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It's not like we all didn't know what to expect when picking up this Uncensored Blu-ray of a 1995 movie, directed by Jim Wynorski and produced by Fred Olen Ray (not to be confused with the 1982 sword-and-sorcery epic). Or maybe we didn't know, if we don't recognize those names. What we didn't expect, which we'll try to explain in a moment, is a movie with a thoroughly engaging plot, that actually kept us alert until the very end. Wonders never cease.
Sorceress (AKA Temptress) features four gorgeous women, including the truly formidable Julie Strain, in a sexual romp featuring murder, betrayal, sex, topless women, and more. For the first 20 minutes or so we're concerned we might be in the grip of one of those mid-early-90s sex romps with a minimal plot stringing together endless scenes of large-breasted women engaging in lugubrious softcore sexual escapades, the likes of which were becoming increasingly unnecessary as the Internet became a perpetual orgy of perversity. In truth, even if I'd been ten years younger when these movies ruled the VHS rental shelf, I still would have found such slo-mo grapplings unengaging. So much silicone! Scenarios that make Penthouse Videos look imaginative and incendiary! Yes, when I used to review such movies 15 years ago I found it quite easy to fast forward through the sex scenes. Which left nothing to watch. Not so with Sorceress.
Wynorski and writer Mark Thomas McGee pull it all together. Larry Barnes (Larry Poindexter) is up for a partnership at his law firm, presided over, thankfully, by the King Of Cartoons himself, the late, great William Marshall (AKA Blackula). Standing in Larry's way is his best friend and main competition for the partnership, Howard Reynolds (Edward Albert). As the movie opens we find Larry's wife Erica (Strain) doing everything she can to guarantee her man the job - erotically rubbing oil all over her sweet nude body for ten straight minutes. It's witchcraft, you see, and it works! Barnes quickly discovers Erica's malfeasance, doing only what a good husband would do - accidentally tossing his wife off a balcony and killing her. Things only get more mysterious and disorienting from this point on.
There may be a 'lowered expectations' dynamic influencing this review, but Wynorski and McGee absolutely make the most of the twists in the script, while pulling above average performances from everyone. Linda Blair is of course a standout, relaxed and natural in her brief role. She is also most definitely included in the rundown of gorgeous women in this movie, even if she never dons the same leather lingerie our other hotties wear. Nevertheless, each time she appears onscreen she elevates the movie.
So, we're pretty happy that Sorceress keeps our minds locked in, but we shouldn't joke about the real purpose of this movie, which, however late to the game and mild in presentation, is to get our motors running. As Erika lasciviously says in a fantasy sequence, "you can do anything you want to in a dream!" The dream presented here is the opportunity to watch a certain type of hot chick lick the area near another hot chick's landing strip. It's like a superhero team-up concept; the viewer salivates in anticipation of potential "battles". By the time the crew engages in a little house-painting party during which the girls wear Daisy Dukes, expectations are at an all time high.
Does Sorceress deliver the greasy goods, especially considering its totally obviated position in today's world of Internet porn? With several gorgeous 'Women Of The '90s' (including hottie emeritus Linda Blair) a plot that keeps you guessing, and performances you can believe in, we have to call Sorceress a total success. It is, of course, a barely softcore, low budget skin flick with supernatural overtones, made for the direct-to-video market of the mid-'90s, just so you'll understand where we and it are coming from. (For the record, 15 years ago such movies routinely landed at the bottom of my particular ratings heap, and I actually love this type of movie.) Sorceress, with Julie Strain, Linda Blair, and other hot hotties, wrestles good performances, a twisted plot, and hot hotties into a delightfully slick, oily pile of goodness. Recommended (for sleazebags like yours truly.)
This all-new 2K transfer of the 'Original Never-Before-Seen Uncut, Uncensored Version' looks pretty great in its 1.78:1 ratio. (Uncut and Uncensored means a few extra minutes of nudity and sexing that are mild compared to everything anyone who seeks out such entertainments has already encountered at this stage in the game.) Mild grain and almost unnoticeable print damage appear, but have the effect of just making Sorceress seem more like a 'real movie'. Details are fairly sharp, colors rich and saturated, with natural flesh tones, and motion blur or other compression artifacts are nothing to worry about for a middle-of-the-road Blu-ray. A nice job from Synapse.
DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo Master Audio in English is totally up to its modest task; delivering dialog and 'boom-chicka-wow-wow' music clearly. It does just that, and the music isn't that cliched anyway. Dialog is clean, clear and discernable, sounding as good as its modest origins. Stereo separation is adequate but nothing too exciting.
Two Commentary Tracks, plus English SDH Subtitles are your extras. Commentary Track number one consists of director Wynorski doing the solo thing while being entertaining, funny, self-deprecating, and just a good all-around guy. Track two seems to be an impromptu track with Wynorski and a conscripted Tom Savini, found at a horror convention. Whatever the degree of pre-prep involved, Savini clearly has no dog in this fight, he's just there sipping a gin and tonic and cracking wise with Wynorski. For better or worse, Savini keeps wresting the reins from Wynorski, and what could be an amazingly funny mess isn't all that funny, but worth at least a partial listen.
With several gorgeous 'Women Of The '90s' (including hottie emeritus Linda Blair) a plot that keeps you guessing, and performances you can believe in, we have to call Sorceress a total success. It is, of course, a barely softcore, low budget skin flick with supernatural overtones, made for the direct-to-video market of the mid-'90s, just so you'll understand where we and it are coming from. Sorceress, with Julie Strain, Linda Blair, and other hot hotties, wrestles good performances, a twisted supernatural plot, and hot hotties into a delightfully slick, oily pile of goodness. Recommended (for sleazebags like yours truly.)