The Witchmaker (1969)

Article #1630 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-31-2005
Posting Date: 1-28-2006
Directed by Anthony Eisley, Thordis Brandt, Alvy Moore

Psychic investigators go into the bayou where several murders have been committed. They find themselves in peril from a coven of witches headed by a man called Luther the Berserk.

This one is definitely a mixed bag. At its worst, it is muddled and tedious, and whenever it tries to play up the exploitation elements it just gets silly. At its best, however, it is moody, suspenseful and surprisingly soulful; in particular, some of the speeches given to Alvy Moore’s character are rather touching, in particular one in which he talks about how certain students stand out in his memory. Moore, who also served as an associate producer for this movie, also gives a strong performance; his presence is unusual for a horror movie, and this gives the movie some of its offbeat feel. The movie gets better as it goes along and builds up to a strong ending. All in all, I found the positive qualities of this one to outweigh its weaknesses. Incidentally, Moore and Executive Producer L. Q. Jones would join forces several years later to bring make A BOY AND HIS DOG, one of the few adaptations of a Harlan Ellison story to make it to the big screen.

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