13 February 2007

Psyched By The 4-D Witch (A Tale Of Demonology) (1972)

Quality: 1 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5

This is what complete insanity looks like; at least in movie form. Although produced in the 70's, "Psyched By The 4-D Witch" resurfaced on a DVD from Something Weird video a few years back. Unleashing this film to the unwitting public may be tantamount to selling crack to kindergardeners. It's a depraved tour-de-force of exploitation and psychedelia in the not-so-sure hands of its twisted director, Victor Luminera. As this film is his only credit, I imagine that his follow-up to this must have been some sort of bad trip extravaganza in the local gutter. It's the only real way to follow this spectacle.

The story involves Cindy, a college freshmen exploring witchcraft... (dramatic pause) sexual witchcraft! With the help of her supposed ancestor, communicating from the astral plain, Cindy begins a series of warped sexual exploits, all while "remaining a virgin for her daddy" (I'm not riffing here, this is what the film tells us). Eventually things turn sour and bring in Cindy's innocent older brother as a transformed "sex vampire," thus living up to the psyching promised in the film's title.

Now, this all sounds like a soft core 70's porn, and I imagine that this may have been the intended audience. Through the twisted direction of Luminera, however, the final result is quite different.

First off, much of the film is shot in "transetheric vision," which appears to be shorthand for using every cheap psychedelic camera trick in the book. This refers of course to the film shot for the movie, as I think around 50% percent of this demented journey appears to be stock footage. But even some of that seems to have been tweeked in one way or another. We see interdimensional multi-coloured cars passing through each other, and some completely indecipherable images from the astral plane. Due to the age of the film, a lot of these effects now sport a reddish color.

As this was shot on a Z-grade budget, there is no actual dialog in the film. Cindy narrates with her sweet All-American tone as she details the sordid world of sexual witchcraft. After the first 15 minutes, her occasional obscinities are strangely edited (I don't think it's possible to edit this one for the kids). We also hear a bit of disembodied narration from Cindy's brother and the "gay" neighbor next door, who should offend, well... everyone. Most of the soundtrack music is comprised of stock classical recordings and a touch of Pink Floyd that probably came from Mr. Luminera's personal "stash."

There is one major exception to the soundtrack. Composed especially for the film is the titular track played by a non-descript garage-psyche band and sung by some guy known only as Johnny-By-The-Spot. Actually, I should give a little more credit the band. They don't have much skill or talent, but they're really playing their balls off and show absolutely no restraint whatsoever. Over this, Mr. By-The-Spot bellows out lines such as "Beware of the 4-D witch, beware/She's in your mind, she's everywhere/Born in the belly of the Devil's bitch/Beware of the 4-D witch." The song appears about every ten minutes or so, and is a good sign that the proceedings are about to become even more demented. It's also a horribly catchy little tune that should pop up in your head at inappropriate times in the future.

"Psyched By The 4-D Witch" is certainly not for everyone. It is terribly offensive, and poorly made. Still, for those willing to dive in, it is a masterpiece of trash culture. Everything here seems tailor made for maximum strangeness and I'd personally love to catch this one as a midnight movie somewhere.

The Something Weird disc actually contains "Psyched By The 4-D Witch" as a second feature. The top billed "Monster A-Go-Go" is directed by the legendary Herschell Gordon Lewis, but is unfortunately a dull sci-fi patch job using footage from an earlier aborted film by Bill Rebane. There is also a treasure chest of trailers for bad psychedelic films that actually ups the value of the disc.

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