1972, Horror, 1h 22m0 Reviews 50+ Ratings
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Dec 23, 2009<div style="width:250px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/necromancy-with-now-censored-still-13974767"><img src="http://content9.flixster.com/photo/13/97/47/13974767_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a> </div></div> <B><I>NECROMANCY</I> (1972)</B> WRITTEN BY: Bert I. Gordon and Gail March DIRECTED BY: Bert I. Gordon FEATURING: Orson Welles, Pamela Franklin, Lee Purcell. Michael Ontkean, Harvey Jason, Lisa James, and Sue Bernard GENRE: Occult Tags: shocker, adult <B>PLOT: </B> A young couple are lured to an enigmatic New England town by a mysterious job offer. Prevented from leaving, they try to unravel a riddle as they slowly become subsumed by Satanic evil. Comments: Controversy-driven censorship has ruined this arty and avant-garde, racy, lurid, sensational seventies shocker. <I>Necromancy</I> was the hippie-era, occult version of <I>A Serbian Film</i> when it was released in 1972. Well produced and packed with chills, it has been reduced to a mere shadow of itself. It appears that no copies of the real McCoy have survived except in private collections. The diluted, sanitized, subsequent re-releases under the title, <I>The Witching</I> bear remarkably little similarity to the movie as originally filmed. At age 13, I was fortunate to get to see a private collection, original 35 mm print in a clandestine, pot-smoke-hazed, basement viewing at a licentious neighbor's house. (Yes, it was exactly what it sounds like, but then, I was no angel.) The genuine article is quite good. In fact. it is downright <I>bitchin</I>! <I>Citizen Kane</I> it is not, but for an inexpensive occult film, <I>Necromancy</I> kept me watching, titillated, and thrilled. This creepy movie scared me half to death, and the film's thoughtful, but twisted, wild content generated delicious nightmares and teen sexual fantasies for years to come. The original film sports quite a uniquely memorable, paradoxical twist ending. It's one I have never forgotten. This imaginative denouement not only ties the entire story together, but It is to date the very best cinematic finish that I have ever seen in a horror/occult film. I will never forget this movie, or the incredibly groovy, very sexy, 30 year-old line producer, movie-buff, and pathological statutory rapist neighbor who screened it for me (Love ya Mike! Look me up when you get out! -Yes, that's right. He has a Flixster account.) OK, so here's what this devil flick is about: Demure, gentle Lori (Franklin) is recovering from a miscarriage. Lori's husband Frank (Ontkean) just landed a great professional opportunity. He is lured, with Lori in tow, by his new, mysterious benefactor, Mr. Cato (Welles) to a creepy rural, New England community. (Actually, it was obviously right up the coast in Los Gatos, near where my cousins live, but what the hell.) In the little town of Lilith, there are a lot of wicked things are going on. Frank and Lori don't know about the wickedness yet, but they are about to find out. Yes, Lilith is just your typical, quiet, arid, cheat grass, sage brush, and palm tree lined New England hamlet (coughing) with hex signs on the barns, and an awful lot of free love fornication, BDSM, acid tripping and marijuana puffing going on. Or not enough. Seems the locals are really into a progressive lifestyle rife with that aforementioned free love, grass, acid, and . . wait for it . . .wait for it . . . <B>SATAN WORSHIP!!!!</B> Yes, <B>SATAN WORSHIP!!! </B> Usually, the Devil groveling is combined with curvy, busty, bodacious, secreting, heaving female bodies, (there seem to be a lot of extra women in Lilith) sardonic, sensual, hot scalding group sex, and the aforementioned grass and acid in a weekly candle-lit, Black Mass blow-out. These lil' church socials are presided over by the mysterious Mr. Cato, who is all hung up on resurrecting his dead son (and who is probably doing less fornicating and more marijuana-munchie-driven frequenting of the hors d'oeuvres table judging from his girth.) The rest of the week, it's yuppie business as usual in Mr. Cato's gated, company town where the chief corporate endeavor is the designing of toys (<I>evil</I> toys!) at Mr. Cato's (evil) toy factory, though said