BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Burn, Witch, Burn (1962) - Blu-ray Review

  • Movie Review

  • Film Details

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Trailer

Burn, Witch, Burn - Blu-ray Review

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5 beersA professor, haunted by his own words of disbelief in the supernatural, runs across an empty beach as the surf crashes violently against a steady shore of rock and sand.  He is frantic in his search for his wife who is convinced that the taking of her life will prevent the loss of his.  This scene is one of many spectacularly composed shots in Burn, Witch, Burn (aka Night of the Eagle).  It is a horror film that is not easily forgotten and, due to its many moments of compounded fright, deserves an immediate second watch to fully allow it to soak in. 

Directed by Sidney Hayers, Burn, Witch, Burn is what happens when Tansy Taylor (Janet Blair) takes it upon herself to further her husband’s, professor Norman Taylor (Peter Wyngarde), rising career as an English university professor by dabbling in witchcraft.  When he learns of her nocturnal activities, he forces her to stop and get rid of all the hocus-pocus materials by fire.  She does so but warns of the dangers of trying to cancel out all the protection she has gathered for him.  And almost immediately, bad stuff starts happening but, ultimately, who is responsible for pulling these supernatural strings?

Cinematographer Reginald Wyer provides some seriously spectacular shots that are both riveting and smart, proving that the construction of a horror film is an art form.  The mood of this black-and-white film is deliciously twisted with creepy shots that capitalize on the genre’s best affects.  From practical effects – including creepy crawlies like spiders and a giant eagle (which, even in a modern day viewing, is seriously effective), Wyer and camera operator Gerry Turpin anchor this film with some forward-thinking compositions that remain crisp and engaging and gloriously successful. 

What is also remarkable about the film is just how solid the cast is.  While the script from Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson (both from Twilight Zone fame) makes the transition from the real world to the spirit world of witches and candles and tall shadows so insanely believable, it is the headstrong cast that delivers performances that ground this production in a real and relatable world.  Performances from Margaret Johnston and Anthony Nicholls help carry the strength and atmosphere as Taylor faces threats from students, new fears, and ancient enemies as he maneuvers through Cornwall without protection.

Released by American International Pictures, this British horror film is a certified classic of the genre.  It makes its blu-ray debut thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics.  It is one you definitely do not want to miss out on.  OWN THIS.

Burn, Witch, Burn - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
90 mins
Director
: Sidney Hayers
Writer: Charles Beaumont
Cast:
Peter Wyngarde, Janet Blair, Margaret Johnston
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
You Must See It From the Beginning To Feel The Shock-Impact of the End!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Burn, Witch, Burn."
Distributor:
American International Pictures (AIP)
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 25, 1962
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 15, 2015
Synopsis: A skeptical college professor discovers that his wife has been practicing magic for years. Like the learned, rational fellow he is, he forces her to destroy all her magical charms and protective devices, and stop that foolishness. He isn't put off by her insistence that his professional rivals are working magic against him, and her protections are necessary to his career and life.

Burn, Witch, Burn - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 15, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Kino Lorber Studio Classics presents Burn, Witch, Burn on blu-ray with a 1080p transfer that presents its horror in glorious detail against strong shadows and good contrast. This is a good old-fashioned B&W flick and, with clean lines and strong black levels, it is hard to find fault with it. The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix is solid.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Richard Matheson’s commentary is beautiful.  You really need to hear what he says about writing horror screenplays.  Listen to the master.

Special Features:

Wyngarde leads the charge with a NEW interview about the making of the movie from his experience.  While he downplays the horror aspect of the screenplay, he does have a lot to say about the movie and its impact.

  • Interview with Peter Wyngarde (25 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer 

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