[cbtabs][cbtab title=”Sorceress Review”]
Jim Wynorski is mostly known for his B-movies that contain busty ladies and beastly creatures, but 1995’s Sorceress adds another alliterative theme to his repertoire: black magic. Originally known as Temptress, the film has languished on home video in its original cut form, but Synapse Films have released it in its uncut glory. This basically translates to softcore porn on par with some of Wynorski’s scrambled-channel releases like The Bare Wench Project series, but there is a semblance of plot running through Sorceress: a prominent lawyer is pursued by a bevy of scantily-clad ladies, and one of them is bewitching him into seeing his dead ex in all of the women.
Sorceress boasts a competent crew, at least for the types of films for which they’re known. Mark Thomas McGee pens the script, notable for masterpiece films like Sorority House Massacre II and Stepmonster; Fred Olen Ray produces and gets a small cameo part; and of course Wynorski, at the helm, employs a number of lovely ladies as his main cast, including Julie Strain as the haunting ex Erica, Rochelle Swanson as the possessed Carol, and the lovely second-wheel Maria (Toni Naples). More impressive is the presence of Linda Blair as Amelia, who doesn’t shed her clothes but apparently has shed her acting dignity.
Of primary focus, though, is Larry Barnes (Larry Poindexter), a prominent lawyer who recently lost his wife in a horrible accident after she performed some magic to incapacitate Amelia’s husband Howard (Edward Albert). Wynorski’s plot is at first fairly muddled, suffering from either some editing errors or a shoddy script; Erica’s attack on Howard is never really explained except for his success over Larry in obtaining top position at the law firm, and since Erica is killed early in the film, Sorceress doesn’t come back to it. Instead, it jumps to a new revenge plot as Amelia, mad at Erica now that her husband has been crippled, decides to strike out at Larry because she wants some type of vindication.
The plot is sub-par at best, and Sorceress doesn’t handle the overarching subject matter well. Motivations are thin, and at one point, Howard even confronts Amelia about her pointless attacks on Larry – it doesn’t make sense, and it seems even Wynorski and McGee are poking fun at a script that would rather get to more sex scenes than explain the holes in the plot.
[pullquote] Sorceress, about temptation and adultery, certainly manages to bring up some uncomfortable emotions as Carol slowly morphs into Erica thanks to Amelia’s witchcraft.[/pullquote]
Still, it’s probably best for most viewers if they don’t focus on the storyline; Wynorski excels at his sex scenes, and this uncut version adds even more of them. Most of Sorceress is designed to get to those dreamy moments that tend to blend eroticism with fantasy – here Wynorski includes multiple threesomes (one M-W-W and one W-W-W), some simulated sex, and an attempted cuckolding. Truly, these are Sorceress‘ best moments, and not just because of the many voluptuous ladies on-set. The awkwardness of these scenarios is palpable, especially during a scene where Carole asks about Larry’s prior threesome experience; most people know the self-conscious curiosity of asking about a partner’s sexual life pre-relationship, and this film about temptation and adultery certainly manages to bring up some uncomfortable emotions as Carol slowly morphs into Erica thanks to Amelia’s witchcraft.
Speaking of witchcraft, the magic itself is a very small part of Sorceress, and the actual horror aspect of the film only encompasses the psychological trauma of a beautiful woman cheating on her spouse. There’s some black magic, but it’s quite generic; the sorceress-ness of Wynorski’s plot is fleeting, and the film’s pacing often suffers from the elongated sex scenes that leave little room for the supernatural elements.
While Sorceress isn’t a great film in conventional terms, by 1995 Wynorski had basically perfected these types of lower-budget horror films: a dash of the paranormal, a heaping helping of eroticism, and a cast of buxom good-looking women who cater to a significant male population. Sorceress is the ever-elusive softcore porn with a storyline; the film delivers as promised, and so it should be no shock to viewers that the nudity and sex is more important than the plot surrounding it. [/cbtab]
[cbtab title=”Video/Audio/Special Features Review”]
The biggest draw for this Synapse Films Blu-Ray release of Sorceress is the new 2K scan of the uncensored director’s cut, approved by Jim Wynorski. The video quality is great – very crisp, clean, with vibrant colors – and I’m pretty sure no male viewer out there wouldn’t want to see the film’s various topless scenes in pristine picture quality. I haven’t seen the original censored cut of the film, but one can see where the sex scenes were presumably cut – though there’s no loss of quality. The scenes on this Blu-Ray are extended, and there are some more taboo portions like body-licking (both male and female) and male genitalia. While they don’t add too much more to the content of the film, one watching for eroticism should certainly be enticed.
Audio quality is also very good, with the original 2.0 track included. No dips or pops in the sound that were noticeable, and the soundtrack makes very good use of Debussy. Subtitles are also included.
The disc is limited when it comes to extras, but it does include two audio commentaries. The first is from Jim Wynorski alone; the second features Wynorski and make-up artist Tom Savini, a nice varied listen. However, it’s unfortunate Synapse was unable to get any cast interviews to make up for the lack of extras.
Still, anyone looking to own a quality release of Sorceress can’t go wrong with this Blu-Ray, since it is the most definitive edition of the film.[/cbtab][/cbtabs]