WITCHCRAFT ’70 (1970)
aka Angeli bianchi…angeli neri
Article 2220 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-14-2007
Posting Date: 9-10-2007
Directed by Luigi Scattine and Lee Frost
Featuring Edmund Purdom, Alberto Bevilacqua, Anton LaVey
This is a documentary about witchcraft around the world.
I don’t know whether this documentary about the various witchcraft rituals from around the world is faked, partially faked, or all real, but if it has been faked, it does a good job of making it look like it isn’t. It might make a good companion piece to WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES , though I don’t think it’s quite as entertaining. It generally eschews interviews in favor of ritual footage, though it does feature interview footage of a policeman commenting on the prevalence of witchcraft in his area (which he links to the increase of drug use) and a spoken interview with an initiate. It covers both black and white witchcraft; the most interesting example of this is the filming of two competing rituals in Rio de Janeiro during Carnivale. It gets rather dull at times, largely because there really isn’t enough variety between the various rituals to keep one from being bored. The Anton LaVey footage is interesting, in that the commentator talks about the subdued and rather bored feeling to the Satanic rituals, which he attributes to the fact that they go through it almost three times a day; there’s nothing that sucks the magic out of a ritual like its over-repetition. Some of the rituals were filmed with the permission of its participants, others were filmed in secret, and for some they found it necessary to purchase amateur footage in place of any that they could shoot themselves.
The movie does not say that witches and Satanists have real power; it is more interested in the fact that those who engage in the rituals do believe in its power. It saves any messages it has for the end of the movie when, after footage of a group of hippie Satanists, it makes the point of explaining that the location of the ritual is not far from the home of the Manson family, and that, though none of the filmed rituals here actually include such an action, there always exists the possibility of the revival of human sacrifice.
Oh, yes, and there are lots of naked people in the rituals. I’m guessing that this may be the primary appeal of the movie to some.