Witchcraft (1988)


Directed by: Rob Spera

Written by: Jody Savin


Anat Topol .... Grace Churchill
Gary Sloan .... John Stocton
Mary Shelley .... Elizabeth Stocton
Deborah Scott .... Linda
Lee Kissman .... Ellsworth
Ross Newton .... Priest

Release Date: Direct-to-Video: November, 1988 (UK)








A mother named Grace Churchill (Ana Topol), her husband John Stocton (Gary Sloan) and her newborn child moves into an in-law's dark mansion by the name of Elizabeth Stocton (Gary Sloan) as she starts to feel sick after drinking her tea and is tormented by her nightmares that both John and Elizabeth are witches that have lived for centuries and have plans for the newborn.


We spot many different takes with the lead character Grace Churchill going into labour as well as fast shots on a setting taking place centuries ago with someone about to be burned at the stake showing close up shots on witches cackling as this seemed to look rather cheesy but could be slightly entertaining if you were in the mood for it. However both footages were a bit too long here and was starting to get annoying.
There's nice takes however later on with Grace being happy with her newborn which made the setting uplifting along with the doctor telling her husband John and friend Linda about the baby being born as well as their happy reactions as this seemed a little too obvious and set out.
Plus we spot many corny shots with Linda trying to sneak in to see the baby acting slick by going through the hospital hallways which was supposed to look humoress but this falls flat big time.
Then there's the mother in law Elizabeth greeting both of them home with the newborn in which this moment was supposed to look creepily mysterious but was too over the top when we watch this moment happening but things do seems to look well set when they get Grace to try and rest and realising that her tea tastes different.
We have a moment when John is entering a room with Elizabeth standing there and lightning is striking with the two of them having an evil grin towards one another which was supposed to hsow some good mysterious horror timing but this even looked way too cheesy by how everything was set out here.
However there's a nice nightmare sequence with good dark shots on Grace spotting two hooded figures doing a cult ceremony filled with candles and spotting them doing something gruesome looking as well as good shots on both Elizabeth and John turning around grinning at her as well as a good shot on blood oozing out of Elizabeth's mouth which was one of the most memorable scene's used in this clunker.
We then spot more trashy moments like Grace talking to the priest on the phone on him blessing her child in which we spot a dark room with this priest and having his head turned which was supposed to draw you in but it doesn't as things here looked way too corny to be taken seriously here.
There's some brief pointless shots on some edlerly people at the blessing ceremony about to happen making comments or suggestive perverted moments which looked so corny that it wasn't funny as it was intended to be. This looked way too stupid.
There's also a situation with the priest coming in and there's a lame special effects hallucination moment when he spots the baby that there's flames and demonic moments which looked incredibly phony and him not feeling good at all as the writers tried to borrow a bit from a scene in the Amityville Horror but used it in a different fashion yet this moment was a total ripoff as it wasn't as dark like it was intended to be. Another bad pointer here. However later on we do spot some shocking results with this priest later on due to what happens to his skin which looked effective in a z-grade way.
There's a good moment when Grace comes down stairs and spots the priest hanging from her window which pretty much looked effective with how this was shot but the shocking moments revolving Grace didn't.
Also another spot is when everyone is eating roast beef during dinner time which was overly long as we hear knifes really cutting into stuff and I was thinking to myself "Okay let's get to the point here!" it does get to what we might expect something shocking but it took a while that's for sure with too many different camera takes on the three of them acting silent barely saying a word and close up shots on their utensils. Ho hum.
There's a situation with John talking to Grace during a disagreement and him trying to act romantic and caring as this moment was supposed to draw you in looking good, dramatic and serious but yet this looked way too planned out and cheesy regardless.
However we do spot a nice sequence with Grace wandering through her house at night as well as going up in a creepy looking attic and finding some stuff up there as it left a nice low budget horror effect to it all.
Then there's the showdown that involves both John and Elizabeth revealing who they are doing a ceremony with good gross out blood and other stuff but their costumes looked too kiddie like when we closely reveal on what they're waring this time for trick or treaters. Some interesting struggles as there was supposed to be shocking horror violence yet some of this lacked like the rest of the story here.
Bottom line is that the story as well as the quality of this flick looked like one of those daytime soap opera's blended with horror as it looks that bad and rather boring for the most part. It's also overly long and has many long scene's that drags big time as you wonder when things will come to an end here. Followed by 11 sequels which are worst than this and not worth mentioning but showing the baby full grown and ghaving to deal with the fact that he's the son of Satan. Sound familiar to a movie we all know???

The acting is pretty bad here but lead actress Anat Topol (Grace Churchill) seemed to get into her role in a fair... I mean fair fashion as she seemed to do okay while acting in labour as well as acting believeably happy holding her newborn. Also does well while acting drugged or shocked but yet overly does it when she screams in terror and acting mellodramatic while behaving like this. Also was too over the top and silly while calling someone on the phone to have her baby blessed as I wondered why she acted so terrible while performing like this. She seemed to do okay while getting in a conversation with someone.
Gary Sloan
(John Stocton) had the right looks to portray the deceiving ideal husband and had a nice calmness to his personality but yet his acting is plain flat and wooden and can't really get into character at all. He was just very bland when you watch him deliver his lines as well as having aggressions which he was also low on energy too. No gold star for this guy.
Mary Shelley
(Elizabeth Stocton) was too over the top with her mysterious and wicked type attitude. She does show some good mysterious expressions though which shows off nicely onto the screen here. At times she's okay with what she does but seems to try way too hard in her performance so it is a bit much here. She seemed to show some okay energy with her cackling and got into her true wicked mode when she is revealed.
Deborah Scott (Linda) was the best out of the whole cast here in which she adds alot of great spunk and enthusiasm into her role along with a perfect bubbliness. Knew on how to laugh heartily as well as showing a nice decent attitude too. Plus does a good job expressing her concerns while needing to be this way too. She had a nice sharp personality to everything and made her role believeably likeable too.
Lee Kissman (Ellsworth) seemed to know his craft as the emotionless and expressionless butler in the flick acting perfectly silent within what he does here. Comes across as perfectly creepy and has a great masculine presence which shows off perfectly for a twisted horror flick such as this one. Does a nice job with his forceful blocking too.
Ross Newton (Priest) was supposed to come across as mysterious during the first bit of his performance but yet he doesn't cut it and seems very phony while doing all of this. Also when he start to feel ill he seems to show those disturbed expressions but while acting this out was another story and a bit over the top as well. Sorry he's another one who doesn't cut out by being a character actor.

A bloodied objects is used in a nightmare sequence.
Headless body is reveled on a bed and bloodied all over.
Head is chopped off.
Body is impaled on a sharp object.
An object is driven through someone's mouth.

The music sounded very Z-grade quality with lots of cheesy synthesizer music having some icy tingling sounds and some flowing sounds too which sounded pretty lame to listen to as we've heard these cheap sound effects beforehand. There's at time good low sounds for the terrifying moments. Also we hear some pleasant piano playing after a baby is born or some good strong piano music for when the closing credits starts to occur as this was well done. All of this was put together by Randy Miller.

Grace Churchill: William!