Witches' Night


(Comes to Video TODAY)

Four buddies are wandering through a remote part of Wisconsin. One of them was supposed to be married that morning, but was stood up at the altar. The other three, including his older brother, are his groomsmen, and they are determined to help their friend get over the pain. Their plan consists mainly of beer, and plenty of it. They stop at a remote bait shop to stock up on beer and to find out if there is anything interesting to do in the area. They settle on a canoe trip from twenty miles up river, and they find a woman to rent them two canoes and drive them to a portage.

Their dialogue consists mostly of guy talk about women and their past adventures, but behind the scenes a mysterious thread is emerging. The owner of the bait shop has a copy of an ancient text about witches. The canoe woman tells them a story about seven mysterious women who once lived together in the remote woods and were the subject of many rumors about witchcraft. Once you know that the next night will be both Halloween and a blue moon, items which coincide less than once per century, you can probably figure out where all the foreshadowing will lead.

Their first night out camping is the night before Halloween, and they pass the time in idle talk as they get ready to hit the sack to rest up for their canoe trip the next day. They get bored and are just about to call it a night when they hear women's voices. There are exactly four hot young women camping in the same remote area, and they all seem to be wild with lust. As the women attempt to seduce them, succeeding in various degrees, we realize the lads' peril, but they do not seem to, except for the jilted groom. Of course, we can hear the discordant and spooky background music and they cannot.

I guess you can see where all this is leading. Their next day (and night) will be fraught with peril. Whatever "fraught" means.

(I just looked it up. It was bugging me. Kind of interesting. "Fraught" is the past participle of "freight" when the latter is used as a verb meaning to "load and transport goods," as in "he freighted his goods to India by rail," thus "he has fraught his goods to India by rail." At any rate, "fraught" thus means "loaded with" and/or "carried by." I guess I knew how to use the word properly in idiomatic phrases, but I never really understood what it meant. Live and learn.)

Back to the point ...

The most common failure in today's horror films is that they want to get straight to the payoff, to start the gore and the sex as soon as possible, without ever taking the time to let us get to know the characters. Not that the characters would be worth knowing. They're just about all interchangeable and/or stock characters.

This horror film comes from the old school. It takes the time to develop its leads and to distinguish at least some of them as interesting, diverse, complicated people. Unfortunately, it fails a bit on the other side because the craftsmanship and atmosphere and good writing don't really lead up to a heart-pounding conclusion. There's plenty of sizzle, and a delicious aroma, but no steak on the grill. There's not much gore, very little nudity, and not many scares because there are few surprises and the evil is simple to defeat. (The script establishes early that the witches are vulnerable to water. How convenient that the witch-queen stands so close to a water trough at such a critical time!) In short, the film has plenty of foreshadowing, but needs a lot more actual shadowing.

That being said, let me hasten to add that I rather liked this retro-seventies horror film. There's only so much one can do without a budget, and the team worked around those inherent limitations. The writing is good, the score is interesting, the characters are involving, the acting is surprisingly good, the cinematography is competent, and the Wisconsin locations are original. Where the film falls short is in the areas that simply require more money. The gore is suggested or off-camera, and the costumes and make-up are lame, like a combination of off-the-rack Halloween shop kitsch and some leftovers from The Devil's Rain. Call it The Devil's Drizzle. (Hey, where's Shatner, Travolta and Ernest Borgnine?)

The one thing the filmmakers could have done better without money was to ramp up the nudity level. The movie is all about "sapphic orgies" and seduction and sexual rituals, but for all that talk there's no walk. Even the satanic ritual on Halloween involves sex between a fully-clothed woman and a man thrusting away with his pants on, surrounded by witches dancing fully clothed.

Ol' Satan has really gotten conservative over the centuries! Must be all those years working with the Republicans.

Prior to the climactic pagan rites, one of the women (Elisabeth Oas) exposes her breasts very briefly, and two women (could be anyone) shoot moons from a passing car. That was it in the flesh department, and that modesty wasn't appropriate for the subject matter. The film's other failings could be blamed on the budget, but this is one they should have fixed, because it made the satanic Halloween rituals about as edgy as a bunch of Mormons conducting an October wedding in the tabernacle.

Here are the film clips of Elisabeth Oas and others



  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.










Park takes place in an obscure park above the smog in LA. It has no view, no amenities, other than picnic tables, and the ambiance is dry scrub brush. Several visitors lunch there, each a bigger loser than the next. We have a girl in a VW trying to commit suicide, and screwing up time after time. We have a guy driving a mobile pet grooming truck who wants a relationship with his hot female assistant. She is just there to have sex with a prominent attorney in his precious SUV. The attorney's wife and her best friend are there to catch him and trash his precious van. Then there are four employees from a software firm, two male and two female. The two girls think the guys are gay. It turns out they are half right, but the guy's secret is that they get naked inside the van, thinking of themselves as nudists. After everyone spends what seems like hours talking, there are "romance novel endings" for most of the characters.

Spending 86 minutes with a bunch of losers, and listening to them talk, has never been my idea of a good time. There are enough gay characters to appeal to the gay crowd. Some, evidently, find humor here. I was not one of them.

IMDb readers say 5.9.

Melanie Lynskey

Anne Dudek









From yesterdays "Fun House" clip, Aoi Sola goes full frontal in "Man, Woman and the Wall."


And here's Kira Reed in that "coochie" scene on the Howard Stern Show.







Notes and collages



No nudity but, hey, it's Dolly Parton









Fairy Tales


This and upcoming columns: some clips from Fairy Tales

This adult version of the Brothers Grimm stories is a hoot. You got your Idy Tripoldi to start off things and your Linnea Quigley to finish 'em up. Between those two, Angela Aames and former Pet Mariwin Roberts and a bunch of others give up the goodies. There is even a reverse Hankster scene in which guys are chained to the wall and nekkid gals are offering to whip them...as they sing Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar. One of the singing whipsters - the brunette - is Evelyn Guerrero.

Clip #8: Idy Tripoldi (sample below)











Demon Seed


Julie Christie film clips.

Sample captures below









Man, this is sweet. Laura Ramsey in The Ruins (2008) in high definition!

paparazzi: J-Lo in a bikini

paparazzi: Portia de Rossi topless

Film Clips

Anna Levine Thompson in Fast Food, Fast Women (2000)

Kay Lenz in Breezy Not many people remember that this 1973 film was helmed by Clint Eastwood very early in his directorial career. It was the first speaking role for Kay Lenz - quite an auspicious debut, as the quirky romantic lead opposite big-time Hollywood star Bill Holden, while being directed by big-time Hollywood star Clint Eastwood.

Lena Olin in Enemies, a Love Story (1989)