There's something nostalgic about the old black and white movies that seem to have become all but obscure. Maybe it's just me but when I watch them (just the same as when I read the vintage books) I feel as if I'm taking a step back in time. You get a good sense of what life was like in, say, the 60's...fashion, customs, language, cars, and so on. And when I compare these films with the colorful movies of today, with their wonderful graphics and polished props, I can't help but to feel an even stronger fondness for the old movies. Since my foray with Dark Shadows original TV show, I seem to have grown fond of these 'lost films.'
Anyway, today I found a couple of hours to browse through some of the great (though lost now to most of the modern world) gothic romance movies of the 60's and 70's. I was a bit aggravated that a few (of course the ones that sounded especially good) were in other languages with no subtitle. Sigh. But, I did manage to find a pretty good movie titled Witchcraft.
The movie revolves around a three-hundred-year feud between two families, the Lanier's and the Whitlocks. Three hundred years prior, the Lanier's buried a witch alive and took over the old Whitlock castle. Now, centuries later, the Lanier's have made preparations to doze over the old Whitlock cemetary for new land development. Morgan Whitlock and his niece, Amy, beg the developers to stop dozing out the headstones of the cemetary, as they are desecrating the graves of their ancestors. Yet the pleas come to no avail and the tomb of the long-dead witch, Vanessa, is over-turned and she escapes into the night to seek revenge. One by one, strange accidents begin to happen to the Whitlocks. Rumor has it the Whitlocks still practice witchcraft. Old grandmother Lanier knows of the legend. She has seen the witch at work and must race against time to battle an ancient evil before it destroys them, one by one.
When her grave is disturbed by modern-day land developers, a 300-year-old witch is accidentally resurrected and terrorizes an English village.
Director: Don Sharp
Writer: Harry Spalding
Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Jack Hedley, Jill Dixon
Personally, I really enjoyed this movie. It hit the theaters in 1964 and was well-received. I've seen quite a few horrific old black and white movies, but this was not one!
Great actors, great story-line, wonderful amount of suspense and not too much gore. Also had a dash of romance.
You can watch the full-length movie on youtube right HERE!