Psyched By The 4D Witch
Some directors deploy a few choice lines of voiceover narration for plot clarification or a poetic moment; others trample over their own images and enhance their sins. The latest Something Weird double-feature DVD digs up two of the most stupefying voiceover-heavy movies in cult-cinema history. The 1965 spook-show Monster A Go-Go began production as a film by Bill Rebane (director of The Giant Spider Invasion), until he ran out of money and Blood Feast auteur Herschell Gordon Lewis stepped in. Taking what Rebane had already shotmainly scenes of a tall guy in a shiny spacesuit, with oatmeal on his faceLewis added a poppy theme song, sets approximating labs and police stations, long takes of actors speculating about what's going on, and a sonorous narrator to explain the action. Monster A Go-Go stays in the realm of standard, blocky science-fiction horror for 50 relatively painless minutes, before settling into 20 interminable minutes of authorities surrounding the monster in the dark, followed by an abrupt ending in which the narrator explains that nothing in the movie actually happened. It's as if, he says, "a switch had been turned... an eye had been blinked... some phantom force in the universe had made a move eons beyond our comprehension." Is Monster A Go-Go hopelessly inept, or a primer on existentialism? Psyched By The 4D Witch (1972) is similarly mind-blowing. Writer, director, and "conceiver" Victor Luminera shot the film in "trans-etheric vision," apparently a method of stretching a few scenes of silent soft-core porn into an 80-minute movie by repeating shots, inserting stock footage and psychedelic imagery, and adding chopped-up, public-domain classical music. The film opens with mononymical lead actress Margo sitting topless, performing "my sexual candlelight ritual." A demonic force enters her mind, promising to lead her to new realms of erotic pleasure, which are designated by the sound of orgasmic moans over footage of swirling colored lights. From there, Psyched By The 4D Witch moves from one bizarrely edited sex scene to another, linked by shots of random students walking around a sunny college campusand, of course, voiceover narration. The almost avant-garde effect is heightened by the bruised quality of the print Something Weird used for its transfer, which seems to have actual divots in the image. The idea of print flaws becoming part of the story also feeds one of the DVD's extras, a nameless short film that has a striptease artist getting attacked by the cue marks in the corner of the frame. The disc includes the usual assortment of trailers, mostly for drive-in monster-movie festivals, but the cheapness and narrative savagery of the two main features warps even the innocuous coming-attractions shorts. Watch enough B-movie sleaze, and soon all square-looking retro types appear poised to remove their clothes or get their faces melted. If so, there'll be a narrator there, to put the degradation in context.