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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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VINE VOICEon 2 August 2013
Gwen Mayfield (Joan Fontaine) fresh from an encounter with a witch doctor is given an opportunity to recover and a position in a private school in England. There she finds something sis a miss and the discovery of a voodoo doll confirms she is up against someone's wicked ways. As usual everyone is suspect and it is always the last person you suspect. Oh all alright the last person you are supposed to suspect. Will she figure it out in time or will evil have its wicked way. She may even be the target.

The only two things that give the film any credence is Joan Fontaine and that it is a Hammer production. Hammer cannot go wrong in many eyes. The butcher (Duncan Lamont) can be seen again in "5 Million Miles to Earth" (1967).

The DVD I watched looks like a direct VHS transfer and not Blu-ray. There is an extra - World of Jammer "Wicked Women". A U.S Theatrical Trailer "The Devil's Own" and TV Spots

I have to admit that I had a hard time keeping my finger off the fast forward.
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on 21 November 2014
classic british horror
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After seeing so many gore-ridden flicks on The Horror Channel, that were so dark and of poor quality, the comparative clarity and light that abounds in this Hammer production, 'The Witches' was a real relief.

Aside of the glowing star Joan Fontaine as the schoolteacher who's only just got over a nervous breakdown (caused by witch doctors making her feel most unwelcome in her last job, in deepest Africa), I recognised the voice of "Betty", the wife of TV's favourite accident-prone Frank Spencer.

Here, though, she sports a west country 'bumpkin' sort of rural accent, as all the villagers do, no doubt adding to their image as feral and uncivilised. The quaint shops, tearooms and winding lanes slowly uncover rather more sinister activities - witchcraft. Noticed by teacher Gwen Mayfield (Fontaine) she dismisses strange activities as being odd but not that important and she wants to impress her new bosses at the school and not to make waves.

After a couple of bodies suffer mysterious but fatal outcomes, the teachers know what's going on but the rest of the village don't and put them down to 'misadventure'.

This being Hammer and a horror, things naturally get rather more unpleasant for our schoolteacher, as she finds a whole cauldron of witchcraft going on under the pretty thatched roofs. Will she escape with her sanity, her life, even? The feeling is of a mood that is sinister and chilling rather than out and out horror and seems rather insipid by today's standards. Many current TV detective programmes verge on this sort of nonsense and are possibly more violent.

I'm no expert on Hammer, nor horror, but this is worth seeing for the familiar faces and some juicy acting. If you're into your Hammer's, I've seen a lot worse and the production values are remarkably high.
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on 30 April 2011
Very good story, although the climatic witch-coven scene draws more a bit of laughs, with the Witch Queen looking like a cross . The widescreen print used for the DVD was in much better shape and interesting story of African witchcraft in Britain. Some surprising moments make the movie interesting.Again if you are a hammer fan than please own it.
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on 21 July 2014
Expected this to be quite schlocky but it was well made and a strong story.
The new head teacher at a village previously had a brush with the occult in Africa, is she still suffering from the trauma in imagining strange goings on ?
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on 30 September 2014
Had high hopes after reading reviews, and after watching it's a good movie but not as good as I had wished for. Don't miss it, but don't get your hopes up either.
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on 7 September 2013
Yes I know this is not even out yet, But I am so glad Studio Canal are back releasing Hammer once again on Blu ray (and DVD) I feel credit is due. I have pre-ordered this film - The Witches by Nigel Kneale and directed by Cyril Frankel, a great film that you guys must get your hands on!! Buy this and HOPEFULLY more will follow.
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on 12 June 2016
I've been looking for this movie after seeing it on virgin media horror channel so was well pleased to find it on Amazon.
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on 18 June 2008
It has its share of critics, but personally I think this is a smart, cruel, intelligent film that is hampered but not spoiled by occasional flaws. Joan Fontaine gives an excellent, neurotic performance, and Kay Walsh is a delight: "Give me a skin for dancing in." Well worth watching.
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on 7 July 2015
the Witches has a pretty good cumulative creep-factor. No great surprises, but very watchable.
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