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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Virgin Witch
Virgin Witch
Redemption Films // Unrated // July 29, 2008
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted August 2, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Christine (Ann Michelle from Pete Walker's House Of Whipcord) and Betty (Vicki Michelle who played Yvette in the BBC's Allo Allo) are two sultry sisters who have just left home and made their way to the swinging London of the early 1970s. They hitch a ride into town with Johnny (Keith Buckley of Dr. Phibes Rises Again), a hip young man who puts the girls up at his pad in the city. Soon, the two girls figure they should find work and so off they go to look for jobs. Christine winds up taking a job at a modeling agency run by Sybil Waite (Patricia Haines who was married to Michael Caine and who shows up in The Night Caller) who is only too happy to bring her into her fold, in fact, she gives her a job that very weekend.

Christine brings Betty along as her chaperone and off the three ladies go into the country where they're going to do a photo spread at an old home called Wytchwold owned by Dr. Gerald Amberly (Neil Hallett of Can You Keep It Up For A Week?) who just so happens to be a leading expert on witchcraft and a high priest himself. The girls soon find this out for themselves and, after Christine makes out with Peter (James Chase) the photographer, they initiate her into their coven by way of an arcane and very sexual ceremony wherein she's deflowered by the good doctor on an alter in front of a group of naked, writhing occultists. What they don't realize is that Christine is a natural at this sort of thing and she's got powers that are far beyond those that a new recruit should have. She's not happy when she finds out that Sybil has had unclean intentions for her all along, and we all know that Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned.

While it's easy enough to figure out where this one is heading very early on in the proceedings (pretty much from the time that Sybil has Christine disrobe for her in her office!) the film is still a fun ride thanks to a few interesting characters and a copious amount of nudity courtesy of the real life Michelle sisters. Director Ray Austin, who has done most of his work in television on such shows as The Saint, Space: 1999and Magnum P.I. uses every opportunity that Klaus Vogel's story allows to get the girls disrobed and the movie is all the better for it - they're both particularly easy on the eyes.

There is a bit more to the movie than simply fine, shapely T&A, however. Not much more, but a little bit at least. The scenes where the coven gathers outside for their ritualistic ceremonies have some nice, eerie atmosphere and the cinematography makes very good use of the English countryside and the ornate and stately manor that much of the movie takes place in. The finale of the film is handled well, with an appropriate if predictable twist thrown in for fun. This isn't a great movie by any stretch but it's competently made, full of nice scenery, and it's got some nice ambience - that makes it worth a look.

The Video:

Redemption presents the film in its original 1.85.1 widescreen aspect ratio enhanced for anamorphic sets and for the most part things look pretty good on this DVD despite the fact that it is interlaced. Image/Redemption released this film on DVD back in 2006 and the transfer on this new release doesn't look much different at all from that DVD. The source material shows its limitations in that there's some softness to certain scenes and the colors are a little less bright than one might hope for but for the most part we're left with a pretty sharp very clean image. Color reproduction looks nice if a little bit subdued in a couple of scenes while skin tones, which are obviously important in a film where everyone is naked, look nice and lifelike. While hardly reference quality, the image here is decent enough although some of the scenes with a lot of white in them look a bit washed out at times.

The Audio:

The English language Dolby Digital Mono track doesn't fare as well as the video does, unfortunately. There are a few too many scenes where the dialogue is low in the mix or sounds too muffled which will result in having to turn the volume up to compensate for those scenes (and in turn, adjust the volume once again when the levels balance back out). Other than that, there isn't much to complain about in terms of hiss or distortion, but the fluctuations do make some of the dialogue a bit tough to follow in spots.

The Extras:

While this is hardly a super stacked special edition, Redemption has seen fit to include the film's original theatrical trailer (presented in anamorphic widescreen, interlaced, 1:50) and a still gallery of nudity-laden promotional photos that you can click through using your remote if you so choose. A second brief still gallery of original one-sheet, pressbook and video release artwork is also included while a contract info screen and trailers for the Redemption releases of Killer's Moon and Nature Morte round things out. Menus and chapter stops for the feature are also included.

Overall:

A moderately amusing and skin filled tale of the occult, Virgin Witch is far from a masterpiece but is an entertaining, if predictable, little slice of British sleaze that doesn't sound so hot but looks quite nice on this DVD. The film should certainly appeal to those who like their horror a little on the sexy side or fans with an affinity for the seedier side of UK horror. Recommended for the already initiated, a solid rental for the curious.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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