July 25th, 2004


Burn, Witch, Burn

Burn, Witch, Burn
[1962 c.e., Starring Janet Blair, Peter Wynegarde, Margaret Johnston]

A most intriguing film about a witch who uses her talents and skills to help further the career of her ungracious husband, a Cultural Anthropology Professor teaching at a prestigious University - a handsome gentleman who is desired by both the student body and the staff, thus complicating matters in his personal life.

It all starts when he discovers his wife's Witchcraft paraphernalia, and forthwith disrespectfully and sacrilegiously strewns it all out on the living room table for her to find upon her arrival - she is of course taken aback by this incredibly crude gesture, and surprisingly agrees to destroy it in the fireplace against her better judgment, catering to his unperceptive pretensions. So everything goes up in flames in fizzles and sparks - she even removes a locket from around her neck containing his photo and protective herbs which he so stupidly tosses into the burning embers - and she, driven by a love profound, lunges to retrieve it, under his ignorant gaze.

Now, at the very least, he could have been appreciative of her considerations, as it is truly the thought that counts here - personally, I found his actions to be incredibly insensitive and even antagonistic and unforgivable.

He, on the other hand {or should I say, cerebral hemisphere}, solely acquiesces to analytical observation, not able to comprehend what is not seen. Of course, there are merits to both mentalities, and it is wisest to seek the Third Side, the balanced comprehension. As t Magic, the concept of The Intellectual Decompression Chamber explains it all {see The Satanic Bible}.

Immediately after the immolation of her ritualistic articles, everything seems to go wrong. He is accused of coalescing with a female student {despite the fact that she is of legal age} who was infatuated with him anyway, thereby inciting the anger born of obvious jealousy, resentment, and frustration from her boyfriend who also accuses the Professor of thwarting his grades, and thereby holds him at gunpoint until quite literally slapped into submission; his wife becomes suicidal, undertaking a veritable death march for herself to the beach; on the way there, he figures out her intentions and races beside the bus she rides, and the cursed misfortunes continue- he is run off the road by a big black truck which seemingly materializes. He survives after plunging down an embankment, eventually making his way to the beach where upon inspecting some notes kept in an occult book entitled "The Rites and Practices in Black Magic", and goes forth in search of her upon the jagged cliffs until he finally reaches a lovely graveyard - a really peaceful and meditative place; and, taking indications from the grimoire, himself performs a makeshift ritual with the emotional intensity for the love of his wife, lighting some candles and placing her photo within the configuration along with some graveyard dirt. Midnight strikes, and finally tearfully knocks it all aside in exasperation. Then, to his joyful surprise, she appears at the crypt door zombified, and proceeds to take her to a Doctor-friend, where she is diagnosed as suffering from shock until she breaks out of her catatonic trance and demands to be taken home.

While she lays resting therein, she awakens and attacks him with a knife, lurching about with a very discernable and recognizable limp; so he decides to take a trip back to his office discovering one of his female colleagues with the very same limp, lurking about in search of her own ritualistic implements - a photo of the couple. He emerges from the shadows confronting her about it, which she at first denies any association of nefarious intent. but eventually yields to his interrogation, thus confessing to her spell craft against he and his wife; even providing a little demonstration by igniting some parlor cards which represent his home. He rushes home to find the house ablaze, yet Tanzi is safe, rescued by firemen. On his way out, however, he experiences a strong visualization-projection from the Witch, in which he hallucinates a giant hawk come alive from stone to pursue him {even though the statue was an eagle}. She blasts an eerie Theremin recording mixed into one of his anti-witchcraft lectures {nice touch!}, propitiating a hypnotic effect, causing an atmosphere conducive to Sorceric manifestation. Finally, the demoralization occurs where the "bad witch" is 'defeated' - in this tale, in quite a poetic fashion.

As an aside, I found the mansion to be quite familiar - then I recalled - it is either the same, or is one very similar to that depicted on the cover of King Diamond's "Abigail II: The Revenge" musickal novel.

I did notice a small parallel in subsequent cultural cinema. This film being released in 1962 c.e., precluded Bewitched - and one may notice the wife-witch / husband-mortal pairing {I maintain that Witches should only seriously life mate with Warlocks, and vice-versa, while others are for fun exclusively}. In either case, the question arises: "Why can't these spouses simply allow their mates to pursue their personal interests? Especially with the constructive attempt to make themselves successful?" In these cases, it is because they feel threatened and insecure, and thereby attach the diabolical label, vilifying an inherent predisposition and passion - in short, they feel inadequate. But this is only a mere fictional microcosm of what the herd feels when confronted with a Witch or Warlock, typically reacting in various passive-aggressive behavior, preferring to retain their ignorance. So be it. As it is written in The Satanic Bible, "Evil they name us, evil we are - why not take advantage of it and live!" ASLV.

Rating: 4/5.

"Do YOU believe?"