Simon, King of the Witches – USA, 1971 – overview and reviews

‘The evil spirit must choose evil…’

Simon, King of the Witches is a 1971 American horror feature film directed by Bruce Kessler (Deathmoon; Cruise Into Terror; Kolchak: The Night Stalker TV series) from a screenplay written by Robert Phippeny. The Fanfare Films production stars Andrew Prine, Brenda Scott, George Paulsin, Norman Burton, Gerald York, Ultra Violet. Executive producer Joe Solomon also made Tower of Evil (1972) and Werewolves on Wheels (1971).

Plot:

Simon Sinestrari (Andrew Prine), a cynical ceremonial magician, is on a quest to become a god. Simon lives in a storm drain, selling his charms and potions for money when he is befriended by a young male prostitute named Turk (George Paulsin).

Turk introduces Simon to his world of drugs, wild parties, and hysterical Wiccan rituals featuring a goat. Death and mayhem ensue, along with romance for Simon with the district attorney’s daughter (Brenda Scott)…

simon-king-of-the-witches-1971.jpg

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …there’s a freaky psychedelic sequence towards the end that looks as if it was lifted straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. But Simon, King of the Witches is not the kind of movie that will scare the pants off of you. Instead, it’s a clever, engaging, and sometimes hilarious motion picture about the black arts, and I for one enjoyed it.” 2,500 Movies Challenge

“There’s just no pacing or excitement. A ride down the Hollywood Freeway around 4:30 p.m. any weekday is scarier.” John Stanley, Creature Features

” …with goodies like Andy Warhol Factory icon Ultra Violet leading a nude wiccan ceremony or a psychedelic freak out of a climax that gets closer to trippy Saul Bass territory than you’d expect. The wonderful, delirious score by Stu Phillips (fresh off of his epic work on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) is a major asset as well, and as a slice of L.A. during the Nixon era, it’s a tough one to beat.” Mondo Digital

“A trippy counterculture character study masquerading as a horror movie, Simon is very much a product of its time but benefits greatly from Andrew Prine’s energetic performance in the titular role…” Temple of Schlock

“This is everything I love about exploitation movies in one glorious hour-and-a-half potion. It’s engaging, quirky, authentic in its inauthenticity, sincere in its bracingly honest insincerity. These people didn’t know squat about the occult, but they were game to give it a go, and the end result is pure magic.” Trash Film Guru

” …Phippeny’s script makes his protagonist go from being likeable (if a bit wacky) to rather annoying. There’s just not much of a flow to the proceedings and if it wasn’t for the fact Prine gives a commanding lead performance there’d be little here to talk about – if you don’t count the bad 70’s fashions on display or some brief nudity by Scott.” The Video Graveyard

Choice dialogue:

Simon Sinestrari: “My boy, you don’t know how important it is for a magician to have the right kind of workshop.”

simon-king-of-the-witches-movie-film-1971-ultra-violet-1.jpg

simon-king-of-the-witches-movie-film-1971-ultra-violet-2.jpg

Simon-King-of-the-Witches-War-of-the-Zombies-Werewolves-on-Wheels-ad-mat

Release:

The movie premiered on 19th May 1971 in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Dark Sky Films released the film on DVD on June 24, 2008. Buy from Amazon.com

simon-king-of-the-witches-dvd-dark-sky-films.jpg

Cast and characters:

  • Andrew Prine … Simon Sinestrari
  • Brenda Scott … Linda Rackum
  • George Paulsin … Turk
  • Norman Burton … Willard Rackum
  • Gerald York … Hercules
  • Ultra Violet … Sarah
  • Michael C. Ford … Shay
  • Lee J. Lambert … Troy
  • William Martel … Commissioner Dan Davies
  • Angus Duncan … Colin
  • Richmond Shepard … Stanley
  • Richard Ford Grayling … Detective John Peter
  • Allyson Ames … Olivia Gebhart
  • Harry Rose … Landlord
  • Dean Cromer … Lab Technician (as Mike Kopcha)
  • John Yates … Policeman
  • Jerry Brooke … Policeman
  • Ray Galvin … Chief Boyle
  • Buck Holland … Detective
  • David Vaile … TV Newscaster
  • Earl Spainard … Reporter
  • Frank Corsentino … Reporter
  • Bob Carlson … Reporter
  • John Copage … Reporter
  • Bill McConnell … Reporter

Filming locations:

  • Los Angeles, California

Technical details:

  • 99 minutes
  • Metrocolor
  • Aspect ratio: 1.78: 1
  • Audio: Mono

Leave your comment here

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