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John’s Horror Corner: Necromancer (1988), just sleazy B-movie trash.

December 2, 2017

MY CALL:  This movie is pure sleazy garbage.  MORE MOVIES LIKE NecromancerThis movie is awful (like They Bite), so I dare not compare it to others.  However, you might have watched this hoping for a witch movie of sorts (SEE BELOW).

Every now and then I take a shot at some obscure B-movie—some are gems, some are garbage.  I should have known better when I read IMDB’s description: “A schoolgirl is raped by three low-lifes, and is then blackmailed by her attackers to keep her quiet. Desperate for revenge, she makes contact with a necromancer who promptly “takes care” of the boys using her magic powers.”

As if that wasn’t bad enough, this “revenge” comes in the form of an evil demon assuming the victim’s form to seduce her assailants!  It’s pretty trashy and the rape theme receives way too much dialogue.  Making things more than a little uncomfortable, Julie (Elizabeth Kaitan; Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood, Nightwish) is forced to face her assailants on multiple occasions, a constant reminder of the event.  The main antagonist is completely despicable and every time I saw him my stomach churned.  Things get somehow yet more awkward with her sleazy professor (whom she once admired and trusted), who also blackmails and extorts Julie.  You really just feel dirty watching this.

There aren’t really any redeeming qualities to be found here—not even on a bad movie basis.  The acting is obviously terrible, the sets are embarrassing (e.g., the necromancer’s occult den is a curtained garage), and the special effects are totally weak (e.g., glowing eyes).  I giggled unappreciatively at the messy monster claws of Julie’s doppelganger demon of vengeance (basically a succubus).  Subsequent effects found no improvement and our witch’s magic is limited to vanishing, floating objects, and assuming the form of a completely naked Julie.  I really never expected to find a film that made me miss the “quality” of Nightwish (1990).

Julie’s revenge feels spoiled for the audience as she has nightmares of her assailants’ actual fates and then runs to go check on them.  Why the Hell would she worry about them or their well-being?  The writing is way off base!

Honestly, I recommend this to no one.  Even if you like sleazy movies, this one will make you feel dirty.  And if you love deplorably bad B-movies, this one’s tone is just too far off and the effects are as cheap as the writing.  If you expected some sort of witch movie and feel you need to wash your mind of this filth, I’d refer you to any of the suggestions below. Yeesh, I need to go watch something to feel better.

WITCH MOVIES:  Some excellent witch movies that actually feel like witch movies include Warlock (1989), The Witch (2016; podcast discussion) and The Witches of Eastwick (1987).  Beautiful Creatures (2013) and The Woods (2006) may appeal to young adult audiences.  But I would sooner direct you to Hocus Pocus (1993), The Witches (1990) and The Craft (1996).  I’m leaving Harry Potter out of this discussion, by the way. Fantasy sorcery (Willow, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) and wizardry (The Lord of the Rings) is to be considered its own thing entirely.  The campy The Kiss (1988), Spellbinder (1988), Necropolis (1987), Warlock 2: Armageddon (1993) and Cherry Tree (2015) are entertaining but bad.  And speaking of campy, Superstition (1982) and The Haunting of Morella (1990) are allegedly witch movies but don’t feel like it. But even if you want a bad movie, definitely skip Witchcraft (1989) and all sequels.  And some odd Voodoo movies include to Netherworld (1991) and Headhunter (1988).  The dark noir Lord of Illusions (1995) is intriguingly edgy and, while more a “magic movie” than a “witch movie,” it hits a lot of the same dark arcane notes.  And, of course, The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) were awesomely stylized in their own unique ways despite never actually showing us a witch—unlike Blair Witch (2016).  Check out Pumpkinhead (1988) for a great depiction of a witch, though it’s not a “witch movie.” Meanwhile Deadtime Stories (1986) and The Theater Bizarre (2011) features a pretty cool witch short story, and The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) addresses witch trials.  Witches can come in so many flavors, can’t they?  Lords of Salem (2013) and Mother of Tears (2007) deal with witches’ spirits in the form of dark ritual and possession.  Quite the opposite, Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), The Last Witch Hunter (2015; podcast discussion) and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) offer action and effects-driven popcorn fun—Season of the Witch (2011) attempted this, but failed miserably.  But the witch from The Brothers Grimm (2005) was pretty cool.

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