George A. Romero’s Season of the Witch – USA, 1971 – reviews

NEW! Rate this movie! Click on a star to vote anonymously
[Total: 5   Average: 2.4/5]

‘Every night is Halloween’

Season of the Witch is a 1971 American horror feature film about an unhappy, suburban middle-aged wife who dabbles in witchcraft. It was filmed as Jack’s Wife and also misleadingly released as Hungry Wives.

Written, photographed, edited and directed by George A. Romero (The Dark Half; Creepshow; Martin; Night of the Living Dead and sequels), the Latent Image production stars Jan White, Raymond Laine, Ann Muffly and Joedda McClain.

Plot:

Joan Mitchell is an alienated suburban housewife pushing forty, who has a boorish businessman husband and a distant, distracted nineteen-year-old daughter whose, on the verge of moving out of the house.

Frustrated at her current situation, Joan seeks solace in witchcraft after visiting Marion Hamilton, a local tarot reader and leader of a secret black arts Wicca sect, who inspires Joan to follow her own path.

After dabbling in witchcraft, Joan, believing herself to have become a real witch, withdraws into a fantasy world and sinks deeper and deeper into her new lifestyle until the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred and eventually tragedy results…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …the overall effect is of a film not quite sure where it’s going, with overtones of horror allied to a strange, experimental, almost Bergmanesque aura. With its rational, demystificatory approach to witchcraft and black-magic lore, it is perhaps best considered as an interesting, if uneven, dry run for Romero’s masterpiece Martin (1976). Phil Hardy (editor), The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

“There’s nothing subtle about it, but it works anyway, in part because nothing about it feels manipulated as it remolds ordinary people and mundane places in the service of surreal visions. In fact, it’s the way the film keeps one foot in the utterly ordinary that makes it work as well as it does.” AV Club

“Stylistically, the film is often quite arresting, especially in the dream sequences, but there’s an overheated quality to a lot of the real-life material, and the entire narrative is so fractured that nothing ever builds to any significant catharsis.”  Blu-ray.com

“Though Romero’s screenplay flows realistically and the talk sounds organic, much of it crosses over into the hippie-era realm and is severely dated. Romero gets good performances from his cast, and he has a good feel for natural rhythms. It’s certainly an interesting film…” Combustible Celluloid

“An intense sensory experience with a strong point to make, this ambitious film shows Romero’s talent at its most acute. It’s not at all what his fans will be familiar with, but it’s an intriguing psychological drama.” Eye for Film

“The plotline and motives of the characters are very muddled, and we never really understand why Joan is so taken aback by witchcraft, except that it is interesting to her. The characters are also not very tightly written. In one scene, Joan’s husband will be kind and caring, and in the next he will be physically abusive and distant.” The Film File

Season of the Witch is easily Romero’s most metaphor-filled movie, with surreal dream sequences that are both beautifully filmed and disturbing. They really express the desperation of Joan’s existence and the misery that is her life. Since the budget was cut, the bulk of the movie is shot indoors.” It Came from the Bottom Shelf!

” …Jack’s Wife might look, to warp a phrase from Godard, like a film found in a pawn shop or, as the title for “costumes and furnishings” indicates, Gimbel’s. But Romero’s commitment to un-snarky examinations of life (or a life deferred) along the border between suburbia and rural America is even still undervalued…” Slant

“Today its sexual politics are obvious and off-putting… Like most of Romero’s work, it’s made mostly of suburban locations and subtly acted by a de-glamorized unknown cast. The too-talky story can be seen as strict realism without any supernatural elements. In that respect, it’s a companion piece to Romero’s Martin, though not nearly as suspenseful or engrossing.” Mike Mayo, Videohound’s Horror Show, Visible Ink Press, 1999

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

Home viewing release:

The Arrow Video release of Season of the Witch was released on November 14th 2017 as part of the George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn (6-Disc Blu-ray + DVD combo Limited Edition Box Set). Extras:

  • A brand new 4K restoration of the original theatrical version from the camera negative [90 mins]
  • An alternate extended version [104 mins]
  • A brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford
  • When Romero met Del Toro: Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro in conversation with George Romero
  • The Secret Life of Jack’s Wife: An  archival interview with actress Jan White
  • Location Gallery with audio commentary by Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz
  • Alternate Opening Titles
  • Memorabilia Gallery
  • Trailer
  • A reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
  • A limited-edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing by Kat Ellinger, Kier-La Janisse, and Heather Drain is included within the main box

Cast and characters:

  • Jan White … Joan Mitchell
  • Raymond Laine … Gregg Williamson (as Ray Laine)
  • Ann Muffly … Shirley Randolph
  • Joedda McClain … Nikki Mitchell
  • Bill Thunhurst … Jack Mitchell
  • Neil Fisher … Doctor Miller
  • Esther Lapidus … Sylvia
  • Dan Mallinger … Sergeant Frazer
  • Daryl Montgomery … Larry
  • Ken Peters … John Fuller
  • Shirlee Strasser … Grace
  • Robert Trow … Detective Mills (as Bob Trow)
  • Jean Wechsler … Gloria
  • Charlotte Carter … Mary
  • MaLynda Parker … Patty (as Linda Creagan)

Filming locations:

  • Forrest Hills (supermarket scene), Ross Township (Joan’s house) and Shaler Township, Pennsylvania
  • North Hills, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Technical details:

  • 130 minutes | 89 minutes (edited) | 104 minutes (DVD)
  • Audio: Mono
  • 16mm blown up to 35mm
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37: 1

MOVIES and MANIA provides an independent aggregated range of previews, opinions and reviews from a wide variety of credited sources, plus our own reviews, in one handy web location. We rely solely on the very minor income generated by affiliate links and internet ads to stay online and expand. Please support us by not blocking ads on our site.  

Leave your comment here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.