Film Reviews

Hallowe’en Flicks: Burn Witch Burn!/Night Of The Eagle (1962)

Starring: Janet Blair, Peter Wyngarde, Margaret Johnston

Director: Sidney Hayers

Norman Taylor (Wyngarde) is a Professor who lectures about superstitions but is a man of science and reason. He’s shocked when he finds out that his wife has been using voodoo and spells to protect him and advance his career, so he destroys her charms in an attempt to make her see reason. But when he does, he soon starts to realise that she’s not so foolish, that not only have her spells been protecting him but now he and his wife are in danger from other faculty wives and their dark magic…

I have such a soft spot for this film. I just love the idea that while the husbands are all lecturing students and moving up the career ladder, their wives are not just sitting around knitting and baking. They’re the driving force and ensurers of success. It’s kind of fun and subversive in some way. It’s like Samantha on Bewitched, but dark. I love that it has a black cat and some stylish corporate wife fashion all mixed in. And it is a little creepy, even though it’s not jump scares and blood or sight horror. It’s more of a creeping, uneasy horror, the idea that someone who looks normal could cheerfully plot someone else’s destruction, that in the houses of education and empiricism, there’s magic and mayhem lurking. That evil wears a pillbox hat and tweed, instead of warts and black. It gets under your skin a little bit, though how much it scares you depends on what you believe about witches. But who doesn’t believe in dark magic at Hallowe’en?

Scale Of Scary: 6/10 I love this film, even though there are scarier movies out there. Witches are fun for Hallowe’en, and who knows, maybe it’s the ordinary, quiet people we have to watch out for…

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