Monday, November 26, 2012

Moview Review: Burn, Witch Burn

 While watching this film, I could not shake the feeling that I was watching an episode of The Twilight Zone.  It wasn't just the similarity in production, the film was shot in 1962 when The Twilight Zone was at its peak.  Both share similar film techniques such as the use of inky-black scenes and forced perspective.  What really locks the comparison in for me is that, like The Twilight Zone, we have the world as we know it running along what we assume is its normal and rational course only to uncover that the world is far more weird and fantastic that we could imagine.

 Norman Taylor is a professor at prestigious college who gives classes on what appears to be philosophy and critical thinking.  His opening class is about the fallacy of superstition and his premise that superstition derives its power from belief; if you do not believe then the superstition has no power over you.  He is young, popular, and is quickly moving up the ranks in the college, bucking for a promotion to a seat as head of his department.  He and his wife, Tansy, are new to the area, but engage in all the right social functions with the other professors and administrators of the college.  

Real men wear their waistbands around their navels.
 Tansy, unlike Norman, is not skeptical about the supernatural.  In fact, her secret (and possibly the secret to Norman's success) is that she practices witchcraft learned from a shaman while she accompanied her husband on an anthropological study.  She uses the magic to protect herself and her husband as well as ease their advancement in society.  She discovers that a dark power is conspiring against them, and does what she can to keep it at bay.

 However, when Norman discovers his wife's secret hobby, he hits the roof, insisting she burn all her protective trinkets and magical wares.  Immediately, they fall under assault from the forces that oppose them, and Norman quickly must come to terms with his disbelief and discover who is behind these attacks.  

He's beginning to re-think this whole "skeptic" thing.
 The film does plod along a bit.  Norman seems to vacillate between belief and disbelief instead of simply accepting the evidence after the 2nd or even 3rd incident.  The story does a good job of flirting with his wife Tansy being the antagonist as well before revealing the true nemesis.  The acting seems a little over-the-top at times, but that seems to be just how things were done in the 1960s, lots of drama.

Of all the ways to kill yourself...
 Burn, Witch Burn is a classic horror film meant for the more high-brow set.  While not overly interesting for any particular aspect of the film, it is worth watching.

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