13 September 2009 | highwaytourist
Badly transferred & dubbed, senseless film wastes a good idea
I couldn't make sense of this film much of the time, and neither could anyone else, based on other reviews. The opening scene of this film has virtually nothing to do with the rest of the story. In it, a photojournalist with a big mustache cancels his vacation to get away from his girlfriend. He is assigned to photograph a mountain range. It's rumored to be haunted, but I couldn't tell whether he heard that from his boss or later in the film. On his way, he meets a beautiful writer (Patty Shepard) and convinces her to join him on his working trip. Throughout the film, there is this terrible music score, mostly consisting of noisy chanting that makes you want to scream "SHUT UP ALREADY!!!" What really will gall a person is that the film always seems like it's about to become good, though it never does. There is beautiful mountain scenery and some genuinely creepy atmosphere. The inn and the silent, abandoned old buildings scattered on the mountain are rather ominous. The foggy nights look real, not like someone put an artificial fog machine on the set. And the idea, while not original, had potential. But it never does improve, at least not enough to be worthwhile. Here's how it goes, more or less. They stop at this inn run by a weird innkeeper (you expect him to be named Igor) with a hearing problem. There is a scene where the writer thinks a peeping tom is in her window, but the scene is so dark, I had no idea what was going on. Whether this was poor lighting or a poor film transfer is unknown to me. In any event, we never find out know what happened. There is a scene where she wanders off during the night. Whether she is sleepwalking or mesmerized by the witches of the title is never explained. Another scene which is never explained is when their car is stolen, then found again, with nothing stolen. They wind up in this apparently abandoned mountain village whose sole inhabitant is this seemingly kindly old woman. There are other things, including a chained wild man in a cave who is never explained, an attempt to sacrifice the writer in some way (will they kill her or brainwash her into joining them?), the witches themselves, a bunch of brunette women in white robes who don't show up until the last 15 minutes of the film and whose practices and beliefs are never explained. Even the closing scene doesn't make any sense. When all is said and done, most people will be saying, "Huh?"