Mara (Lila Zaborin) is an enthusiastic promoter of the dark arts, and tonight is staging one of her black masses, with a bare-chested man tied to an altar surrounded by a coven of her female followers. After a spot of ritual music and movement, the ladies produce spears and on Mara's instruction as the ceremony reaches its climax they plunge the sharp objects into his body, killing him and sacrificing him to their demons. The priestess of evil has many strings to her bow, and runs a line in divination which involves her taking part in anything from séances to having the spirit of a native American enter her and speak through her to dispense advice. This may seem harmless enough, but there's nothing harmless about the occult...
First things first, with a title like that expectations are going to be high, and with veteran trash director Ted V. Mikels at the helm those expectations will only be let down to earth with a bump. There may have been blood here and there, but it was horror he was indulging in, so the orgy part was resolutely non-sexual, not even the tiniest hint of nudity as the sacrifices were what the She-Devils were getting off on. In the meantime, Mara does more than the odd Tarot card reading, she moonlights as an assassin, as when some shady characters show up at her office and ask if she could assist them in their attempts to kill off a Rhodesian ambassador through the power of black magic.
She agrees, and later in a film that comes across as a patchwork of ideas Mikels had that might fill up the comparitively brief running time we see said ambassador at a party where he suddenly clutches at his throat and collapses to the floor, dead as a doornail. We also see why: Mara has used a voodoo doll to simulate drowning, so that merely submerging the doll in a bowl of water can kill the unfortunate chap, a point that comes in useful later on when the aforementioned shady characters burst into her castle lair and murder her, a young female client and her manservant Toruque (William Bagdad) with gunfire. Ah, but you can't keep a good witch down, and certainly not a bad witch either, so no sooner has Mara been shot than she turns into a green mist.
Then a black cat, because what says the occult more than a black cat? She revives Toruque and they both clip the fingernails of the girl to get the blood she scratched from the murderer's face, then it's voodoo time once again, leading to a mildly hilarious scene of him leaping through a window to escape his torment. She even does it again to his boss, but before you get too comfortable we have the heroes to contend with, as Mara is not getting it all her own way and a doctor of, erm, spooky thingies, Dr Helsford (Victor Izay) recruits two of her clients to spy on her for him so that he may stop her in her tracks with his superior knowledge. That knowledge is exercised when Mikels decided to show off his powers of research by depicting flashbacks to witch trials.
Now, that might make you wonder, wait a second, the witch here is a baddie, so why are you showing us innocents being burned at the stake or stoned to death? But such contradiction didn't appear to have crossed Ted's mind, and anyway, anything to pad this out as far as he could, not that he had the funds to convincingly portray the events of centuries before he was making Blood Orgy so it wasn't exactly a window on the past. With special effects at a minimum, you're not expecting much from the grand finale, and you would be correct in that as the previously pragmatic Doc suddenly develops magical powers of his own, and doesn't even meet Mara in the process of trying to vanquish her - if you're a stickler for procedure, he doesn't successfully save the day either. Before that are such lunacies as Mara's spirit guide making her talk like an Indian from a Looney Tunes short, so nothing offensive there, then, but mostly there was talk, because talk is cheap. Suspense and thrills were thin on the ground: it takes a particular frame of mind to appreciate Mikels. Electro-noise by Carl Zittrer.
Ostentatious, characterful Z-grade director whose film career spanned more than 50 years. The best thing about his movies are invariably the titles, but there are some cheesy pleasures to be found in the likes of The Black Klansman,The Astro-Zombies, Blood Orgy of the She Devils, 10 Violent Women, The Doll Squad and The Corpse Grinders. Still directed, and ran film-making seminars right until his death.