Judge Gordon Sullivan's just glad he's never encountered a soft-core zombie picture.
Our review of The Witches Of Breastwick, published October 14th, 2005, is also available.
"A heaping helping of soft-core sensuality"
The vast majority of people inspired to get into filmmaking seem to want to take the director's chair. Of those who aspire to the position, one in a thousand (or more) actually gets to be the kind of "name" director we think of when people say film director. Faced with these insurmountable odds, many choose to go into another cinematic field, like being a cameraperson or writing screenplays. Some, however, choose the semi-anonymous role of journeyman director. These people think directing is more important than getting to choose what they direct, so they're responsible for everything from car commercials to industrial videos about worker safety. They also direct feature films, especially genre work.
One of these directors is Jim Wynorski. Though he directed the fondly remembered Chopping Mall, he's also directed a host of sequels (Deathstalker II, The Return of Swamp Thing, and 976 EVIL II, to name just a handful). Under another name (H.R. Blueberry), he's also been racking up experience directing soft-core erotica. The Witches of Breastwick/Witches of Breastwick II is an example of this kind of film. I wish I could recommend it to fans of Wynorski's other work, but these flicks needed to bubble in the cauldron a little more.
The Witches of Breastwick is, unsurprisingly, about a trio of witches. When David (Matt Dalpiaz) and his wife Tiffany (Monique Parent) take a trip to the mountains and encounter car trouble, they also encounter the witches. Apparently the witches put a spell on David (though it's not entirely clear why), and that leads to a lot of sex between the witches, the witches and David, and the witches and Tiffany. The Witches of Breastwick 2 is almost exactly the same movie with a different cast.
I genuinely wonder how films like The Witches of Breastwick and its sequel get made in the twenty-first century. In the '80s and '90s, when hardcore pornography required either the embarrassment of in-person rental or the expense of a dedicated cable channel, it made sense to have soft-core on cable channels like Cinemax. It even made sense that these movies didn't have to be particularly good, because they were the easiest way to see nudity for most Americans. Now, however, with the Internet making its way into most peoples' homes, hardcore pornography is easier to see than ever. With the easy availability of nudity in the twenty-first century, I'd think that soft-core would either go away or step up its game.
The Witches of Breastwick and The Witches of Breastwick 2 are ample proof that the game is in no way being stepped up. In fact, one could say that the strongest aspect of these two films is their timeless quality. They could have been made any time since the explosion of cable companies in the early '80s. Otherwise, these two films are a catalogue of dodgy acting, reused sets, paper-thin plot, and vigorous but simulated sex.
The basic plot (couple finds shelter in an isolated house that's inhabited by scary people) allows for a surprisingly large amount of simulated sex. We get the married couple coupling, the witches seducing the husband, the witches seducing the wife (in a hot tub!), and the witches seducing each other. That doesn't include the random nudity (which starts about five seconds after the film rolls). You might be wondering how I can complain about a film with this much nudity and sex, but it's easy: while all these women may at one time have been attractive, almost all had beach balls stuffed under their skin at some point. If the fake-buxom look is your thing, then maybe you'll enjoy the copious nudity on display here, but those with a penchant for natural endowments will be disappointed.
It's also strangely insulting that The Witches of Breastwick 2 is all but a remake of the first film. I don't expect soft-core erotic horror sequels to really raise the bar or anything, but recycling so many elements from the first film just felt cheap.
On DVD, these two films get much better treatment than they deserve. They're both presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, and both are equally okay. They have a digital sheen to them that doesn't render motion naturally, and detail isn't particularly strong. However, colors look okay, and black levels were better than I expected. Stereo audio keeps the (inane) dialogue audible and well-balanced with the score. Extras include a host of trailers and promos for other Secret Key releases, along with commentaries on both films by director H.R. Blueberry. In the first he's joined by actress Glori-Anne Gilbert, and the pair keep up a decent amount of banter for the film's running time. They chat about the difficulties of the shoot, occasionally "explaining" what's going on on-screen. Blueberry flies solo for the second commentary (and asks less than a minute in why the film even needs a commentary), and the results are not nearly as good. He has a few stories to share, but not nearly enough to fill up the running time.
If these films were on cable and you had insomnia, you could do worse than watch them. However, other than a slavish devotion to one of the actresses or a completist attitude towards Jim Wynorski's work, I can't see why anyone would do more than rent these flicks.
Guilty of lacking any magic.
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