Dead Man's Shoes
The Last Horror Movie
Shaun Of The Dead
The Weekend Murders
Kiss Of The Vampire
The Devil's Men
Three Cases Of Murder
O Lucky Man

The Witches

Leaden, boring, uneventful... these are things that a horror film should never be. Even if a film is badly plotted, awfully acted and dreadfully directed, it can still be saved by a gallon of blood, a stupendous stunt or a bit of gratuitous nudity. Unfortunately, Hammer's The Witches has none of this.
In fact, it would probably be better if it was called "The Watches", and involved a tour around a Swiss timepiece making factory. It would certainly be more frightening.
A permanently pissed-looking Joan Fontaine has a nasty experience in Africa, when the natives set upon her for having dodgy 60s hair. She has a nervous breakdown, and returns to England. The beginning of the film almost manages to build up a sense of tension, as our Joan is menaced by an unseen force outside her hut. Unfortunately, the "monster" turns out to be a bloke wearing a big tribal mask, and from that point on the film slips rapidly downhill. Yet I still watched it.
Joan, now recovered, takes a job in a small village school. But pretty soon, strange things start happening, and before you can say "Voodoo chile con carne", she's right back in the loony bin, being looked after by Leonard Rossiter (?). Of course, there's dark things afoot at t'old mansion, and the rest of the village is involved in some kind of black magic ritual. Joan, a rictus smile plastered all over her face, gets back to the village and uncovers the whole shebang. Is the bad guy the lord of the manor, who likes to dress up as a priest and is obviously a bit mental? Or is it his personable sister who's in charge? Perhaps it's Penrod, the mild mannered janitor? Ah, who cares? The whole thing's a pile of shite anyway.
Luckily, the patient (or irredeemably sad) do get rewarded at the end by the most outrageous piece of scenery chomping by the eventually uncovered leader of the coven. There's also an appalling (and distinctly 60s British) devil worshipping "orgy" where everyone keeps their clothes on (see The Devil Rides Out for similar crapness), which is followed by what looks like a drama class warm-up routine, but, we're reliably informed, is some kind of Sabbat.
Considering the kind of stuff Hammer was busy churning out at the time (Plague Of The Zombies, The Reptile), what were they thinking of?


Ooya! That's gonna hurt come morning...

Yes! I am a woman and I have breasts!

What? What's behind me?