Jim Wynorski’s film­mak­ing career revolves around two key obses­sions: gen­re fare and big breasts.  Fittingly, his fil­mog­ra­phy pur­sues both fix­a­tions in equal mea­sure, offer­ing up a tidal wave of cheap and cheer­ful quick­ies that include action, hor­ror, sci-fi and plen­ty of sex­ploita­tion.  Most of those films fea­ture more of one ele­ment than Sorceress-bluthe oth­er but occa­sion­al­ly Wynorski has got­ten to pile on the cheap thrills and the cheese­cake with equal vig­or.  Sorceress is a notable exam­ple of that dou­ble-fist­ed approach, mix­ing super­nat­u­ral hor­ror ele­ments and name char­ac­ter actors with all of the sil­i­cone-enhanced bump & grind antics you’d asso­ciate with ‘90s Skinemax fare.

The plot of Sorceress is amaz­ing­ly ambi­tious for soft­core fare: Larry (Larry Poindexter) is a ris­ing young lawyer in love with Erica (Julie Strain), a wom­an who secret­ly uses witch­craft to manip­u­late him and his career.  She dies in a freak acci­dent but not before using her skills to hand­i­cap Larry’s rival, Howard (Edward Albert).  It just so hap­pens that Howard’s wife Amelia (Linda Blair) is also a witch and she’s deter­mined to get revenge on Larry for his girlfriend’s mis­deeds, using Larry’s lov­ing ex Carol (Rochelle Swanson) as a ves­sel to seduce and destroy.

Sorceress-01However, don’t let the plot-heavy nature of Sorceress dis­tract you: the sto­ry­line doesn’t make much sense, nor do the char­ac­ter­i­za­tions, but it doesn’t mat­ter because they provide a more-inter­est­ing-than-usu­al setup for the sex sce­nes and gra­tu­itous nudi­ty.  Wynorski uses the sex­u­al con­tent to exploit the eye-pop­ping physiques of Strain and Swanson to the fullest and throws in a few oth­er wom­en with sim­i­lar boob-job bux­om­ness.   Wynorski also has fun with the hor­ror con­tent, stag­ing an unex­pect­ed­ly cool stunt at the begin­ning and man­ag­ing a fun kitchen-sink cli­max that pays off the plot via a bunch of dra­mat­ic cross-cut­ting.

The pro actors who appear between sex sce­nes are there to keep us from get­ting bored and do this job well.  For exam­ple, Michael Parks gives an amus­ing­ly twitchy method-style turn as an accused mur­der­er and the throw­away role of the law firm boss is enlivened by the fact that Wynorski gets William Marshall of BlacuSorceress-02la fame to play this two-scene part.  Blair is suit­ably pro­fes­sion­al as the mis­guid­ed witch but it’s Albert who real­ly stands out here, bring­ing gen­uine grav­i­tas and sin­cer­i­ty to his role as the wronged rival.  He’s way bet­ter than he needs to be and always com­pelling when on screen.

In short, Sorceress gives you the best of both worlds.  It’s an agree­able straight-to-video gen­re pro­gram­mer and a suit­ably lusty soft­core grinder all at once.  Who says you can’t have it all?

Blu-Ray Notes: Synapse picked up this flick for blu-ray reis­sue and has given a nice lit­tle pre­sen­ta­tion.  The trans­fer looks great, mak­ing the most of the above-aver­age pho­tog­ra­phy by old pro Gary Graver, and the loss­less pre­sen­ta­tion of vin­tage 2.0 mix sounds nice and crisp.  Fans should note that Sorceress-03this is the offi­cial home video debut of the uncut ver­sion (pre­vi­ous VHS and cable ver­sions were either edit­ed or opti­cal­ly cen­sored via crop­ping).

There are also two com­men­tary tracks.  The first is a solo track by Wynorski.  He’s an engag­ing speak­er with a sharp recall of the pro­duc­tion, offer­ing his rec­ol­lec­tions of the dif­fer­ent cast and crew mem­bers as well as a vari­ety of inter­est­ing triv­ia about the shoot and loca­tions (one house was owned by real witch­es!).  The sec­ond track pairs Wynorski with friend Tom Savini and was record­ed over drinks dur­ing a hor­ror movie con­ven­tion.  As you might sur­mise, it’s light­heart­ed and comedic in tone: there’s a lot of wise­cracks, par­tic­u­lar­ly from Savini, and a bit of gos­sip (Wynorski’s not shy about dis­cussing who was dif­fi­cult to work with here).  Fans of either man should check it out as they talk about a lot of their work out­side of Sorceress.