Sunday, 17 May 2009

No. 130 : Witchery

Here’s a little seen 1988 classic that stars David Hasselhoff and Linda Blair of ‘The Exorcist’ fame. The reasons for its relative anonymity are multifold but that’s not to say it doesn’t have a few guilty charms to offer.

We open with a pregnant woman in a flowing night gown on the run from a bunch of pitchfork wielding puritans. Their costumes look like cheap Halloween outfits but save your concerns for the woman as she’s clearly going to give birth to a cushion as her see through nightie reveals. She runs into an unfeasible modern looking building and then changes into a hairy stuntman as she jumps out of a window. As she plummets to her death Linda Blair wakes up and we see that she too is pregnant and has a similar taste in nightwear.

As she heads out she narrowly avoids some falling girders by an old woman who flashes a pendant like she’s hawking it on QVC. Meanwhile back at the colonial building, which we learn is on an island and has fallen into disrepair, The Hoff and his virgin girlfriend are having a look around. He is a photographer and his chaste friend is an expert on old myths and German folklore. They don’t have permission to be on the island and are worried when they spot a boat coming, which carries Linda, a precocious kid with a Sesame street tape recorder (remember that for later folks!), an estate agent, a horny architect lady and an old couple who have bought the place unseen - and in this economy too!

The captain of the boat is uneasy as the island is feared locally so it’s no surprise when he’s the first bumped off. With the cast now assembled at the haunted house the fun can begin and their numbers rapidly thin as the old bag with the fancy jewellery starts to work her magic. Some strange scenes ensue with Blair falling down a plug hole and a woman being eaten by a safe. These portals take them via the Dr Who titles to another world of baby eating and torture.

The boy manages to tape a satanic chant and our handy German translator works out three sacrifices are needed to resurrect someone or open something - it really wasn’t clear. With a pregnant woman and a virgin on show you can guarantee all the ingredients are there for mischief and it’s clear that it’s going to fall to the Hoff to save the day.

This film is clearly rubbish and to be honest I had no idea what gobbledegook was being spoken half the time. The other world, which was basically some curtains, was inhabited by some scabby people with a number of bad habits. The worst was sewing up lips which clearly impressed the producer as he stuck that on the poster rather than the Hoff’s rippling torso. It hardly matters that the lips wouldn’t have looked more fake if they had ‘ACME’ stamped across them.

The acting is really poor, matched only by the awfulness of the script. Long sequences didn’t make sense and the budget was so low that The Hoff had to attack himself with some sliding doors at one point. There were no real scares but a couple of inventive deaths made for a watchable, if desperately poor 90 minutes.

The best bit is at the end where the house starts to literally attack the remaining cast and Blair tries to resurrect her career by doing her Regan bit again, except with blow dried hair and a funnier voice. Of course its cheap and tacky as well as incomprehensible and daft but at least you’ll get some unintentional laughs, a tandooried woman and a couple eating a barbecued baby. Not bad for a night in!

Best Bit : Hoff consoles child with Irish accent
‘W’ Rating : 12/23

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