1973 - 84m.
The late 60s and early 70s were a time of free love, social change, and hallucinogenic drugs. This combination brought us Woodstock , Wattstax, El Topo, and Deep Throat. It also brought in a type of movie where some filmmakers became lazy in plot explanations and continuity resulting in a number of flicks that may have been fun to those involved but don't make much sense to the rest of us. This is one of those movies. All over this flick you will find holes in the plot, characters making boneheaded decisions, and a pace that will induce sleep faster than a handful of melatonin.
Laurie Walters stars as Jenny, a college student who seems to be lacking any sort of common sense. From the first few scenes where she goes on a date with dude named John (Joe Spano) who seems to have some sort of a personality disorder, I was wondering what up with this girl. The pair goes on a picnic and, on the way home, they decide to explore an abandoned spa that looks more like a dilapidated prison than a resort (In fact, the location is the ruins of the former Arroyo De Valle Sanatorium in California). After hanging out at the ruins for a while, they run into an old lady who you know is sinister even though she appears sweet. Jenny splits up from the others and comes across a ghost bride, finds a mysterious locked door in the old kitchen, and unknowingly gets drugged by the old lady during a tea party. Eventually the couple leave the strange place behind only to return a few days later so that John can work on his aspiring journalism career by interviewing the overacting senior. This time, Jenny learns the lurid past of the spa from a random hunter who almost shoots her and spends the rest of the movie getting into completely avoidable trouble.
Much of this flick is extremely slow but the actions of the characters are so bizarre that it is somewhat compelling. You will find yourself questioning their motivations and lack of good judgement so often that this one may actually be kind of fun if watching with a like-minded film fan. Try to reason why John does a weird act to scare Jenny in an abandoned swimming pool or why the old lady comes into a room to reveal the hiding place of a secret key for no particular reason. You can also marvel at the multiple opportunities that Jenny has to escape as well as the many reasons that she is given to do so. You can also laugh at the old bat's two henchmen (one of whom looks like a cross between Jack Nance and Asbestos Felt wielding a medieval battle axe) as they attack in a burst of energy. All of these factors make the movie much more entertaining than it should be and I can actually see why this has a small cult following. Watching it alone, however, makes for a tedious and frustrating experience.
Walters' costume choices are inspired as she goes from red bell-bottoms and a skin-tight top with no bra for the first half of the film (thumbs up) to a grandma dress for the second half (thumbs down). She went on to become one of the stars of the TV series "Eight is Enough" and also appeared in the early 70s time capsule The Harrad Experiment and its sequel. Spano is a recognizable TV actor who is probably best-known for "Hill Street Blues" although I remember him mostly from his role as David Caruso's father in "NYPD Blue". According to the Joe Bob Briggs DVD commentary, director William Herbert may actually be a pseudonym for director Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear). This is unconfirmed and remains somewhat of a mystery especially after reading comments from IMDB user Douglas Saunders who claims to have worked on the film with Herbert's brother. Regardless, I find these kinds of inconsistencies intriguing. All in all, I can't recommend Warlock Moon in any capacity as a good flick but it you enjoy watching bad movies with a group of friends and incessantly making fun of the screen while drinking beer, this is a perfect fit. (Josh Pasnak, 12/27/12)
Directed By: William Herbert.
Written By: William Herbert.
Starring: Laurie Walters, Joe Spano, Edna MacAfee, Richard Vielle.