Customer Review

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing near miss, 27 Nov 2006
This review is from: The Witches [DVD] [1966] (DVD)
The Witches aka The Devil's Own is an interesting but ultimately unsuccessful attempt by Hammer to make a serious(ish) movie about witchcraft. Nigel Kneale's screenplay displays some of his customary intelligence, but here he seems hindered by working not from an original story but by adapting Norah Loft's novel. A deathly pale Joan Fontaine is the schoolteacher recovering from a nervous breakdown who takes a job in an outwardly idyllic English village only to gradually suspect that there are darker forces at work - although this could just be in her own imagination. Of course, we know that she's clearly bonkers after her horrible offscreen experience at the hands of witchdoctors in Africa (well, a soundstage in Bray) while the credits were running, but we also know that just because she's had one turn of the screw too many doesn't mean there aren't real witches at work...

It's good at the unpleasant undercurrents in ostensibly beautiful small country towns and also looks at the attraction witchcraft has for women of a certain age (it's a power thing, apparently, with magic as a substitute for waning sexual power). Unfortunately, it goes downhill pretty fast once the cat is, quite literally, out of the bag and the last reel orgy plays more like a bad amateur modern dance performance that goes on forever than a terrifying pagan ritual (the silly costume doesn't help, although it's probably the only 60s film to feature faecophiliacs at play if that's your thing).
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Aug 2010 16:11:59 BDT
Mitz says:
I love this review - very funny and well-written. Not decided whether or not to buy the DVD - I vaguely remember the film and I have a very old copy of the book, but again, thanks for the zippy review.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Aug 2010 12:06:01 BDT
Well, if you can find it at a decent price there's always the Region 1 NTSC double-bill version with the truly bizarre Prehistoric Women. I wouldn't exactly recommend it, but if you regard it as an extra feature (literally), it has a real car crash fascination as Hammer's most utterly bonkers movie ever.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Aug 2012 16:25:32 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Aug 2012 16:26:27 BDT
You can watch it on free on YOUTUBE heres the link .http://youtu.be/9bb3HGDIHKo
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Review Details

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3.5 out of 5 stars (25 customer reviews)
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Reviewer

Trevor Willsmer
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

Location: London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 59