Burn, Witch, Burn  (1962)

Octoblur 2015 - #21: Burn, Witch, Burn (1962)

 
By dorrk, October 19th 2015
Octoblur: If the quality doesn't scare you the quantity will.

Burn, Witch, Burn should have satisfied my mid-century witchcraft-themed potboiler fetish, but it starts out great and then slowly peters out over the final hour, culminating in a ridiculous finale that earns not only its otherwise non-sequitur alternate title, Night of the Eagle, but lots of eye-rolling as well.

Peter Wyngarde stars as rising sociology professor Norman Taylor, whose scholarly skepticism about the supernatural receives a shock when he discovers that his wife Tansy (Janet Blair) has been dabbling in witchcraft for two years. After uncovering a trove of charms, artifacts and ingredients scattered throughout the house — it's almost as if he has never opened a drawer prior — he orders her to destroy it all, which she fears will remove the protections and blessings that have fortified his career and their blissful marriage. You can take a wild guess about who is right in this family quarrel.

Based on the Fritz Leiber novel Conjure Wife — which has been adapted three times for the screen — Burn, Witch, Burn takes that promising first act, with its onset paranoia and the source material's potent-sounding wide-scale social commentary, and mushes it all up into a globby, small, tasteless paste of wayward and nonsensical tropes that do nothing to expound on the initial points of interest. the third act starts with Norman venturing off into a pointless, protracted journey of no consequence, and the big finale ups the irrelevance ante with a ludicrous turn that comes out of nowhere and ends up from whence it came.

The best part of Burn, Witch, Burn is the great, ominous voiceover introduction by Paul Frees, which was added for its U.S. release to warn viewers of the sinister incantations within the film. Burn, Witch, Burn initially received an X-rating in the U.K., but it's since been downgraded to 12A, which even seems a little harsh. Director Sidney Hayers and cinematographer Reginald Wyer do a nice job with the imagery, although, like The City of the Dead, the visual cues taken from Psycho are a little too obvious. the screenplay was written by Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and George Baxt, which is strong lineup that doesn't gel.

Great lesser-known horror movies

Fun, weird & dark corners worth exploring.
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed (1977)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Guest (2014)

The Guest (2014)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

Housebound (2014)

Housebound (2014)

The Johnsons (1992)

The Johnsons (1992)

Kill List (2011)

Kill List (2011)

Little Otik (2001)

Little Otik (2001)

Motel Hell (1980)

Motel Hell (1980)

Orphan (2009)

Orphan (2009)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Starry Eyes (2014)

Starry Eyes (2014)

The Stepfather (1987)

The Stepfather (1987)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

Dorrk's Top 20 horror movies

The boring list of horror essentials. If you haven't seen these yet, what are you doing?
The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist (1973)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1980)

Jaws (1975)

Jaws (1975)

The Thing (1982)

The Thing (1982)

The Fly (1986)

The Fly (1986)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist (1982)

Alien (1979)

Alien (1979)

The Omen (1976)

The Omen (1976)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978)

Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu (1922)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein (1931)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion (1965)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Trailer for Burn, Witch, Burn (1962)

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A.K.A.

  • Night Of The Eagle

More Info:

Stay tuned here and on twitter @Popgap to see what I choose to inflict upon myself this Octoblur!

Links

Here are my Letterboxd lists for 2014 & 2013:
https://letterboxd.com/dorrk/list/octoblur-2014/
https://letterboxd.com/dorrk/list/octoblur-2013/

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