Mark of the Witch (1970)

Spread the weird

RATING– ✮✮✮½

DIRECTOR– Tom Moore

PLOT– A witch (Marie Santel) hanged in the 1600s is accidentally brought back to life at a party. She immediately possesses an innocent, young college student (Anitra Walsh) and turns her into a wild tramp. In order to save the young girl, her college professor (Robert Elston) and her boyfriend (Darryl Wells) try to outsmart the ancient witch.


5 REASONS TO WATCH

  1. pretty lame theme songs
  2. satanic dinner parties
  3. exploding parakeets
  4. spell-casters in miniskirts
  5. demons who led the sexual revolution

REVIEWMark of the Witch sounds like a frightening movie. The plot of a conjured demonic witch possessing a young girl to murder her friends sounds terrifying. Mark of the Witch is neither frightening nor terrifying. It’s not even spooky. I’ll tell you what it is though… it is an episode of The Brady Bunch gone terribly, wonderfully wrong. Everything about this film screams episode of a wacky family sitcom from 1970… except for the Satanic nude rituals where they call forth demons (although it would’ve been a lot of fun to watch Marsha dance around the forest while singing to her dark lord of the underworld). There’s a silly, groovy, bell-bottom-jeans filled party. There are teenagers getting into brainless situations. There are adults teaching the kids life lessons and answering moral questions through virtuous actions. You almost expect to see the housekeeper Alice show up in the next scene fixing breakfast for the kids. Instead, it’s an unholy witch summoned from hell that sexually blackmails men to commit murder. Mark of the Witch… a weird, wild, satanic dance through the groovy, sideburned, feel-good early 1970s… sadly, not produced by Sherwood Schwartz.

FAULTY FACTSMark of the Witch seems to have been inspired by real-life, self-proclaimed “witch” Sybil Leek. Mrs. Leek, a native of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, once described herself in an interview as ”just an ordinary witch from the New Forest in England,” saying her family had been involved in witchcraft since 1134. ”It is a family failing,” she said, ”It has to do with glands and the nervous system.” However, with her family’s long history of witchcraft, Mrs. Leek once explained, she was a Druid, not a mere witch. ”Witches are the working class,” she said. ”The Druids are the priests.”She told an interviewer in 1969 that a renewed interest in witchcraft was inevitable. ”We are entering the Age of Aquarius, and people are searching,” she said. ”They are searching for a religion where they don’t have to live a God-like life, a religion that acknowledges them as human beings.”Mrs. Leek wrote more than 60 books, including ”The Diary of a Witch,” published in 1968, and works on numerology, phrenology, and astrology. Sybil died in 1982 at age 65 in Indialantic, Florida.

Sam looks innocent… but his cardigan hides an “I ♥ Marsha Brady” tattoo.