‘She had the body of a goddess and the soul of a witch.’
The Naked Witch is a 1961 American horror film written and directed by Larry Buchanan. It was financed by Claude Alexander, a Texan drive-in owner who wanted a racy movie with lots of nudity, even though the actual nakedness in the film is negligible.
The film was mostly shot in 1960 in Germanic Luckenbach, Texas, but was not released until 1964. The copyright date is 1961. The film’s exploitative title ensured that The Naked Witch was successful and helped launch Buchanan’s torpid cinematic career. It is not to be confused with a 1964 Andy Milligan opus of the same title.
Incredibly, in the 1970s, this primitive film was re-released to drive-ins on a double-bill with The Witchmaker (1969), the latter re-titled The Legend of Witch Hollow.
On October 1, 2012, The Naked Witch was released in the US on DVD on a double-bill with Crypt of Dark Secrets (1976) by Something Weird Video.
The film begins with a prolonged general historical narrative (albeit overly exaggerated, pompous and sensationalised), given by Gary Owens (Laugh-In) that focuses on paintings by Hieronymous Bosch.
A young male student, (played by Robert Short), researching early German settlements in Central Texas (Luckenbach), uncovers the grave of a formerly executed witch (played by Libby Hall). The vengeful witch rises from her grave and embarks on a campaign of seduction, revenge and murder against the descendants of those responsible for her death…
“As is usually the case with such matters, the title is outrageously misleading; the witch is naked in only two scenes. This is just as well, though, because for those scenes when she is running around with no clothes on, somebody (Buchanan? His distributor?) censored the film by placing blackish, opaque streaks across it in such a way as to block out the line through which the witch’s torso would move.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
” … it was shown predominately in black and white … for something lensed for $8,000 it’s completely satisfactory and about what you’d expect. Some of Ms Hall’s fleeting nudity was optically smudged by a film distributor I presume, but most of it has fittingly survived and is quite sensational for 1961.” DVD Drive-In
In Larry Buchanan’s book, It Came from Hunger! he says that the original ad (above) failed to attract movie patrons so it was changed to the artwork main artwork at the top of this page.