HOUSE WEEK: Witchery/La Casa 4 (1988)

There are moments in Witchery that approach the madcap goofball lunacy of La Casa 3. But you have to really search for them. Just by looking at the cast — Linda Blair! David Hasselhoff! — that you’d be in for a much crazier ride. This has even been titled Ghosthouse II, but make no mistake. This ain’t no Ghosthouse.

An angry mob chases a pregnant woman to a house where she dives from a window, like Oliver Reed in Burnt Offerings. I say like because it’s the exact same shot. Jane (Blair) wakes from the dream, which is never explained.

Don’t worry. This movie has no interest in story. And I don’t mean that in a Fulci kind of way, like an absolute film. No, this movie does the things where you’d expect a story to happen and ignores them.

But hey, let’s talk about our heroes. Gary (Hasselhoff) and Leslie are a couple who have decided to head off to an island to do research on witchcraft. They are there because some weird lights show up on the beach. Also — Leslie is a virgin. That’s right. A virgin. It will be mentioned again. And again. And just when you think it’s been mentioned too many times, it will be mentioned again.

Jane’s younger brother and her parents are all coming to the island too. Her parents want to turn it into a club, so they bring the architect, Linda (Leslie Cumming, in her second straight piece of shit on our site after Robowar) and the realtor’s son.

Oh yeah — this method actress went crazy and haunts the island. She kills the boat captain who brings them there to start. She kills off the majority of the cast in ways that echo the seven deadly sins for reasons that are never explained. Yes, things like motivation, the hero’s journey and the three-act structure are all ignored by this film. That’s forgivable if crazy shit happens. Sure, there’s demon sex, but it feels like too little, too late (the most out of context sentence I’ve written in 2018!). There’s also a woman impaled on a swordfish and Hasselhoff getting a blood bukkake, so if you just edit down those scenes into a 3 minute or so supercut, this is a much better film. Like this scene, where Hasselhoff discusses his childhood friend.

What blows my mind is that Tommy — the little brother — has a tape recorder that fits into the plot and it’s totally a Sesame Street model. You’d think they’d want their brand to not appear in a movie where a demon’s penis makes a woman’s vagina start bleeding.

Hey look — any movie where David Hasselhoff gets impaled can’t be all bad. But Witchery sure tries. If only it pushed itself to be as deliriously stupid as Troll 2 or as devoted to gore as, well, take your pick of Fulci haunted house films. But you do get a pregnant and possessed Linda Blair — poor Linda — chasing folks around a house before doing a swan dive to her doom.

The end of this film is a shock ending that has nothing to do with anything that came before. A nurse comes in to tell Leslie that Tommy is fine and so is her baby. She answers, “My baby?” The screen loses color and then a totally 80’s schmaltzy love song plays. Seriously, you gotta hear this shit to believe it. It redeems much of the film.

I watched the ending three times in a day to write this and I couldn’t remember any of it. That should either point to how many movies I watch or how uninspiring this film is. Either way, you can decide for yourself and watch it on Shudder. Or order the double disk of this and the vastly superior Ghosthouse at Shout! Factory.

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