Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Witching Wednesdays - Witchcraft XV: Blood Rose

Cody watches the second chapter in a quickly filmed trilogy for Witching Wednesdays.

Witchcraft XIV: Angel of Death director David Palmieri continues the story he began with that film in Witchcraft XV: Blood Rose, which he shot within the same two week time frame as XIV and the next film. Three movies made back-to-back-to-back for less than $10,000 total.

Blood Rose is just 81 minutes long, but it gets to that length with the aid of 10 minutes of stock footage that are put right up front, showing us the climax of Angel of Death all over again. There is some new footage mixed in with the stock footage, though, and it shows us what witches Sharon and Tara were doing while they were off screen. As franchise hero Will Spanner and detectives work to save fledgling witch Rose from the clutches of evil warlock Samuel, literally the "angel of death", in his yoga studio, Sharon takes Tara off into a side room in the yoga studio to create some sex magic. Sex magic, or erotic magic, is the most powerful magic there is, bestowed upon us by the Earth, and the energy Sharon and the bewitched Tara generate during their love session is meant to help vanquish the forces battling their buddy Samuel.

So while the ending of XIV plays out, Sharon and Tara rub their naked bodies against each other... and fail to help Samuel. As we saw before, Rose used her witch lightning powers to defeat him. Once this happens, Sharon makes peace with it - Samuel was corrupted by the forces of evil, Rose was right to vanquish him. Now Rose must be protected, as she is fragile but useful.

Running into Will as he exits the yoga studio, they feign ignorance about Samuel's corruption and avoid getting in trouble with the warlock hero. He tells them to keep the yoga studio open and run it like it should be run, with white magic only, then goes on his way.

The title sequence plays out, and while a special logo with XIV added to it was made for the previous film, this time the original Witchcraft logo was not altered in any way. "Witchcraft XV" is superimposed over it, then gets wiped off the screen in a wave of flame to be replaced by the subtitle, "Blood Rose". When the two minute long title sequence has ended, the story has jumped ahead to One Month Later.

Sharon is now running the yoga studio she co-founded with Samuel and having secretive phone conversations. In the previous film, Samuel would make phone calls to someone with a creepy voice, but this time we don't get to hear whoever Sharon's talking to. We only know they tell her she needs to do something with the powerful and promising student Rose "for the greater good". Sharon isn't sure if Rose will cooperate, as she doesn't understand how the coven operates, but she'll try to persuade her. Like Samuel before her, Sharon ends her phone conversation by saying "Into the light, out of the darkness. Aradia be praised."

"Aradia be praised" is something we'll be hearing a lot during this movie.

Tara is handling custodial duties in the yoga studio now, and is planning to rework the studio's website because it's so ugly she can't even stand to look at it. "How are we supposed to rebuild the coven without an effective internet presence?" Sharon tells Tara she's doing a great job, and Tara admits that she's pretty amazing. Sharon then asks Tara to send Rose into her office, and Tara calls Rose the "teacher's pet". Sharon assures her she loves all of her students equally.

Sharon then works a spell that involves burning a piece of paper in a small pot, causing a magical flash of light.

While Tara struggles through her dyslexia to update the website, she tells Rose that Sharon wants to see her and promises the skittish girl that everything's cool; Sharon isn't the one who killed her mom or tried to sacrifice her. Rose understands, it's just going to take some time to get over the events of Angel of Death.

When Rose enters Sharon's office, Sharon greets her as her favorite student - don't tell Tara and the others. Rose has certain abilities the coven needs to take advantage of, and Sharon begins to take advantage by sitting on the floor and having Rose place her head in her lap. This supposed to be an early lesson, as Sharon has been told they need to speed up Rose's training because there are forces at work that could harm the coven. But it's a trick, and Sharon psychically forces her way into Rose's mind. As magic light flashes, Sharon tells Rose's consciousness to "Move aside!" as Rose's thoughts cry out that she feels like she's disappearing.

Detective Garner is on stakeout outside a motel, making jokes while talking to his partner Lutz on the phone. Garner watches a prostitute called Eden, who's played by genre enthusiast / porn star Diana Prince, enter a motel room. We then join Eden inside the room for an almost-two minute sequence of watching her as she gets ready for work. She spends most of that time topless. If you're disappointed when she first pulls her top up, don't worry, because she is shown pulling that top up and down multiple times.

The film then cuts directly to her working in that room, having sex with a john named Jamal. They're interrupted by a psychic message from Rose/Sharon, telling Jamal that he is Hell's prodigy and will serve as a vessel, a conduit. Seeing her john freak out over this, Eden gets off the bed. Jamal shudders, blood pours from his mouth, his face morphs a bit... and just when it looks like he has died, Garner comes in threatening to bust Eden for the third time. It's not prostitution he busts her for this time, though. Now it looks like she's a murderer.

