Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Witches (1966)

Starring Joan Fontaine, Kay Walsh, Alec McCowen, Ann Bell, Ingrid Brett
Directed by Cyril Frankel
(actor & director credits courtesy

After being terrorized by witch doctors in Africa, a missionary teacher thinks she's found a more relaxing career teaching in a British village, until she learns there are witches in the village.

An attempt by Hammer Films to add to their horror catalog with a "witch" film, I found this to be a fine suspense-filled effort that unfortunately doesn't quite pay off in its final act.  Although the film hints the witches' powers are genuine we never see true evidence of this onscreen, nor are we presented an explanation as to what motivates the witches to be witches, and the climactic sacrificial ritual's choreography comes off seeming a bit silly.  Nevertheless, the build up before that, well-scripted by Nigel Kneale, makes this a worthwhile film, and star Joan Fontaine is well cast in the leading role.

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