WITCH­CRAFT Chaney old score mas­sacre

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re­leased 26 septem­ber 1964 | 12 | dVd Direc­tor don sharp Cast lon Chaney Jr, Jack Hed­ley, Jill dixon, Vi­ola Keats

For fans of vin­tage hor­ror, this unimag­i­na­tively-ti­tled ef­fort has nu­mer­ous points of in­ter­est. The cast in­cludes orig­i­nal Wolf­man Lon Chaney Jr. The plot re­calls Mario Bava clas­sic Mask Of Satan. And direc­tor Don Sharp also helmed films like Psychomania. Sadly, it’s a pretty tepid af­fair.

The Lanier and Whit­lock fam­i­lies have been en­e­mies for 300 years, since the Laniers dobbed in Vanessa Whit­lock as a witch. Now the feud comes to the boil as re­de­vel­op­ment sees her grave bull­dozed, re­leas­ing her to wreak revenge.

The cin­e­matog­ra­phy’s at­trac­tive, and the mute, un­blink­ing Vanessa is a men­ac­ing pres­ence. Her MO doesn’t ex­actly scream 17th cen­tury, though; twice she tries to dis­patch Laniers by be­witch­ing them into driv­ing their cars into a rub­bish tip. An across-the-di­vide love af­fair sub­plot is drea­rily drippy. And the script seems un­cer­tain whether the fo­cus is its mys­te­ri­ously res­ur­rected witch or a Whit­lock fam­ily coven; some­what be­wil­der­ingly, the two have prac­ti­cally noth­ing to do with one an­other.

Ex­tras In­ter­views with the com­poser and the con­ti­nu­ity per­son; trailer; an episode of Chaney-fronted an­thol­ogy show 13 De­mon Street. Ian Ber­ri­man

Don Sharp re­mem­bered Chaney Jr as a very lonely man, with a drink prob­lem. “Af­ter lunch it was very dif­fi­cult…”

“Let me out of this green­house!”

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