Countdown to Halloween: The Night of the Sorcerers (1974)
WHY I'VE NEVER SEEN IT
I don’t believe I’d ever heard of it, and may never have heard of it except that…
WHY I BOUGHT IT
…it was on the same Blu-ray as The Loreley’s Grasp. (Come back on Friday to read about that.)
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT
Night of the Sorcerers reminds me of a poor man’s Tombs of the Blind Dead. Since both were written and directed by Amando de Ossorio, it’s not hard to imagine why they’re so similar. In Tombs of the Blind Dead, we have medieval knights executed for performing black magic, then rising as modern-day zombie/vampires. In Night of the Sorcerers, we have 1910 tribesmen shot for performing voodoo, then rising as modern-day zombie/vampires. What the two movies do not have in common is that I like Tombs of the Blind Dead much better.
Both movies also have romantic entanglement subplots for the humans who unintentionally release the monsters. The ones in Night of the Sorcerers, though, are not as convincing. In fact, they’re downright annoying. Tunika (Kali Hansa) is a strikingly beautiful woman, and she loves showcasing her naked body, but the character is a little full of herself to believe every other woman is jealous of her relationship with Prof. Rod Carter (Simon Andreu). She tries to stir up some drama rather than it evolving naturally from the relationships.
Night of the Sorcerers is also just not as quick-moving or entertaining. For example, the victims of the “sorcerers” become creatures that, by day, lurk in the woods with cheap-looking puppet heads and, by night, run through the woods in slow motion. There’s perhaps good news about this, if it’s your kind of thing: the women running through the woods in slow motion are scantily clad in leopard skins. However, the bad news is that watching even scantily clad women running through the woods in slow motion can be incredibly tedious. The way these scenes are filmed, it seems their potential victims could just run away from them with normal speed.
Ultimately, if Tombs of the Blind Dead is a healthy feast of Euro horror that leaves you full, Night of the Sorcerers is junk food that leaves you empty. Now, the thing about junk food, and this movie, is that it can be delicious at times. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying it where you can. You just probably wouldn’t want to have it/watch it all the time. Here, the delicious parts are the voodoo rituals of the risen sorcerers. They’re well-shot and gory, with fun special effects. These scenes are not only the most entertaining, they’re the most satisfying… because they eliminate those annoying characters, one by one.
Written by Amando de Ossorio Directed by Amando de Ossorio Starring Simon Andreu, Kali Hansa, Maria Kosty, Loretta Tovar Released December 16, 1974 (Spain) RT 85 min. Home Video Scream Factory (Blu-ray)
ABOUT THE COUNTDOWN
We all have them... stacks of movies we've purchased, but never watched; or, movies on the DVR, filling them to capacity. This year for the annual Countdown to Halloween, I'm going to make a dent in my "stack," watching one movie a day for the month of October that I've never seen, then writing about it.