Burn, Witch, Burn (1962)

Based upon the 1943 Fritz Leiber novel Conjure Wife, this movie was called Day of the Eagle in the UK before getting a title that sounded more like a horror movie for American audiences. The book had already been adapted once before as Weird Woman in 1944 and then one more time afterward in 1979 as Witches’ Brew.

The American version also has an opening in complete blackness where the voice of Paul Frees reads a spell intended to protect the audience from the evil within the film. Filmgoers also were given a special pack of salt and the words to an ancient incantation. Man, going to the movies used to be awesome. American-International Pictures knew how to sell an occult movie!

Written by a combination of Charles Beaumont (The Masque of the Red Death, several great Twilight Zone episodes), Richard Matheson (I Am LegendDuel) and George Baxt (Shadow of the Cat, The City of the Dead), this is the story of Norman Taylor (Peter Wyngarde, Klytus from Flash Gordon), a man who discovers that all of his career success is due to the magic skills of his wife. As soon as he demands that she burns all of her magical ephemera, everything in his life goes wrong

By the end of the movie, his rational view of the world must confront the fact that magic truly exists. It also posits that women are the magic workers of the world and that men just stumble through, a view I can completely agree with.

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