Witchery Blu-ray Review

David Hasselhoff and Linda Blair star in this witchy chiller from the ’80s

Where has this movie been my entire life? Combining the talents of international superstar David Hasselhoff and The Exorcist’s Linda Blair, Witchery is an immensely satisfying B-movie from the Eighties. The Italian-made film was also known as La Casa 4 and Witchcraft. Call it whatever you want, this horror movie delivers a surprisingly stout script and fun performances over its 95 minutes. Aside from some very dated special effects that wouldn’t have looked out of place on television, horror fans should love this cheesy genre effort.

Gary (David Hasselhoff) and Leslie are investigating the phenomenon of witch’s light at an abandoned hotel on an isolated Massachusetts island. Did I mention the bizarre visions of a pregnant woman throwing herself to death in the film’s macabre opener? Joining the fun are an elderly couple and their pregnant daughter Jane (Linda Blair) looking to buy the foreboding property. Little does anyone know that the ghost of a witch haunts the grounds, looking to open the gates of Hell. Each victim has been carefully selected by the witch for a specific purpose in her Satanic ritual.

Witchery assembles this motley crew of strangers at the hotel and follows a proven genre formula by trapping them on the island. The witch can only be seen by Jane’s young son, Tommy. She traps them all on the island by killing off their only means of exit, forcing them to spend a night at the abandoned hotel without any way to contact help. So much wacky stuff is thrown into the story. Leslie is an adult virgin dating Gary. What does the witch need for her sacrifice? Virgin’s blood. The guests encounter terrible visions of torture and death. Jane sees a hideously deformed witch devouring her fetus. It’s outre moments like that which make Witchery a surprisingly entertaining B-movie given its lack of originality.

If crucifixions, suggested demonic rape and Satanic rituals sound like a fun time to be had in your B-movie horror, this movie is for you.

It’s always fun seeing David Hasselhoff in his prime. The Hoff and Linda Blair are the headliners despite this being more of an ensemble effort. Hildegard Knef actually has Witchery’s biggest and most important role as the Woman in Black. It’s perfect casting for the ghostly witch, supposedly a silent film star in her former life.

If crucifixions, suggested demonic rape and Satanic rituals sound like a fun time to be had in your B-movie horror, this movie is for you. Witchery is a smooth effort that overcomes its occasionally suspect special effects. No one will confuse this with The Exorcist but horror fans should be pleased by its frights.

Movie ★★★★☆

 

She looks completely trusting @ 7:56

Much of my commentary regarding Witchery’s video quality could be lifted wholesale from the Ghosthouse review. The two Italian productions share a single BD-50 in this double-feature from Scream Factory. The transfers aren’t identical in quality. There are some differences. Witchery has a couple of big stars and the entire film has better production values, including more professional cinematography. This is a soft, older telecine-derived transfer that looks better than DVD but does not rank alongside the newer film transfers found on Blu-ray.

It has definitely been sourced from an older Italian master struck when high-definition may not have been the intended target. Some signs of processing are apparent, most notably some unusual frozen grain. The overall picture quality isn’t bad considering these problems. The film elements are stable with fairly rich color saturation and a consistent contrast. Definition wavers in the opticals but generally exudes decent clarity. There isn’t an abundant amount of fine detail but the filtered transfer makes for a serviceable presentation. Black levels are solid if unspectacular.

While Witchery would look better with a lavish new transfer, Scream Factory has dug up a decent-looking print with moderate HD resolution. I found it enjoyable enough since beggars can’t be choosers with these kinds of older genre films.

Video ★★★☆☆

The original mono audio is preserved in a solid 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Dialogue is cleanly delivered in average fidelity. The score and audio cues have far better fidelity and dynamics than the lossless sound found on Ghosthouse. The B-movie soundtrack has solid bass and enough presence to make things interesting.

Optional English SDH subtitles display in a white font.

Audio ★★★★☆

Scream Factory has included the trailers for Ghosthouse and Witchery as special features. The two movies share a single BD-50 and one Blu-ray case. Witchery is enough fun that it’s somewhat of a shame we didn’t get an interview or something.

Witchery Trailer (03:01 in HD)

Ghosthouse Trailer (02:53 in HD)

Extras ★☆☆☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.