Witchtrap (Blu-ray)

March 16, 2017 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The owners of the infamous Lauder House have tried to unload it for years, but one after another, potential buyers are scared off. The rumors abound that the house is haunted, reinforced by experiences from those who have visited. The house has supposedly been plagued with spooky events linked to the supernatural, not to mention some unexplained deaths. The source of the supernatural spirit seems to be the former owner, who refuses to rest in peace. As a last ditch effort, the owners hire in a group of paranormal experts to cleanse the house, with a couple detectives to serve as protection. Some are skeptics, but money is money, so they venture into the Lauder House. Once inside, a medium is able to make contact and a warning is given, that the spirit will unleash its wrath upon them. But the group pushes onward, at least until a dead body is discovered and an odd man is seen on the grounds. Who is behind this chaos and is Lauder House truly haunted?

This is one of those infamous movies that people either refuse to suffer through or can’t wait to watch with a group of friends. Witchtrap has a run of the mill haunting/possession story, but the cast is what has made it a lasting genre fixture. Linnea Quigley turns in the best performance in the movie and well, that should clue you in as to what to expect. The writing isn’t great, but this cast stumbles over lines and performs in such wooden ways, you can hardly believe what you’re seeing. What should be heated exchanges come off as tepid, while mundane events are treated with melodrama, its just a wild time. I love to see odd performances, so I had a lot of fun here, but I can’t see why those into more mainstream fare wouldn’t get it. Witchtrap has a mild amount of nudity, but Quigley is seen fully nude in the shower and a couple of other scenes offer some skin. The blood and gore aren’t overly present, but some cool moments happen and seeing a guy melt like candle wax is always fun. Witchtrap isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a genre fan or appreciate strange cinema, this one is recommended.

Video: How’s it look?

Witchtrap is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. This is a new transfer, scanned and restored in 2k from the 35mm interpositive. As usual from Vinegar Syndrome, they have taken the time and effort to craft a superb looking visual treatment. The print looks excellent, with a clean look that still retains the original look, so no DNR’ed to death mess here. The colors look natural as well, while contrast is dead on, so detail is strong throughout. Of course, the tolls of time have hit somewhat, so even with the new transfer some signs of wear are evident. But I think fans will be surprised how good Witchtrap looks here, another home run from Vinegar Syndrome.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The soundtrack here is solid, but not memorable. That is due to the source however, which doesn’t often give the track much to do. The dialogue is crystal clear, so you will hear every stilted word of the script in perfect clarity. The music comes across well also, while general sound effects are capable but again, not remarkable. I think the best was done with this track, but there is only so much you can do to spice up a forgettable sound design. Also includes SDH subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio commentary – A group discussion that features the film’s director, producer, cinematographer, and one of the cast members. A lively track that has a lot of memories from the shoot, so we learn about the cast members, the shoot conditions, and general anecdotes. Some time is spent on the whole “this is not a sequel to Witchboard” thing, as well as general reaction to the movie and the cuts that were made to some sections.
  • Interviews – A collection of both video & audio interviews with prominent cast & crew members. I was pleased that star Linnea Quigley provided some interview time and that a couple members of the effects team were featured. More behind the scenes stories abound, with a little more focus on technical topics than the commentary track.
  • Book of Joe short film – This is a short film directed by Kevin Tenney, provided alongside an alternate end sequence of the short.
  • Promotional gallery – A selection of promotional artwork and production photos, pretty cool to glance through these.
  • Video trailer

The Bottom Line

If you only watch mainstream movies, then Witchtrap probably isn’t for you. But if you like weird, off the wall horror movies and appreciate hilariously bad performances, you’ll be in heaven here. Vinegar Syndrome’s release is excellent and makes the definitive edition of Witchtrap. Recommended to genre fans and adventurous viewers.

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