This is mission accomplished for Sharon. She rises from her office floor and calls in Tara to take the dazed Rose home, explaining that she's wiped out from a super intense training session. When the girls leave, Sharon makes a phone call to notify her boss, "It's done."

Sleeping at home, Rose dreams of a sex scene from Witchcraft 13 as well as images of the convulsing Jamal while a voiceover from Sharon informs her that she was conceived in darkness, the child of three monsters, born of earthly loins to serve a higher plane. She needs to open herself to her destiny, and to Sharon.

Rose wakes up and Tara comes into her room to ask her what happened in Sharon's office. She doesn't remember much, but she does remember Sharon saying she wanted to guide her from the inside, which sounds pretty "lesbitronic" to Tara. Rose felt like Sharon slipped into her mind and was wearing her, which is a more intense level of mind control than what Tara has been working on lately. Rose confides in Tara that she felt like she was killing the man she saw, and Tara brushes this off as nothing special. "To be fair, you've done it before." Rose is still upset, because she had those powers under control.

Rose also thinks that stock footage sex scene, which was between the characters Will Spanner and Keely in Witchcraft 13, was a vision of the moment she was conceived, even though the people she saw didn't look like her parents. We haven't seen Rose's dad, but her mom definitely didn't look anything like Keely.

It's revealed that Rose and Tara have taken in another witch roommate when a cheerful girl named Danielle comes barging into the room, showering them with love. She's giving compliments because she needs them to clear out; her boyfriend is coming over and he can't get it up when he knows they're in the house. They can't have sex at his place because he also has roommates. Rose refuses to leave her own house, so Danielle storms out, saying she hates living here. Sharon makes her, and her only other option is the YWCA.

Lutz and Garner interrogate Eden in their tiny office we first saw in Witchcraft XIV. Eden tells her side of the story, which we know is the truth, even the part about Jamal going all Linda Blair. Unless she comes up with a better story, she's going to be charged with murder. Eden insists she's innocent; she just booked a role on It's Always Sunny, she wouldn't kill someone when her career is taking off. Garner books her anyway.

Looking at the crime scene photo of Jamal's body, a disgusted Lutz says, "Jesus." Will suddenly appears in the office, yelling "Hardly!" in Lutz's ear. A startled Lutz tells him he'd be dead if her gun was unholstered, Will says he tried death and it wasn't his style - a reference to Witchcraft 9 / the ending of Witchcraft 7. Will is here because Lutz needs his expertise. The death of Jamal looks like a dark forces kill, and Will figures that it was a message, the killer wanted the body to be discovered. Jamal must have committed a heretical act against a coven.

Sharon teaches a witchcraft yoga lesson to a class that includes returning students from XIV - even the pervert the girls cast a migraine spell on to get him to leave the studio. Sharon seems to be on good terms with him now.

When the class is over, Will shows up. Sharon suggests he take advantage of their special, ten classes for the price of eight, but Will's back would never forgive him. Will shows Sharon a crime scene photo of Jamal's body and agrees with her that it's gruesome. Tara uses some magic to eavesdrop on them while Sharon denies being involved with Jamal's death and Will accuses her of carrying on Samuel's evil ways. Will doesn't have any proof yet, though, so Sharon sends him away and tells him Lutz and Garner will need a warrant or a yoga mat if they want to enter the yoga studio again.

Tara calls Rose to tell her what happened between Will and Sharon. Did Sharon use Rose to kill Jamal? If so, Tara will leave the coven with Rose. In the middle of their conversation, Sharon summons Rose to her office.

Will makes a call to his detective pals and suggests they come over to the yoga studio and "double team Sharon".

Rose comes to Sharon's office as requested, and Sharon is surprisingly honest with her. She admits that she used Rose's powers to kill Jamal, who was one of hundreds of children fathered by Samuel during the eons he was on Earth. The Oracle, a seer for the coven, told Sharon that Jamal would one day realize his true lineage and try to resurrect Samuel. Jamal was killed for the good of mankind, but Rose is still upset that she was used. Sharon needs someone else dead, though. The girl who was with Eden. She's afraid she knows too much. Rose refuses to let Sharon use her power to clean up her mess. Sharon is proud of her for standing up for herself and believes that Rose will be leading the coven someday.

During this scene, Rose also tells Sharon about the dream she had of her own conception, which she says felt like she was "watching a movie". She was, she was watching Withcraft 13! Sharon tells her the people she saw were her real parents. Beth wasn't her mother, she was assigned to her by the coven, who have had their eyes on her for a while.

We're not supposed to think Will and Keely are Rose's parents, so I guess we're not supposed to realize that was stock footage.

