Witch's Sabbath

Dir: Jeff Leroy
Star: Christine Cowden, Eli James, Syn DeVil, Eric Coffin

I believe this is Brain Damage Films' first venture into actual production; it certainly takes the gore, nudity, and ludicrous plots, familiar from the movies they distribute, and jacks them up to 11. This centers on four witches, under the leadership of Auriana (DeVil). Like typical Wiccans - well, those in low-budget horror, anyway - in order to remain immortal, they must sacrifice 666 souls to their master; specifically, removing the victim's head with a glove that resembles the Witchblade. Extending this sensitive portrayal of alternative religion, they also moonlight as dancers at the 'Sin and Skin' stripclub, and possess wardrobes made largely from string. By the time we hit All Hallow's Eve, they're up to 662, and the final four are invited round for dinner, drinks and dismemberment. They consist of one couple (Cowden + James), his idiotic friend (Coffin) and a blind-date brought along for him to even things up.

At its best, the film demonstrates an awareness of its own limitations, and plays off them beautifully, for example, a lovely cameo by Ron Jeremy as travelling bible salesman Craven Moorehead. He comes to a bad end, naturally; that might count as a spoiler, if the opening credits didn't include his head bouncing across the floor. The end, meanwhile, features a Cthulhu-esque monster - "esque" since, you'd need to push the works of Lovecraft through Babelfish a couple of times, then hand that to a remedial 8th-grade papier-mache class for construction. We particularly loved the POV tentacle-cam shot. On the downside, much of the dialogue sucks, and there are embarrassing gaffes, such as a scene supposed to occur around nine at night, which was obviously shot in broad daylight. Plus, the exterior of the 'Sin and Skin' is no more than a badly painted sign hanging outside someone's garage. C'mon, guys: there's cheap, and then there's cheap...

At one point, a victim says, "Look at those veins. That's the worst boob-job I've ever seen." However, for more on the topic of breasts, here's our expert on the subject, Chris (possessing as she does, two of her own). "Witch's Sabbath? Titties' Sabbath, more like. I found the breasts in this film very offensive. Not because I'm a woman, or the wife of the reviewer: I admire a good rack better than the next man. But if you're gonna show boobies constantly - and play with them, as these girls enthusiastically did - then make sure they are watchable, at the very least. If bosoms could act, these'd be in the micro-budget indie film division's back room, because they were the worst-looking breasts I ever laid eyes on. Being confronted with them every minute or so throughout the entire movie was excruciating. Oh, sorry: did I say that out loud?"

The acting is pretty much what you'd expect: DeVil snarls menacingly; Cowden and James are bland as the heroes, but Coffin gets perhaps the finest line in cinematic history, asking porn star Lisa Sparxxx, "Where y'going? You crazy-ass witch with titties" The best scene is totally demented: an undercover cop gets his arm torn off, gore squirts like the Black Knight scene from Holy Grail over his lingerie-clad assailant, who whacks him repeatedly with the severed limb. Such moments make Sabbath a guilty delight, even if I suspect this may be the kind of film Lance Catania meant when he said, "Every idiot with a DV camera and a gallon of blood is a horror director." But no matter what flaws your film (or your actresses' breasts) may have, the sufficiently enthusiastic use of arterial spray will always win forgiveness in our hearts.

[The DVD is released by Maverick Entertainment on December 6th. For more information, check out Maverick's website.]

November 2005

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