Thursday, December 1, 2016

Blood Orgy of the She Devils

Blood Orgy of the She-Devils (1972)

A couple of college students (Tom Pace, Leslie McRae), one of whom is actually a forty year old guy, start hanging out with a witch (Lila Zaborin) who performs seemingly harmless seances and age regressions and communicates with demons. Concerned, they enlist the help of one of their professors (Victor Izay) with an interest in the paranormal to ... I dunno, figure out if she's a real witch I guess? Meanwhile, she makes extra money by selling her witchly powers to politicians as a long distance assassin.

Which actually sounds like a pretty cool idea for a movie, right? And as far as cinematic witches go, the one in this movie was pretty legit. Like, she was casting some hardcore spells rather than dancing around at the solstice and whatnot, so that was neat.

There were some educational segments randomly thrust into the middle of the movie about the history of witchcraft detailing some of the atrocities committed against women accused of practicing black magic, including stoning and burning at the stake. That was kind of interesting and would have made for a halfway decent movie on its own, although I have no idea what the point of was in this context given that the main witch in the movie was straight up worshiping Satan and killing people for funsies. Like, you know, they killed a lot of innocent people in really horrible ways which was unacceptable, but I guess in this case it's the right thing to do coz this woman is an actual witch who will curse your tits off?

Really, this movie felt like it was assembled from three different movies, each of which might have been decent in its own right, but haphazardly slapped together ended up being a fucking mess.

It lacked any kind of internal logic. For example, there's this part where the witch gets shot and killed and then turns into a cat and fucks around for a bit, and then turns back into a people and goes back about her business cursing the tits off the dude that shot her. What the fuck was that? Why go to all that trouble? WITCHCRAFT, that's why. Satan is a strange bedfellow.

The political assassination subplot felt like it was written by somebody who had no earthly idea why a person would hire a hitman. Not only is there no real explanation for what the target was doing that warranted assassination (the only condemning line is "it is of the utmost urgency that these matters we face be brought to the attention of the President of the United States". I shit you not, that is what got this guy killed), but buddy (Ray Myles) goes out of his way to hire a witch even though he doesn't believe in witchcraft, instead of hiring a hitman with a gun like a normal person. Then after the witch demonstrates that she can, in fact, use black magic to kill people, he just decides to not pay her and tries to have her killed. By a hitman. With a gun. Brav-fucking-o, bud. Furthermore, while this idea, if properly handled , could have been padded out into a whole movie, they chose instead to just wrap it up after half an hour because this movie is sloppy and incompetent.

The other plotline involving the professor of bullshit 70s mysticism trying to either expose the witch as a fraud or stop her from doing witch stuff has the opposite problem. Him and the "kids" fuck around flapping their gums about psychic phenomena for the whole movie until the last fifteen minutes when his heretofore unmentioned professor friends show up and start shooting lightning out of their hands or whatever the fuck was happening in that scene. And yes, I know that sounds cool as hell. It's not.

On a different topic, Lila Zaborin's performance as the witch started out as sort of fun and campy what with her, uh, theatrical overenunciation of every single word, but got more and more grating to the point where I was worried I was going to die of old age before she finished a sentence.

There's a scene midway through the movie where she's channeling her Native American spirit guide which is not only annoying but also embarrassingly racist. Now granted, this movie was made in the seventies when ancient Indian burial grounds and black guys dying first were legitimate horror tropes but this scene was extra cringey and tasteless.

Even the way the movie was shot was weird and arbitrary, like an Ed Wood movie. There's all these shots of people sitting in a room not doing anything, or pouring drinks, or starting their cars that added absolutely nothing.

The final kick in the nuts that this movie delivers is that there is no orgy (although there are a couple scenes of scantily clad babes dancing around to funky music, highlight of the whole movie right there), and very little blood, giving it the feeling of a Herschel Gordon Lewis movie with all the good stuff taken out. The whole movie is available for your viewing pleasure on youtube, although the only thing that it's good for is telling your dowdy conservative great-aunt "I watched Blood Orgy of the She-Devils last night on the interweb", and you could do that without watching the movie.

-6/10 Thumbs Up

Written and Directed by: Ted V. Mikels.  Starring: Lila Zaborin, Victor Izay, William Bagdad, Tom Pace, Leslie McRae, Ray Myles.