Rose forgives Sharon, she just doesn't want her to use her powers to kill people anymore. Sharon appears to understand, but when Rose goes to bed that night she again dreams of sex scenes from previous Witchcraft movies (I don't immediately recognize these ones like the 13 footage) while Sharon provides a voiceover about her being the child of three mothers. Three powers, brought together by three loins to be the coven's savior. Rose makes some very weird and amusing moaning sound while having these dreams... and when she wakes up, she switches bodies with Sharon.

Released from the police station after a mysterious person paid her bail, Eden makes a phone call to tell a friend that she's leaving California, going away to New York. She's a classically trained actress, she belongs on Broadway... And speaking of her being an actress, Diana Prince actually does a pretty good acting job in this film. Unfortunately, this is her last moment in the film, as Sharon reaches out to her with Rose's powers. Eden coughs up blood and collapses on the sidewalk.

Danielle and her boyfriend are having sex when they're disrupted by the sounds of Rose's weird moans. He can't finish.

Back in her own body, Rose asks "What did I do?" Then Danielle comes in to bitch her out about her moaning sounds, even doing an impression of the horrible noise, saying she sounded like a sick animal. Rose says she was having a nightmare. "Well, your nightmares are boner killers."

Tara comes in and sends Danielle away, and Rose tells her Sharon used her to kill someone again, having forced herself into her mind. That sounds "lezariffic" to Tara. Rose and Tara are baffled as to how Sharon pulled off the Freaky Friday body switch. If Sharon is strong enough to take over Rose's body, how can she stop her from using her again? Tara shrugs.

Lutz and Garner reach the scene of Eden's death and make it very clear that Rose is now their top suspect.

Sharon gets another phone call and is hesitant to do whatever she has been ordered to do because Rose is so powerful. But she's a loyal servant, so she agrees to it. When her office door opens, Sharon tells Tara to summon Rose without looking. But it's not Tara who entered, it's Lutz and Garner.

Will stops by Rose's house, where the only person home is Danielle. Danielle is very cheerful and curious, and suspects that Will and Rose are having a sexual relationship - "Hello daddy!" (That line has a deeper meaning when you take into account the stock footage of Will being passed off as footage of Rose's father.) Danielle offers Will something to drink and he declines, but he does want to take a quick peek into her brain.

Will puts his hand on Danielle's head, light flashes, and we hear the sound of electricity. He has her under his spell and asks her what's going on at the yoga studio.

Rose arrives at the yoga studio and Tara lets her know Lutz and Garner are there, which is a good thing. If Sharon is using her, she can't do anything while the cops are there. Rose joins Sharon, Lutz, and Garner in the office, where Sharon tells her the police think they're involved with a woman's murder. Lutz and Garner want to ask Rose some questions at the police station, and Sharon advises her to tell them everything she knows. Don't hold back anything.

On the way out, Lutz and Garner give Rose two minutes to talk to Tara and let her know what's going on. Rose is going to take this chance to tell the truth without Sharon around, but Tara wants her to make sure she doesn't tell them anything that would get herself in trouble. The cops don't understand magic, she can't use it as an alibi.

As Rose leaves with the detectives, Sharon comes to Tara's desk to tell her she's exhausted. She needs Tara to cancel her classes for the day, then Tara can have the day off, too. Tara is happy to hear this.

Sharon then goes happily skipping into one of the rooms, puts a black cloth in her mouth, ties her ankles to the legs of a stool, wraps a rope around her wrists, and does her "reaching out psychically" trick. Garner is making phone calls in another room while Lutz talks to Rose in their office, telling her they need her to tell them what's going on with Sharon, she doesn't owe Sharon anything.

Rose appears to be about to tell the truth about Sharon... and then Sharon pulls off the body switch again. Rose is now bound and gagged in the yoga studio while Sharon is in her body in the police station. When the body switch happened earlier, the girls also swapped voices, but now that Sharon has to talk to someone else while in Rose's body it's Rose's voice that comes out. Sharon/Rose tells Lutz that Samuel wasn't killed, even though they saw Samuel get destroyed - and we get to see that stock footage again to drive the fact home. Samuel's soul is cursed to remain on our plain until he can summon his godly form from Hell and reunite it with his physical being on Earth. Whatever that means. I don't think it's possible to find Samuel's physical form anymore, since Rose blasted it away with some magic light.

Sharon/Rose tells Lutz about Jamal being Samuel's son and trying to bring him back, and Eden being connected to the coven somehow. Lutz reveals why she and Garner were certain Rose was involved when they were at the scene of Eden's death: Eden had written Rose's name in blood on the sidewalk. The movie couldn't be bothered to show us a cutaway to that earlier. Sharon/Rose says Eden must have found out the coven had asked her to use her powers against her and assumed it was her when she was attacked. Lutz wants to know the names of the people in the coven, but Sharon/Rose claims not to know them.

