As all cinemaniacs know, not every bad movie is created equal. Some steal time from viewers and offer nothing in return. Others, such as Mark of the Witch, present a more equitable bargain. Those willing to give this terrible movie 84 minutes of attention are rewarded with entertainingly cheesy performances, endless kitschy ’70s texture, and hilariously stupid storytelling. Mark of the Witch is that special kind of bad movie made by people who surely thought they were making a good movie. (Note that director Tom Moore gave up directing after this debut effort and embarked on a respectable career as a TV producer—he knew when to declare defeat.) Mark of the Witch opens in the 1600s, when a witch curses her accusers before getting hanged for heresy. Three centuries later, one of her tormentors’ descendants is a college professor who unwisely leads his students in a séance. The witch’s spirit enters the body of girl-next-door coed Jill (Anitra Walsh), who then—well, it’s hard to say exactly what she does. Instead of wreaking havoc, the witch politely asks for instructions about how to navigate the modern world, leading to a demonstration of how a coffee percolator works. At some point, Jill has a supernatural freakout while the witch inside her summons Satan, who apparently needs to see Jill’s breasts to know the witch is serious. Eventually, the teacher and Jill’s boyfriend perform what can only be described a s disco exorcism, complete with flashing lights and swirling camera moves. It’s all quite goofy, and for some reason the picture is mostly shot in the bright, flat lighting style of a TV sitcom. Yet there’s a certain sincerity here, as demonstrated by this unusual text in the opening credits: “Title rune written by Anitra Walsh.” From start to finish, Mark of the Witch is endearingly ridiculous.
Mark of the Witch: LAME