The Alchemist (film)

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The Alchemist
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Charles Band
Produced by Lawrence Appelbaum
Written by Alan J. Adler
Starring Robert Ginty
Lucinda Dooling
John Sanderford
Viola Kates Stimpson
Robert Glaudini
Music by Richard Band
Cinematography Andrew W. Friend
Edited by Ted Nicolaou
Distributed by Empire Pictures
Release date
  • 1984 (1984) (Norway)
  • May 31, 1985 (1985-05-31) (U.S.)
Running time
86 min
Country United States
Language English

The Alchemist is a 1981 American horror film about a man who desires to avenge a curse placed on him by an evil magician. The film was directed by Charles Band (under the pseudonym James Amante), and stars Robert Ginty, Lucinda Dooling, and John Sanderford.


In 1955, young waitress Lenora (Lucinda Dooling) finds herself inexplicably driving down the California highway to an unknown destination. This doesn't bode well for Cam (John Sanderford), the hitchhiker she picked up, because he has to endure her somnambulist driving. The duo eventually end up at a graveside in the woods and meet alchemist Aaron (Robert Ginty), who is just as shocked to see them as Lenora appears to be the reincarnation of his wife who was murdered nearly 100 years earlier.

Production and release[edit]

The Alchemist was made in 1981, but not released until 1984 (in Norway, on video) and May 31, 1985 in USA.[1] Band was brought in to replace the original director, who had completed 2-3 days of filming.[2]

The film was released for the only time on DVD by Video International on January 7, 2008.[3]


VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever awarded the film a WOOF!, their lowest rating for a film, calling it "painfully routine".[4] Richard Scheib on his film review website awarded the film a half a star out of five, calling the film, calling it "dull", and panned the film's slow-paced direction, and ineffective special effects.[5] Variety called it "a dull, old-fashioned (with gore added) supernatural horror film".[6] Time Out called it a "spectacularly low-energy multi-pastiche".[7]

The film's score, by Richard Band, received some praise, with Thomas S. Hischak in his book The Encyclopedia of Film Composers calling it "satisfying" and remarking on the "elegant main theme",[8] and the book Contemporary North American Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide describing it as "a far better score than [the film] requires or deserves".[9]


  1. ^ Bleiler, David (2013) TLA Film and Video Guide 2000-2001: The Discerning Film Lover's Guide (Kindle edition), St. Martin's Griffin, ASIN B00G1J87E0
  2. ^ "Charles Band | Full Moon Pictures", Starburst. Retrieved January 1, 2018
  3. ^ "The Alchemist (1981) - James Amante, Charles Band". AllMovie. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  4. ^ Jim Craddock (2010). VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever. Gale/Cengage Learning. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-4144-4286-0.
  5. ^ Scheib, Richard. "The Alchemist (1983). Director - Charles Band. Stars: Robert Ginty. Moria - The Science-Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review". Richard Scheib. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  6. ^ Variety's Film Reviews 1985-1986, Garland Publishing, 1988
  7. ^ "The Alchemist", Time Out. Retrieved January 1, 2018
  8. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (2015) The Encyclopedia of Film Composers, Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 978-1442245495, p. 47
  9. ^ Allon, Yarom et al. (eds.) (2002) Contemporary North American Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide, Wallflower Press, ISBN 978-1903364529, p. 36

External links[edit]