Director: Ray Austin
Redemption/Image Entertainment

Shot in 1970, VIRGIN WITCH appears to have a clear agenda: to showcase as many bare female breasts and buttocks as possible in a 90-minute exploitation film. Bordering on being a sexier update of BURN WITCH BURN, the film can be classified as a shear British sex romp without the usual comedy antics and the horror elements are kept to a bare minimum. Director Ray Austin was a former stuntman on the 1960s “The Avengers” series who graduated to directing action-laden TV shows. After this and two other features (1000 CONVICTS AND A WOMAN and HOUSE OF THE LIVING DEAD), Austin returned to the confines of television and continued a lucrative career in both Great Britain and the U.S.

Answering a publicly posted wanted ad for a model, Christine (Ann Michelle) accepts an invitation to pose for a photo shoot over the weekend at a country mansion, and takes along her younger sister Betty (Ann’s real sister Vicki) for good measure. The lesbian head of the modeling agency, Sybil Waite (the late Patricia Haines, first wife of Michael Caine and star of NIGHT CALLER FROM OUTER SPACE) is actually a witch who lures girls into the coven’s sexually highlighted ceremonies. The High Priest of the coven (Neil Hallett) fancies himself a doctor and easily convinces Christine to be part of their next ceremony, initiating her with intercourse on an alter. Of course, Sybil also has sights on beautiful Christine, who now as a full-fledged witch, is able to use her supernatural powers to try and outwit her. Virginal sister Betty is next to be initiated, but her overly concerned boyfriend Johnny (Keith Buckley, DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN) arrives just in the nick in time to get in on all the excitement.

Never shy in its combination of sex and witchcraft shenanigans, VIRGIN WITCH is pretty much an excuse to showcase lots of nudity, which is just swell if you're in it to see the lovely Michelle sisters (Ann was in Pete Walker’s HOUSE OF WHIPCORD and Vicki went on to become a regular on the popular Britcom 'Allo 'Allo!) in various states of undress. There is very little suspense and not much of a narrative threat, but the film is unique in that central heroine Christine is not afraid of or inhibited by those who thrust her into a world of sexually liberated black arts, and she actually turns the tables on her would be captors. The most inventive sequence has an 8x10 headshot of the witchy Sybil changing to a painful expression after ritually being set ablaze by vindictive Christine. VIRGIN WITCH was not released in the U.S. and Britain (by horror specialists Tigon) until 1972, and American distributor Joseph Brenner Associates later re-released it with Robert Fuest’s THE DEVIL’S RAIN.

Presenting the film in its original 1.85:1 ratio with anamorphic enhancement, Redemption and Image have done a fine job with the transfer. The image is crystal clear with excellent detail and mostly true, vivid color schemes, and there are only a few specs here and there on the print source. The mono audio suffers a bit from some low parts of dialogue, but is a clean track otherwise. The extras are the original British trailer (not the familiar U.S. Joseph Brenner one) and a decent still gallery. (George R. Reis)