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Sorceress (Blu-ray Review)

SorceressAll the pleasures of the flesh and malevolence of black magic collide in this newly remastered and uncensored version of Jim Wynorski’s SORCERESS (aka TEMPTRESS). Presented for the first time ever from a new 2K scan of the original uncut film element, this release features sex scene footage and additional nudity removed from the original release.  The film stars Linda Blair (Savage Streets), Larry Poindexter (American Ninja 2: The Confrontation), Julie Strain (Heavy Metal 2000) and Edward Albert (Galaxy of Terror).  This new edition of the film come courtesy of the wonderful folks over at Synapse Films.  You can pre-order the film to have when it releases on June 14th.

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Film 

Larry Barnes is on the fast track to a partnership in a prestigious law firm, and his sexy witch wife Erica will do anything to keep her husband happy. But Erica makes a fatal mistake when she tries to kill Larry’s main competition for the partnership, Howard Reynolds. With Howard now crippled for life from Erica’s dark magic, his wife Amelia plots her revenge. Using witchcraft and a mystical medallion, Amelia tries to destroy everyone and everything in Larry’s life!

Jim Wynorski, he’s a master of schlock.  A man who frequently dabbles in horror and has his hand in some skin.  Here in Sorceress, the man combines both.  Without doing any sort of deep research, I can confidently say that this film likely saw most of its life on Cinemax or late night HBO or Showtime in the 1990s.  Maybe there was a special version cut for cable to air on USA Up All Night at some point.  Those are just my guesses because this movie either was that, or its a film that lends itself perfectly to that subgenre.

Sorceress has an incredibly thin plot to get by on.  There’s barely an interesting story here to contain itself in a feature length runtime.  What the plot serves as is a device to get from one nude or sex sequence to the next.  That’s pretty much all it does.  And yeah, the girls look pretty good here.  Julie Strain is in her prime with this film and was obviously only brought on for this.  She doesn’t have any scenes where she isn’t naked or getting it on with someone in the cast.  I also think she didn’t have much of a shoot either.  Her stuff could have been done in a couple of days or so.

Speaking of a couple of days; Linda Blair!  What is she doing in this movie?  This was obviously a nice paycheck for her and to get this movie some sort of star power.  Blair is fun as always here, but you can tell she wasn’t there for much of the shoot.  Its very rare in the film to see her leave the house.  She might go out in the yard, bu tall her stuff is inside and all the other characters go to her in the film or they end up having dialogue with her that takes place over the phone.  Oh, and she is the only female who does not take her top off.  Sorry to those who would be hoping for that.

Jim Wynorski has his fans and they’re gonna love that this has come to  Blu-ray in its full on unrated glory.  Aside from a couple cool kills in the film, I just couldn’t find myself invested in it.  The story is just thoroughly uninteresting and its lacking in camp factor and isn’t really “so bad its good” either.  BUT, it does have Linda Blair and I’m a big fan of her.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Leave it to Synapse Films to treat trash like an immaculate treasure.  Sorceress is no different.  For how cheap the source probably was, this looks great.  Its a hint soft, but is sharp as it probably can get without looking bad and is probably closer to its original appearance.  Details are terrific with clothing fabrics showing  discernible texture and patterns.

Depth:  Dimensions are decent.  Characters move naturally with minimal blur.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep, with solid work done on shading.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are pretty gorgeous on this transfer.  They are bright and vivid, but more bold and full.  The colors in the film make this quite fun to look at. 

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and keep a consistency throughout the duration of the feature.  Facial details, like makeup, lip texture, stubble and wrinkles all come through quite terrifically in close ups and smooth out a little in medium and far away shots. 

Noise/Artifacts:  There is some grain and a few specs/dirt, but this thing is clean.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  This is a very dialogue heavy film, but foley sounds and the like do sound free and well layered and rounded.  Sorceress has a more than good enough track to support it.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clean and clear with a hint of its analog hiss present.

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Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Jim Wynorski
  • With Director Jim Wynorski and special guest, SPFX Make-up Artist/Actor/Director Tom Savini

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Summary 

I wouldn’t consider myself a big Jim Wynorski fan as he’s a bit too hit or miss for me.  In the same vein, I do love someone like Andy Sideris for comparison of likeminded directors.  Sorceress features Linda Blair, which is what peaks my interest.  While she’s sorta handcuffed to one location, she’s still enjoyable to watch try and keep this thing afloat.  As per usual, Synapse has done a great job of transferring this film over to the Blu-ray format.  Oh yea, its got two commentaries as well.  Fans, this is likely the best you’ll ever get on it.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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