(Release Date: June 08, 1972 [USA])
The phrase "seek and ye shall find" creeps into mind for this one. After viewing and appreciating the hell out of the British Erotic Horror flick House of Whipcord, I began searching for more films starring the lovely Ann Michelle, and let me tell you, that title just soared out at me like the opening credits from 1978's Superman. And while the foretaste and promise of "Lesbian Twins" never quite comes to fruition here, as a British Erotic Horror flick, Virgin Witch more than satisfies... immediately, I might add, speaking of opening credits! The kick-off crawl graciously appears over still frames of the unclothed female cast, announcing (and displaying) the other star of this film, Ann Michelle's real-life sister Vicki Michelle!
In many ways, this is just another of many hot, but lacking European flicks of the genre with all the normal ingredients pinched and stirred in. On the other hand... what are you expecting, Twelfth Night?
We begin as the beautiful sisters Christine and Betty have just run away from home to seek their fortune in London. Lucky for them, a kindly young stranger in a red Mustang picks them up and gives them a place to stay! (I'm sure that had NOTHING to do with the fact that their miniskirts barely cover their belly buttons!) Unlucky for them, this "male lead" Johnny (Keith Buckley) is kind of a douche... as seems to be tradition in most British Erotic Horror flicks. Still (as also seems to be tradition in most British Erotic Horror flicks) Betty (the slightly younger, more naive sister, played by Vicki) falls for him anyway, and this is in spite of the fact that he's already got a rich, famous and also hot girlfriend (Helen Downing's sultry songstress Abby Darke). It seems that while Christine is revealed to "see in the dark", Betty clearly doesn't see very well at all.
Christine (played by Ann) sees SO well, in fact, that she locates a potential modeling job amid the posted bulletins at the local chemist. Soon she meets advertising maven (and modeling madame) Sybil Waite (Patricia Haines), who seems to have very little trouble getting "Christina" (note the "a" now) out of her clothes for inspection and measurement. She seems to have even less trouble fooling Christine into spending a weekend naked in front of a photographer. Clever lady, no? The fact that the remote location they're going is called "Wychwold" might raise a red flag or two for some people, but clearly Christine is so laid back about it that she even invites sweet young Betty to join the fun. In that Sybil is actually completely gay, she doesn't mind one more super hot, scantily clad young lady coming along with her one tiny little bit!
While sweet, sweet Christine is slowly getting into the prospect of modeling in various stages of undress for skinny photographer Peter (James Chase), he's trying to get into her. On the flip side, Betty is freaked out by the entire thing, getting bad vibes from every creep she meets (and there are a lot wandering around Wychwold). This seems to die down just a bit when she meets old guy Dr. Gerald Amberly (Neil Hallett), who openly admits to being a Witch.
What a racket this guy has, man! He's like a wealthy, British Sam Malone. Ol' Amberly sets himself up as the head of a Coven, surrounds himself with naked women and lists among his duties the hard burden of deflowering beautiful Virgin models, supplied to him by real witch Sybil. Good grief, that works? I'll bet British Libraries saw a 40% increase in check-outs of books of black magic to nerdy guys and dirty old men in late 1972. Somebody should've made this into a self-help book! Witchcraft: How to use it to sleep with Fashion Models! Hell, it works on Christine, right?
The only problem with the seduction of Christine into the group is that she already seems to have power and may even rival Sybil in her comely coven coveting! However, while Sybil soon finds a new hen in her henhouse, by the time Betty's turn for witchy deflowering comes around, there's a new rooster in the henhouse to rival Dr. Lucky! Yep, before Amberly's unlawful carnal knowledge of sweet, sweet, naked Betty can take place, Johnny-boy's Spider-Sense goes off and he races away from poor, sexy Abby to the naked rescue of Betty. Yeah, he might as well have shouted "This looks like a job... for Supermember!" And so the race is on to claim Betty's Virginity, as is the race to be the big Boss Witch!
Like most of the erotic horror flicks of the 1970s this one isn't exactly top of the pops, but there are a lot of things that Virgin Witch has going for it. For one thing, director Ray Austin does a lot more than simply film what could have been a slightly eerie soft core porn. He takes his time with the cuts and works as best he can to develop both character and story. In a film like this, sure, that's all relative, but he's no hack. Since directing this film he has gone on to a successful career in directing television episodes. Further, for all the ridiculous moments this film has to offer, the actors aren't bad either, for the most part. Surprisingly, unlike a lot of the similar films out there, and in spite of some of the plot points, this film doesn't come off as terribly sexist in nature. True, the subject of Lesbianism could have been handled with a lot more sensitivity, but the characters who try to control and infantilize women are made to look like idiots while the only real characters with power (supernatural or otherwise) are women. This could be due to the fact that writer Klaus Vogel is actually the pseudonym for a woman named Beryl Vertue!
Again, the title of Lesbian Twins never quite receives its just fruition (though a few scenes between Sybil and Christine are worth their weight in Sapphic Gold). That's not to say there's no heat in this movie. Heavens, no! There is a veritable ton of nudity here and more heat than you can aim an oscillating fan at. Still, the nudity goes in both the good and bad categories for this film. While the nearly incalculable joy of seeing the Michelle sisters fully naked is hard to deny, and while the rest of the models are likewise lovely (even Patricia Haines is pretty hot), one should note that everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE in this movie gets naked. As hot as Ann, Vicki and the other models are, there are a few visual cold showers starting with the mannish housekeeper Mrs. Wendell (Paula Wright) and continuing even farther down the spiral with guys like the Milkman (Christopher Strain), the Colonel (Garth Watkins) and even the somewhat appropriately named Horsewoman (played by Esme Smythe)... all naked. As sad as those people getting naked is, it's almost as sad that Helen Downing did not.
Still, that's just about the scariest thing about this "horror" flick. Yes, there are some creepy moments (some relatively inventive), but for the most part, this is much less a variation of Rosemary's Baby than it is an excuse for a lot of nudity (most quite lovely). If you're looking for abject terror, don't bother with Virgin Witch. Likewise, if you're in the market for a truly erotic film, this isn't quite it either (though it does get pretty hot). At best, this is a truer definition of horror porn (or what horror porn should be), and it's got enough good filmmaking, drama and even droll, dry comedy to keep those appreciative of British Humor interested until the final sequence (which is, I'll admit, somewhat disturbing). If these things don't raise your hackles or boil your blood, apply elsewhere, pilgrims. Two and One Half Stars out of Five for Lesbian Twins, better known as Virgin Witch! Sure it could be better, but, in spite of the fact that the Michelle Sisters have essentially disowned the flick, it could be a lot worse. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go unpack my best cameras... then I'm heading to the library. See you (at my place) in the next reel!
You don't have to take your clothes off
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