Apart from the late and, frankly, not really great Russ Meyer the only director we can think of these days that does everything is Robert Rodriguez who apart from writing , directing and producing his films usually edits, composes the score, acts as his own cinematographer and on occasion gets involved in the special effects and production design. Well he’s got a competitor now in the jack of all trades stakes and it’s a WOMAN!!! – and before we get flooded with complaints yes we are being ironic. The person in question is Anne Biller who not only writes and directs but also produces edits, mixes her own music, production designs and set decorates as well as supervises the costume design all as a deliberate homage to 1960s psychedelic sexploitation, soap operas and ropey horror films about witchcraft which she subverts with a slyly feminist subtext.
Featuring Samantha Robinson as Elaine, a witch who is fleeing from a relationship which ended extremely badly for her lover, she ends up setting up home in a quiet Californian town which conveniently for her has a coven of witches who work either in tea shops or strip joints and she sets about finding herself a new man and hopefully true love. Unfortunately for her the cops are investigating the death of one of her lovers and top cop Griff (Gian Keys) finds himself falling for her charms too. It’s the coven of withes who hold bizarre medieval fairs, which they use as a cover for their meetings, that lures the cop into marrying her but will the locals get a whiff of their pagan posturing and launch a ‘burn the witch’ lynch mob?
Biller has clearly done her research to make this because no trope of film from the 60’s is left untouched whether it be ropey back projection, to deliberate continuity errors , primary colours everywhere or affected line delivery. We even get star filters that make it look like 70’s era porn movie which is intentional as there’s a fair bit of nudity in this with many of the women with strategically long hair appropriately covering bits although one poor male extra is naked whenever we see him and though it’s hardly the sort of equipment that is seen between the rear legs of a grand national winner.
Biller’s script is a thinly disguised feminist tract about female empowerment and as the Elaine says, ‘I take what I need from men’. But despite all the knowing winks to 60’s psychedelia this is a bit of a one joke story drawn out too thinly to sustain its two hour running time and its amusing quirkiness eventually becomes slightly irritating and towards the end it appears that it’s not really got anywhere else to go.
Here’s the trailer…….