Witches Mountain, The (1972)

Directed by Raúl Artigot
Unicorn Video, Inc. VHS

Stick a knife in that wig! Caress a bloody cat corpse! Set a little girl on fire! After a jam-packed day of such strenuous activity, surely a good night’s rest is in order. What a coincidence.

The actions described above all take place within the first five minutes of The Witches Mountain. After that, it’s time to drift. As for the relationship between those events and the rest of the film? Your guess is as good as mine. In this Spanish floater from trash cinematographer Raúl Artigot (The Erotic Rites Of Frankenstein, Ghost Ships Of The Blind Dead), common sense is substituted for…not much of anything. There’s a little drizzle, some beautiful scenery, and one very intriguing mustache, but the plot points are a lost cause. Did I mention the frequent scenes of people sleeping? The parallels never cease.

A woman spots a wig with a knife in it, inspects a dead cat, then lures a young girl into a garage inferno. Then, she professes her love for Mario. Mario has very well-informed facial hair, but will have none of this “love” nonsense. He wants his next photo assignment, ASAP. While on location in the mountains, our man spots a stunning woman named Delia. They go on a trip together. Mario begins shouting every line, most likely due to an Innkeeper’s dead-on Marty Feldman impression (TWO lazy eyes!). Anyway, the new lovers end up in an old woman’s house. Their jeep is stolen. Emergency film development leads to a coven of women in white, which leads to a decent climax. I’m glad I woke up in time.

From minute one to minute eighty-three, The Witches Mountain follows up bad grammar (and worse dubbing) with lots of misty space. Unfortunately, that semi-menacing spaciousness is vacant. Or filled with several minutes of unbelievably wretched soundtrack cues. The choir means well. The songs do not. Director Artigot shows hints of the pensive, watery camera swoops found in his work with Jess Franco, but not quite enough. Way-too-close-ups and jarring cuts appear throughout; they don’t match the travelogue visuals that hold interest when nothing else does. Overall, potential was misplaced, but they gave it a good shot.

The Witches Mountain is like a cryptic dream. You remember parts of it when you wake up. Two hours later, it’s all gone. There’s always tomorrow night.

Stretched! Cropped! The washed out print looks too dark at times, but runs light on the damage. The sound was in mono. I had no problem with it. The Witches Mountain popped up on Mill Creek’s “Chilling Classics” 50 pack DVD set in 2005. This Unicorn tape was an obvious master, but somebody tweaked the contrast way too much; no color and lots of white.

Big spenders. The clamshell case itself is molded with a Unicorn logo on the inside. Sorry, but that’s all I’ve got for you.

Odd, irrational, and none too exciting, all roads on The Witches Mountain point to impassioned sleep. I can’t recommend this one. Furthermore, I hold wigs in very high regard. Stop the violence.