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  Witchery A House Of Horrors Is Not A Home
Year: 1988
Director: Fabrizio Laurenti
Stars: David Hasselhoff, Linda Blair, Catherine Hickland, Annie Ross, Hildegard Knef, Leslie Cumming, Robert Champagne, Rick Farnsworth, Michael Manchester, Frank Cammarata, Victoria Biggers, Ely Coughlin, Kara Lynch, Jamie Hanes, Richard Ladenburg
Genre: Horror, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jane Brooks (Linda Blair) has moved back in with her parents since falling pregnant, and awakens this morning from an alarming nightmare where she saw a pregnant woman from the past being chased towards a house by a gang of Puritans, then forced to flee by jumping out of an upper storey window, presumably to her death. But what Jane doesn't know is that place actually exists, and some presence there embodied by the apparition of a woman in black (Hildegard Knef) is out to get her, as she finds out when she has a vision of her and narrowly escapes an accident in the street...

But Linda Blair was not the only star of this, for the top-billed actor was David Hasselhoff, between the twin titans of his career in Knight Rider and Baywatch, and spending time in an Italian exploitation movie from trash producer Joe D'Amato. Well, it's a living. Witchery, also called Witchcraft but not part of the Witchcraft series, was really La Casa 4, an unrelated sequel to La Casa 3, funnily enough, which had been known as Ghosthouse in some territories, hence this also being called Ghosthouse 2, although it was an unofficial third sequel to The Evil Dead in name only, for that and Evil Dead 2 had been known as La Casa in Italy. Are you following this?

Anyway, never mind all that, what you wanted here were cheapo thrills from an impoverished production, right? And Witchery delivered to an extent, although unintentional chuckles might be the more likely reaction such was the poor quality of imagination that went into crafting it. Hasselhoff played Gary, who is there with his girlfriend Linda, played by Catherine Hickland who happened to be Hasselhoff's real life, soon to be divorced wife, although he actually walked away with the acting honours in a cast of rather embarrassed-looking thesps. Certainly Hickland did not outshine her spouse, droning in a monotone for much of the time, that in spite of the amount of coffee she drinks.

I mean, you'd expect her to be far more hyper after all that caffeine, but she just sounds bored out of her mind for the duration, even after unspeakable things begin to happen. Gary and Linda are at the house we saw in the nightmare, him for a film project and her to research her book on, er, something or other to do with childbirth, although Gary keeps chiding her for being a virgin at her age, telling her it's not natural (translation: hurry up and come around to my way of thinking). Then the Brooks family show up, including jazz singer Annie Ross as the matriarch, looking around the island-based property with a view to moving in, and that witchy lady in black steps up her campaign of intimidation.

Which essentially means the cast being picked off one by one in various horrible ways, with Annie for example getting her mouth stitched up so she cannot scream and then stuffed up the chimney, after which the oblivious residents, trapped there since the boat has stranded them, light a fire and roast her accidentally. And still don't notice anything amiss! One interesting part of these selected dooms is that they are heralded by the actor in question hurtling down a tunnel of some kind, which fans of Doctor Who will recognise as the opening titles to the nineteen-seventies Tom Baker series, given a none too impressive makeover when it's Linda Blair and not Mr Baker you see emerging from the cosmic plughole effects. It all builds to a Rosemary's Baby-imitating finale, seeing as how Linda (the character) has had a nightmare about being raped by the Devil, and a silly punchline is the payoff, though not before Linda Blair gets possessed again. That's a bad habit. Music by Carlo Maria Cordio and Randy Miller.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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