Movies were really trippy during the early 70’s, and few of them are as trippy as this one, produced in 1971. It deals with a witch named Simon (Andrew Prine) who is seen here taking care of everyone who doubts his powers, even falling in love with a young girl, who just so happens to be a powerful man’s daughter. When he tries to make certain hallucinatory drugs illegal, Simon goes after him with his powers, particularly the DA. As you can imagine, things won’t go his way, but in between he gets to curse people and interrupt different covens.
I was expecting this to be a horror movie, since I first heard of it in the book Nightmare USA and the book mostly features independently-produced horror films, but I was wrong. This movie has more in common with Roger Corman’s The Trip than with any other horror film out there. The way the film was shot does feature many hallucinatory effects, particularly the final freakout of the Simon character which is very reminiscent of 2001. Even the use of stock footage, with the floods, looks pretty realistic. The murders and stalk sequences are also very well done, even if they feature a hokey red-balloon effect, but this adds to the weirdness of the situation. What was interesting however, is that the film does portray witchcraft, and the Wiccan religion in particular, with a lot of seriousness and reality, with the exception of the obligatory nude ritual, which is a given in most low-budget exploitation films. Not only do we see a lot of the truthful lingo in the film, but also the rituals are very similar. We also realize that Simon is a devout believer who willingly decides to go against the teachings of his religion: in other words, he knows that he’s doing evil things, and he knows that everything he does will be visited by him two-fold. Even with this, he still decides to defy the laws of the Wiccan religion.
As far as the casting goes, Andrew Prine does a pretty good job. He is able to pull off the speeches and witchcraft mumbo jumbo with a straight face and believable manner, similar to the way Christopher Lee does in The Devil Rides Out. Still, he does sometimes look like Napoleon Dynamite’s brother, and his purple cape can make him hard to take seriously once in a while. The rest of the cast is pretty good, although nothing very memorable other than Prine. Still, this is a very original, psychedelic movie that deserves to have a wider audience, and comes highly recommended.