factory is conspicuously absent in the film.) All of this is very novel to Frank and Lori. While Lori is recoiling in horror at the fact that everyone who tries to leave Lilith dies an untimely, violent death by burning, Frank is fitting in quite well. A little <I>too</I> well, IF ya know what I mean. Which is to say, he seems to have declared himself a candidate and front runner for the town's Prize Stud Goat competition. Although oddly, there is no such competition. So just to clarify, Frank is busy discharging like a punctured Reddi-wip cannister every hour, on the hour, in various neighbors' spooky red-painted brick, water-bed fitted, black velvet Satan portrait adorned, hookah-lined, Tarot card littered, psychedelic beaver-trap rec-rooms, while Lori is having some rather severe, hysterical "adjustment issues." As in <I>acutely</I> so. Lori has gotten the crazy idea the women in Lilith don't like her. She thinks they are planing to do something diabolical to her so that they can keep Frank all to themselves for stud service. (They are.) But that's only half the picture. Mr. Cato has his own sordid, uncanny agenda, and he needs Lori's smokin' hot body for it! Will Lori solve the enigma of Lilith and escape before it's too late for her? It is imperative that if one is going to watch <I>Necromancy</I>, the original, completely uncut, unedited, uncensored, unhampered, un-f*cked-up version be obtained. (Which is tragically impossible.) Although almost anything goes in the today's mass media, this movie has been straddled across an editor's splicing block and slashed to ribbons worse than an occult ritual murder victim. And it's happened <I>several times</I>, until no one can figure out what' went where, sort of like Ashlee Simpson's post plastic surgery face. Then, as shredded as Charlie Sheen's career, it was re-released and re-edited <I>again</I> many times The ardent censoring was intended to shield sensitive, alternately drug addled and Nixon cheering early 1970's audiences from the sight of straining nude bodies, goat's blood, glistening nip- well you get the idea. (Yes, evidently it was pretty racy in 1972, even for those kinds of viewers.) Unfortunately, the many and various deleted scenes comprise an integral part of the plot, and the re-releases make no sense whatsoever without them. The scenes are not deserving of an X-rating for their sexual content so much as for their <I>context</I> (although I found them eye-popping as a 13 year-old.) Context and timing are everything and this movie had it in spades. These controversial segments are so tame by today's standards as to give this movie a PG-13 rating at best were it to be distributed in it's entirety today. (OK, maybe R.) When <I>Necromancy</I> was originally released, Johnny Carson was prohibited from using the sound effect of a flushing toilet on <I>The Tonight Show</I>, if that puts matters into perspective for ya.) [Though now it seems like that's all TV is anymore.] ) Yes, <I>Necromancy</I> was too shocking for mass consumption and the bastards butchered it until it made less sense than an episode of <I>Jersey Shore</I>. As a consequence, it has received terrible reviews. Beware of the censored version entitled, <I>The Witching</I>. Because they have seen only this cut-to-ribbons release, most people think that <I>Necromancy</I> is a real turkey and they will tell you I am crazy and tasteless for praising it. I vehemently disagree. While it's true that I am crazy and tasteless, the original, uncut <I>Necromancy</I> is bitchin'. <div style="width:250px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com/photos/necromancy-13973758"><img src="http://content8.flixster.com/photo/13/97/37/13973758_ori.jpg" border="0"/></a><div style="text-align:center;font-size:10px;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"></a> </div></div> <div style="width:120px;font-size:10px;text-align:center;"></div><a href="http://www.flixster.com/videos?videoId=11137675"><img src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/4JOlJjflbMk/0.jpg" border="0" /></a><div style="font-size:10px;width:120px;text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.flixster.com"><I>THE WITCHING</I> (<B>NOT</I> Necromancy)</a> - trailer</div>Pamela D Super Reviewer
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