Virgin Witch

This cut-rate release from the English studio Tigon, best known as a producer of second-tier horror (the terrific Witchfinder General and Blood on Satan’s Claw) and sexploitation (Au Pair Girls, which is actually a bit of fun, and the SF-themed Zeta One), has the makings of an enjoyable countryside romp through ritualism and witchcraft, but it suffers from a split personality. Half of the film plays as a surprisingly straightforward nudie picture, with sisters Christine and Betty (Ann and Vicki Michelle, respectively) appearing reliably in various states of partial and utter dishabille. And the other half plays as a somewhat ambitious psychological horror movie about young Christine, the title character, who first submits to and finally dominates a coven of witches holed up in the woods outside London.


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The leering attitude toward sexuality is encapsulated to some degree in the plot summary, which has the head of a modeling agency (played by Patricia Haines) luring Christine out to the secluded estate under false pretenses. That use of lesbianism as a sort of shorthand indicator for nefariousness rankles a bit, and the film’s kettle-drum-and-bongo-driven depiction of Christine’s ritual defloweration, which is lit like Christmas, is naively sensationalistic in a way that reads today as far more crude than, say, the equally lurid sex-with-Satan sequence in Rosemary’s Baby.

But the film has moments of good humor, like the Foley-enhanced arrival of a vaguely threatening delivery man clanking his empty, symbolically freighted milk bottles together, and there’s a little bit of juice generated in the third act, when the sexually empowered Christine breaks out that old black magic to secure her own place as High Priestess. Director Ray Austin was a former stunt coordinator for The Avengers who went on to enjoy a long career in American television; screenwriter Beryl Vertue (credited as Klaus Vogel) eventually became a producer involved with such U.K. TV hits as Coupling and Men Behaving Badly. The result isn’t a good film, nor is it a stupid one.

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