many film roles throughout his long career.  This film is proof that you can craft an entertaining film with limited locales and special effects, relying on the performances of the actors and the quality of the script first and foremost.  Too many films are overly ambitious and suffer for it...this one creates chills very effectively on a small scale.

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