Sunday, January 13, 2013

Burn, Witch, Burn!

"Burn, Witch, Burn!" (1962) starring Peter Wyngarde, Janet Blair and Margaret Johnston is a great black & white horror movie from England.

I had been putting off watching this movie for a while, probably because of the cheesy title.  I watched it yesterday and the beginning includes a blank screen with an announcement to the audience about how some of the charms & spells that will be seen in the movie are real and the announcer goes on and on with a long anti-spell to keep the viewers safe.  This gimmick at the beginning didn't portend well to the movie but I'm sure glad I watched because I really enjoyed it!

Norman Taylor (Wyngarde) is a college psychology professor who lectures about belief systems and superstitions.  He is of the modern mind that all superstitions are nonsense.  At the beginning of the movie we are shown how the students love him and his fellow professors are discussing that he seems to lead a charmed life and the dean is even considering him for a promotion before some of the other more experienced colleagues.

Norman is married to Tansy (Blair) who spends a lot of time in their home or at their seaside cottage.  At the beginning, some of Norman's colleagues come over to play bridge and Tansy senses something is wrong.  After they leave she searches frantically around the house and finally finds a small voodoo like figure which she quickly destroys.  It turns out Tansy is a witch and she is doing everything she can to protect her husband from evil outside powers.

Norman discovers one of her charms and soon finds many others around the house.  He confronts Tansy when she returns home and she confesses to being a witch.  He can't believe this nonsense and finally convinces her to destroy all the charms.  Her final warning though is she can't be responsible for what may happen without her running interference against the outside evil powers.  Norman of course doesn't take heed.

Almost immediately things start to go wrong for Norman.  One of his female students charges him with violating her.  The girl's boyfriend threatens him with a gun.  And it doesn't look like he'll get that promotion.  Tansy leaves to try to save him and Norman finally encounters the source of those outside powers that are against him.  Can he save himself and his wife?

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.  I will watch it again for years to come!


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