23 Jun Kirk Hammett Reviews “The VVITCH”
WITCH WAY TO TURN…WHY THE VVITCH IS AMAZING
I finally saw The VVitch, and boy, I loved it!
For me, one of it’s greatest qualities are the very faithful (and organically creepy) references to covens, and believe me there are plenty of references to them, but the GREATEST one (and be warned those of you who have not yet seen the film, this is a spoiler!) is the coven at the end. There are numerous artistic renditions of what a witch’s coven looks like, but Goya’s “Witches’ Sabbath” painting from 1798 piece pretty much captures what The VVitch is aiming at.
At the end of the film, when you see the fire and her walking through the forest, and then all the other witches, I thought ‘oh my God, they’re gonna do it. They’re gonna re-create that classic ‘witches coven black mass’ that artists like Goya have done for centuries, in living color, in full action!’ And when the witches started flying up, I just thought ‘YESSSSS! PERFECT!’ It was genuinely exciting to see it done so well.
In fact, The VVitch was artful to the degree that I thought whoever made this film really has the aesthetic down so well that their research must’ve been phenomenal. To strike that certain chord, to capture that certain atmosphere, that mood, that feeling. I love the dialogue, and I love how they talked in the old English dialect. I had to turn the sub-titles on just to make sure I was catching everything right! But I have to say, when you actually see the young witch in the movie, when they slowed it down and made it otherworldly, for some reason it reminded me of the 1910 Frankenstein and what surviving footage there is of that. When you finally see the monster in that film, it was THE 1910 version of true horror, the grotesque, and it was a sight back then.
When I saw the younger version of the witch in this film, it had the same sort of drama and tone. Maybe it was because I saw a similarity in the actress who played the witch and the actor who played the 1910 Frankenstein? I don’t know. But anyway, back to The VVitch, and the framing of everything in the film was fantastic! The colors, the tone, it felt really feral and there was a despair, emptiness and lack of hope which really came across so powerfully.
…to sidetrack for a moment, I love the end of Rosemary’s Baby where you see the baby and someone says ‘he has his father’s eyes!’ I love that!…
…anyway, goats are also very playful and have a great sense of humor believe it or not, like we see in The VVitch when Black Philip totally rams the father. I liked to find my goat’s blind spot then try to sneak up and playfully grab his horns, but he’d always see me and buck up like he was going to ram me. So then I’d shout ‘BUDDY!’ – because his name was Buddy! – (I had two goats, one called Jesus and the other called Buddy) then he’d come back down again and bay. Buddy, who was a grey and white two-horned goat by the way, loved me because I would feed him all the rotting fruits and vegetables, so I had a great relationship with him. Sadly, Jesus was killed by a mountain lion and died pretty young, but Buddy was around for a long time. Goats are very much their own creatures; they do what they want, eat what they want and are seemingly indestructible. I watched Buddy try eat a coke can once, and had to literally wrestle the damn thing out of his mouth.
SO, getting back to the movie, seeing Black Philip in all his glory made me really miss Buddy, and the way Black Philip plays with the kids in the film was something I could totally relate with! Goats are fun to run and play with, because they run for 30 feet and suddenly just stop dead in their tracks. They wait until you get closer and then they run and top 30 more feet down the way. So Black Philip, amazing, and The VVitch is most certainly one of the best period pieces I’ve seen in horror.
Soon after watching The VVitch, I sat and started thinking about some great period piece horror films. The obvious one which might feel similar and springs to mind, is The Wicker Man, but that isn’t really a period piece due to it’s time placement being of the ‘modern’ day (the era when it was made which was the early ‘70s, 1973 to be precise). So then I got to Picnic At Hanging Rock, which was about some private school girls going missing during an outdoor-ed style picnic in 1900, there’s The Crucible, and Ken Russell’s The Devils is one for sure, dealing with a 17th century Catholic priest who is executed for witchcraft and the movie also has a hunch-backed sexually repressed nun played by Vanessa Redgrave…when she gives head to Jesus on the cross…!…Ken Russell is a hero in my book just for filming that alone, for going there in the name of art, his art!
There haven’t been very many other great films about witches or the whole Puritan/Pilgrim era that spring to mind (which is strange because that era seems like such a rich vein for horror), but one that is mandatory viewing is Vincent Prices’ Witchfinder General, where Price plays witch hunter Matthew Price who is murderous and savage in his pursuit of witches! There’s also To The Devil A Daughter, starring Christopher Lee and Natassja Kinski which deals with saving the soul of a girl from a group of satanists, so it’s not actually a witch movie after all come to think of it!
Maybe we are just too comfortable with witches in modern culture for them to be a focus of horror for us in movies today. Every Halloween there are innumerable people dressed as witches, and many of them are informed by the witch from Wizard Of Oz, Margaret Hamilton. It has always been one of my favorites, and it’s no surprise to me that her portrayal has predominantly been what witches are in society’s eyes.
By the way, perhaps it’s because I was just talking about Witchfinder General, but I feel like talking about how great Vincent Price was right now…OK, I’ll wait until next time!
See you then,