Witchcraft (film series)

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The Witchcraft film series is a horror film series, that as of March 2018, has 16 direct to video chapters, making it the horror genre's interconnected longest running franchise.[1][2] It began in 1988, and most films focus, at least partially, on the character of William Spanner, who is a powerful warlock who fights for good despite having an evil lineage.

Mythology[edit]

The series begins when Grace Churchill discovers her husband and mother-in-law's plan to use her newborn child, William, as a means to bring about the end of the world. The husband and mother-in-law are evil witches, who worship Satan. While Grace prevents this from happening, it is thought that only William and his mother survives the first film. In the second movie, 18 year old William, unaware of his heritage, and having been adopted by the Adams family, finds that his next door neighbor, the witch who survived from the first film, attempts to seduce him to use his powers for darkness. The Adams are white witches who had rejected the evil of the coven from the first film and stole William away.

Spanner resist the temptation, and in between the second and third movie, becomes a lawyer, getting a job in the district attorney's office. After being fired from the district attorney's office (a move which later movies reveal was caused by his black magic roots being discovered) he opens his own law office. Spanner resists his heritage, preferring a normal life, but events conspire to force him to use his powers, often with the fate of the world at stake. Spanner later becomes more comfortable with his powers and his role in protecting the world against the dark powers. Beginning in Witchcraft VI, Spanner often serves as an unofficial consultant for the Los Angeles Police Department, usually working with Detective Lutz and/or Garner.

While Spanner is the main character of the series, he is not in movies 8 and 10, and is only an infant in the first film. He dies at the end of the seventh movie, and remains dead during the eighth movie, but is resurrected in the ninth movie. He does not appear during the tenth movie, which is set in London, England and follows Lt. Lutz as she assist Interpol with a case, although he is referenced.

Keli is Spanner's Girlfriend in many of the movies, and they are engaged sometime between the tenth and the eleventh movie, but she disappears and is not referred to after the 11th movie.

The 14th-16th movies form a connected trilogy. The 16th film takes place in the "real" world, pokes fun of the film series recasting of the leads and the low budget nature of the series, using the actors from the 14th and 15th movie. The 16th movie explains that the entire series, and its oft recasting of the leads, is part of a careful plot by Satan to control the world.

Series[edit]

Witchcraft Trilogy[edit]

After an 8-year hiatus, the series resumed with three films all released and filmed at the same time. The first two movies of the trilogy have Spanner investigating a cult of witches. The 16th movie takes place in the "real" world and explains the entire movie series, and its recasting of the leads, is a complex plot by Satan to take over the world.

  • Witchcraft XIV: Angel of Death (2016)(DTV)
  • Witchcraft XV: Blood Rose (2016)(DTV)
  • Witchcraft XVI: Hollywood Coven (2016)(DTV)

Recurring characters[edit]

William Spanner (1-7,9,11-16) a warlock born to evil witches- Ross Newton (infant)- 1; Charles Solomon Jr- 2-4; Marklen Kennedy- 5; Jerry Spicer- 6; David Byrnes- 7, 9; James Servais- 11; Chip James- 12; Tim Wrobel- 13; H. Ryan Cleary- 14-16. (William was dead during the 8th movie. William is referenced but not seen in the 10th movie).

Det. Lucy Lutz (7-16) a member of the LAPD assigned with Det. Garner to odd cases- Alisa Christensen- 7; Stephanie Beaton- 9-11; Berna Roberts- 14-16. (In the 6th movie there is a male detective Lutz, confirmed in the 13th movie to be Lucy's brother). Lutz is normally a supporting charter, but she is the lead of the 10th movie.

Det. Garner (6-9, 11-16) partner of Lt. Lutz- Enrique Galante- 6; John Cragen- 7; Mikul Robins- 9, 11; Leroy Castanon- 14-16. (Garner is referenced but not seen in the 10th movie).

Keli Jordan (5-11) girlfriend. and later fiancee of Spanner- Carolyn Taye-Loren- 5; Debra Beatty- 6; April Breneman- 7; Kourtine Ballentine- 9; Wendy Blair- 11. (Keli disappears after the 11th movie). (Spelled Kelly in the credits of the 11th movie only).

Rose - (14-16) Molly Daughtery- .

Sharon - (14-16) Noël VanBrocklin- .

Tara - (14-16) Zamra Dollskin- .

Reception[edit]

Despite its longevity, the series is not well regarded, and the AV Club notes that the series "Witchcraft continually relies on the same stock story lines, most often involving a good warlock struggling against trashy temptresses sent by evil warlocks to seduce him to the dark side."[2] Crave's series project states the series is "trashy .... straight-to-video schlock " and finds little use for the series other than as a "notorious video store staples".[3] "The first four movies had the pretense of a supernatural plot and an interconnected mythology, but after that, the series began to slump (or improve, depending on your point of view) into outright softcore pornography. In Creature Feature, a review of the first six movies found much the same, with the third movie being the best of the first six [4] TV Guide states "It's hard to fathom why this cheap-looking, uninspired series has run so long; perhaps video store buyers and their customers figure that any franchise with this many installments has to have something going for it. But they'd be wrong."[5]

The series claims to be the longest running horror movie series.[6] The Amityville Horror (film series) is longer having 18 films, but none of the films are direct sequels to each other, and parts I, II, and IV are the only films based on books from the Amityville book series and establish references with each other.

Production[edit]

All movies have been produced by Vista Street Entertainment. Troma Studios released films 1-9.[7] The series maintains an official YouTube channel with behind the scenes information [8] and a Facebook page.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Witchcraft 14: Angel of Death, Witchcraft 15: Blood Rose, and Witchcraft 16: Hollywood Coven Shot Back-to-Back". Dread Central. 2015-08-06. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  2. ^ a b https://film.avclub.com/we-dutifully-sat-through-all-13-entries-in-horror-s-lon-1798285967
  3. ^ Seibold, Witney (2013-09-06). "The Series Project: Witchcraft (Part 1)". Craveonline.com. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  4. ^ Stanley, John. 2000. 2nd Edition. "Creature Feature. Berkley Boulevard
  5. ^ http://www.tvguide.com/movies/witchcraft-6-the-devils-mistress/review/129995/
  6. ^ a b "Witchcraft - The Longest Running Series in Horror - Home". Facebook. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  7. ^ "Films". Troma. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  8. ^ "Hanging out with Wetmovie1 on Set of Witchcraft 14-16". YouTube. 2015-06-06. Retrieved 2018-03-22.