Lutz isn't convinced Rose isn't involved with the deaths, but sends her away for now. As soon as Rose exits, Will appears in the room. He won't tell Lutz how he manages to magically appear in there all the time, but he does tell her that he can sense Rose was involved with the deaths, although he doesn't think she's guilty. Somehow she committed the crime, yet didn't. He scanned Danielle's brain, but didn't find anything, it was like searching through an empty trash can. The yoga studio is involved, and in hindsight they should have shut it down last month.

Will has figured out that there someone involved has a tattoo that represents a doorway or conduit. The murder of Jamal wasn't a warning, but a sign. A sign of nothing good.

Sharon/Rose goes to the yoga studio and visits with Rose in her own body, complimenting Rose on her body and her natural boobs, even though she won't get anywhere in Hollywood with natural boobs. She unties Rose/Sharon, removes the gag, then switches bodies. Back in her own body, Rose threatens to go back to the police station and tell the truth, but Sharon says she was protecting Rose by taking over while she talked to the police. Besides, she's a part of the coven, and when the coven makes a decision they have to live by it. Life as a witch isn't fair.

Danielle and her boyfriend have the house to themselves and are starting to have sex when the phone rings. She has to answer it - and it's Sharon, telling Danielle she's her favorite student. Sharon has a job for Danielle to do, so she gives up on the sex even though her boyfriend is hard.

Danielle puts a mind control spell on her boyfriend, and when Rose gets home she knocks her unconscious with a magic zap. She then has her zombie boyfriend carry Rose out of the house. As they head out, she mentions that she wants to get a slushie before they go to the yoga studio.

Will magically barges into Lutz and Garner's office to tell them, "I have something!" The tattoo on Jamal, some witches and warlocks have it and it acts as a conduit, making them a doorway to other plains. Now that Jamal is dead, the tattoo can work as it's meant to, allowing a spirit to cross over into his corpse. Will was talking about this tattoo earlier, so I don't know why he didn't spill the details back then.

At the yoga studio, a very excited Danielle, happy to have been called Sharon's favorite, is helping Sharon prepare for a ritual that involves a tied up Rose and Jamal's corpse, laying on the floor in the middle of a pentagram.

Rose had been unable to get in contact with Tara, and when Tara arrives home at their empty house she walks around the place looking for Rose, explaining that her phone battery died.

Will, Lutz, and Garner return to the yoga studio. Will can sense that Samuel is either in the yoga studio or about to be, so he decides to go into the building alone. This is too dangerous for Lutz and Garner.

Before the ritual officially begins, Sharon sends Danielle away. In case anything bad happens, she needs Danielle to make it through this situation safely so she can take over the witchcraft yoga studio. Danielle likes that idea.

Rose tries to talk sense to Sharon - Samuel wasn't a warlock, he was a demon. He wanted to rule over humanity with his dark, evil magic and create Hell on Earth. Sharon is into that idea. Samuel wasn't destroyed, his life endures in every child he sired, and that man got around. And we get to see more stock footage of sex scenes to assure us that he did get around. Jamal is the perfect conduit for Samuel's return, and when Samuel is back Sharon is going to feed Rose's flesh to him.

Will Samuel rise again in Jamal's body? If so, will he snack on Rose? Or will Will save the day? And are Lutz and Garner really just going to stand outside while the final confrontation takes place inside? Will Danielle and her boyfriend ever get to have uninterrupted sex? These questions are answered by the time the film wraps up at the 75 minute point, leading into 6 minutes of end credits.

There's not a lot to Witchcraft XV, with there barely being over an hour of content between the title sequence, the end credits, and the stock footage. There's not even much to the story it tells - Sharon uses Rose to kill a couple people, then does some body switching shenanigans. And yet despite its lack of substance, I think I might have enjoyed it more than its predecessor, which had more of a story. Blood Rose was quicker and more entertaining, and somehow all of the returning cast members came off better this time around.

It wasn't good, but I had a better time watching it.

The film ends in a way that could have easily led into a sequel, and since three of these were made at the same time with the same cast you'd probably expect them to tell a complete story, a connected trilogy. But while Angel of Death led directly into Blood Rose, the next sequel does not pick up on the open ending of this one. As we'll see in next month's installment of Witching Wednesdays, Witchcraft XVI goes meta.


  1. I watched all sixteen movies this past October. While I'm all for a franchise continuing - especially so many years after the original - and love that we're still watching the same characters - when so many franchises just tell random tales under the umbrella title - but boy these last three were a slog. Wildly, the two best movies in the run were like 9 and 11 (!) - the ones with Stephanie Beaton as Lutz. I know Ron Ford directed one I liked. I'm glad I knocked them all out, and if a 17 shows up I will keep the streak going, but I hope any new ones find the right balance of horror and boobies to match the best of the earlier movies.

    1. I'm amazed the new trilogy even turned out as "good" as it did, considering the budget and shooting schedule for all three.

      - Cody