Virgin Witch (1971)

UK,
89m
35mm film, colour
mono, English

A British Horror film directed by Ray Austin.

Plot Summary

Betty and Christine run away from home and Christine signs up at a modelling agency where she is lusted after by lesbian boss Sybil Waite. Taking the girls off to a country mansion for an alleged modelling assignment, Waite instead lures them into the clutches of a satanic cult led by Gerald Amberley. A ceremony takes place culminating in an orgy, during which the sisters are called up to be seduced by a fake Satan.

Credits

Crew
Director: Ray Austin
© Univista Productions Ltd MCMLXXI [1971]
Univista presents
Production Executives: Denis Durack, Edward Brady
Producer: Ralph Solomons
Production Manager: George Fowler
Written by: Klaus Vogel
Assistant Director: Garth Thomas
Continuity: Miren Cork
Director of Photography: Gerald Moss
Camera Operator: Peter Hurst
Lighting: Mole Richardson (England) Ltd
Processed by: Rank Film Laboratories
Film Editor: Philip Barnikel
Music Composed by: Ted Dicks
Conducted by: Bernall Whibley
Theme Song: “You Go Your Own Way” music by Ted Dicks, lyric by Hazel Adair, sung by Helen Downing
Sound Mixer: Derek Ball
Wardrobe Master: Ken Lewington
Make-up: Carol
Hairdresser: Stephanie Kay
Art Director: Paul Bernard
Set Dresser: Geoffrey Hill
Made on location in Surrey, England

Cast
Patricia Haines (Sybil Waite)
Neil Hallett (Gerald Amberley)
Keith Buckley (Johnny)
James Chase (Peter)
Vicki Michelle (Betty)
Anne Michelle (Christine)
Paula Wright (Mrs Wendell)
Christopher Strain (milkman)
Esme Smythe (horsewoman)
Garth Watkins (colonel)
Helen Downing (Abby Darke)
Peter Halliday (club manager)
Jenny Klingman
Maria Coyne
Prudence Drage
Sheila Sands
Susan Morrall
Steve Peters
David Graham

Alternative Titles

Lesbian
Messe nere per le vergini svedesi – Italian title
Neitsytnoita – Finnish title

Extracts included in
Grindhouse Horrors (1992)
Shiver and Shudder Show (2001)

Press

1971
Today's Cinema no.9942 (24 September 1971) p.8 (UK)
If you decide to make a film with and nudes to attract uncritical addicts of sorcery and skinflicks, there's no great virtue in being stingy with either ingredient. By no stretch of imagination could this be described as a “critics' film”, but I can't restrain a grin of admiration for Ray Austin's audacity of a plot that requires the entire cast to take off their clothes in the interests of realism. Or something. […] Oodles of nudity, dollops of lechery and , brewed up in a cauldron of witchcraft and sexy ritual. A magic potion that sensation-seekers of all ages will be eager to sample – from a review by Marjorie Bilbow

Production Notes

Release
In late October 1971 the film was banned in the British city of Hull, despite having been passed with an “X” certificate by the BBFC. After watching the film at the Tower Cinema, Hull and East Riding Council's licensing committee decided that the film couldn't be shown in their area. 1Today's Cinema no.9953 (2 November 1971) pp.8-9 In December magistrates in Edinburgh also banned the film though they decided not to see it first. When Mayor Sir James McKay suggested that the only fair way to judge the film was to see it first, magistrate Duncan Drummond Young told him: “I think it is tripe. The British Board of Film Censors did not license this film. If a case could be put on the grounds of educational or artistic merit, the answer would be to see the film, but no such case has been made out. If we allow in a film like this, we are opening the door to seeing very bad film produced in this country.” 2Daily Variety 2 December 1971 p.2

References

Periodicals

  • Daily Variety 2 December 1971 p.2 – note (Scot Magistrates Ban Film Without Even Seeing It)
  • The Dark Side February/March 1994 p.14 – review
  • The Dark Side no.206 (2019) p.40 – illustrated DVD review (Dark Side DVD library by AB [Allan Bryce])
  • Kine Weekly no.3337 (25 September 1971) p.9 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.458 (March 1972) p.60 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.459 (April 1972) p.85 – note
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.40 no.478 (November 1973) p.239 – note
  • Sight & Sound vol.4 no.2 (February 1994) p.71 – note
  • Today's Cinema no.9814 (16 June 1970) p.11 – credits
  • Today's Cinema no.9816 (23 June 1970) p.7 – credits (In production)
  • Today's Cinema no.9818 (30 June 1970) p.12 – credits (In production)
  • Today's Cinema no.9942 (24 September 1971) p.8 – review (by Marjorie Bilbow)
  • Today's Cinema no.9948 (15 October 1971) p.9 – Department of Trade and Industry registration details
  • Today's Cinema no.9953 (2 November 1971) p.11 – note (Not for Hull – about the film being banned by Hull and East Riding Council)
  • Variety 10 June 1970 pp.28; 30 – credits (British Films Shooting); note (International Soundtrack)
  • Variety 2 February 1972 p.24 – note (International Soundtrack)
  • Variety 21 June 1978 p.18 – credits, synopsis, review

Books

  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.228
  • British Gothic Cinema by Barry Forshaw pp.94, 95
  • Chopped Meat: British Horror of the 1970s by Darrell Buxton p.unpaginated
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.199, 199, 266, 275
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.222
  • Film Review 1972-73 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.236
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.420
  • by Walt Lee p.524 – credits
  • Satan in the Celluloid: 100 Satanic and Occult Horror Movies of the 1970s by P.J. Thorndyke pp.49-51
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.232-233
  • X-cert 2: The British Independent Horror Film: 1971-1983 by John Hamilton pp.18-24; 273 – illustrated review; credits