29 July 2014

The Witches (1966)
91 min.
Directed by Cyril Frankel.
With Joan Fontaine, Kay Walsh, Alex McCowen, Duncan Lamont, Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, Leonard Rossiter, Michele Dotrice, Viola Keats.
Joan Fontaine was a long way from Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) in this supernatural-tinged Hammer grand guignol effort.

Fontaine is Gwen Mayfield, a teacher traumatized by voodoo rituals in Africa.

After her stay in a hospital, she gets a job in England, where she hopes she can get her life back together.

No dice. She soon discovers the townspeople are actually a coven of witches! Will she be able to extricate herself so easily this time?

The English setting is a big plus, while Fontaine's old school acting is a terrific plus, as is Kay Walsh as the leader of the coven.

Marred slightly by a bizarre over-the-top finale, which depicts a choreographed ceremony that had us wondering if we had stumbled upon an MTV video.

Also known as The Devil's Own.

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