Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Witching Wednesdays - Witchcraft: Mistress of the Craft

Cody follows a supporting character on her own adventure as Witching Wednesdays continues.


Writer/director Elisar Cabrera drops the numbers for this entry. There's no "10" in the title, no Roman numeral, just its own subtitle. A subtitle that sounds kind of awkward with the repetition of the word "craft". Could've used a number in between there to separate it a bit more.

Aside from the "sequel in name only" part 8, this is the only movie in the Witchcraft series that doesn't feature franchise hero Will Spanner. He was only a newborn infant in part 1, but he was still there.

The first person we meet after the title sequence is a woman kneeling in a dark, candlelit chamber. Her voiceover tells us that she is Celeste, servant of the Lords of the Overworld in their battle against the forces of evil led by the Demons of the Underworld. There's a strange stalk-thing in front of Celeste, which she calls the Eye of Destiny. She lifts a lid at the top of the stalk and light glows from within as the voice of the Watcher of Chaos emanates from the Eye. The Watcher of Chaos warns Celeste that the servants of Morshenka are hoping to free him from the underworld to wreak chaos on Earth. At the end of the scene, Celeste informs us that she is the titular "Mistress of the Craft".

In a packed London nightclub, two guys spot a group of attractive girls hanging out and approach to ask a couple of them to dance. One of the girls, named Linnaca and played by popular TV hostess Emily Booth, leads her dance partner into a stairway and starts making out with him. Her friend Tansy joins them and the girls make out and reveal flesh as the guy watches. The guy's pants get pulled down, Tansy straddles him. Riding and more kissing follows, then things take a turn for the worse when the girls bare their vampiric fangs. A third woman, their leader Raven, joins in and they take turns biting the guy and sucking his blood.

A couple Agents for a special branch of Interpol called Bureau 17 have a man named Hyde in an interrogation room. They can connect Hyde to over thirty-five murders across the United States and intend to send him back to California to die in the electric chair. Hyde says their plans don't matter, "You'll all be dead soon." LAPD Detective Lucy Lutz is flying over with her extensive files on Hyde, and there's this movie's returning character - Detective Lutz was in parts 6, 7, and 9. She started out as a male in 6, became female without explanation in 7, and was played by Stephanie Beaton in 9. Beaton reprises the role in this one.

Lutz arrives at the airport and is picked up by Agent Chris Dixon. As Dixon drives her through the city, Lutz gives him some oral history on Hyde: he's a cult leader who the LAPD were suspicious of. When they entered his temple, they found all of his disciples dead, having apparently willingly lined up for Hyde to slit their throats, and a girl had been cut open on the altar. Dixon asks Lutz if the way the world is ever makes her want to quit. It doesn't. Lutz was once face-to-face with Hyde and wanted to riddle his body with bullets. Dixon understands.

Back at Bureau 17's Secret Base, Hyde is describing an act of cannibalism he commited in 1995. He ate a girl's liver, it was damn tasty.

Celeste arrives for a meeting with Director Markovec. He's called her in to get her unique perspective on Hyde and his ritualistic crimes. He shows her the info they have on Hyde and informs her that Hyde believes he's Satan himself. Celeste isn't sure how much help she can be, her speciality is the paranormal and supernatural, religion is another cup of tea altogether.

Still on the road, Lutz is telling Dixon about the time Will Spanner convinced her that they were dealing with vampires because the suspect wasn't visible on security camera tapes, a scene from Witchcraft 7. Dixon has had vampiric encounters himself. After all the strange things she's seen, Lutz tried to get transferred to the Los Angeles branch of Bureau 17, but her efforts hit a brick wall. Dixon says that's because you don't get transferred to B17, you have to be recruited.

Markovec brings Celeste into the interrogation room to let her get a quick look at Hyde while he tells the two Agents that questioning is over for the night. Her name is never mentioned, but after she exits Hyde says "Celeste Sheridan, I detect there's more to you than meets the eye." Hyde stands and Agent Dario tells him to stay seated. Hyde tells Dario that he would've made a good sacrifice, he'd love to remove his liver. Dario backhands Hyde, Hyde retaliates with some glowing eye contact, putting Dario into a trance. Agent Harris steps between them and punches Hyde, telling him they'll blindfold him if he keeps up that hypnosis crap.

Lutz and Dixon are entering the building as Celeste exits. Dixon introduces the women, then Celeste has to leave, she's late for dinner.

Lutz tells Markovec she'd like to have Hyde on a plane back to LA by tomorrow afternoon. Markovec doesn't see a problem with that. Lutz wants to see Hyde immediately, she needs to see with her own eyes that they really have captured him.

A security guard is patrolling the building when a karate chop knocks him to the floor. He climbs to his feet and is cornered by Linnaca and Tansy. They bite into his throat, then start making out. Raven arrives and breaks them up, they've got more work to do.

Agents Harris and Dario are escorting Hyde back to his cell when they see the three women coming down the hallway toward them. They recognize Raven and hustle back into the interrogation room. The women gather at the door and are confronted by a couple more security guards. The women pretend to give up, then make quick work of the two men, breaking necks and biting throats.

Lutz and Dixon are walking in a stairwell when they hear a gunshot. They hurry toward the source of the sound, which was Raven shooting her way into the interrogation room. The women kill Harris and Dario. Lutz and Dixon arrive and scuffle with the women. During the fight, Raven scratches Lutz on the arm and Dixon manages to stake Tansy with a wooden door wedge. Hyde backhands Dixon into unconsciousness and escapes with the two remaining women.

Raven and Linnaca lead Hyde to a park, where another woman is waiting for them. As the boom mic dips into frame, Raven tells Hyde why she rescued him - "We both serve evil." She asks him if he's ever heard of the ceremony of Walpurgis. Hyde says that Walpurgis is a storybook myth. He serves Satan, the only true master. Raven says she serves a greater god than Satan, one who rewards generously those who serve him, but if you are unworthy you will die. "What reward?" "Power! Beyond your wildest imaginations." "I am worthy. Tell me more." "We all are worthy." The women have a laugh.

Lutz and Dixon inform Markovec that Hyde was busted out by some vampire women. "Get Celeste Sheridan here now!"

Raven leads Hyde into his new hideout. Red sheets on the walls, leather chair, leopard print throw pillows. "Raven, you have exquisite taste." Hyde wants to know more about Walpurgis and the powers that her master can grant. She has a book on Walpurgis, but it's written in an ancient tongue that she knows little of. Her master can grant them unlimited power and they will serve by his side as he brings this world to its knees.

The dead bodies are being examined at Bureau 17 HQ. Lutz is anxious to recapture Hyde, but Markovec tells her that Hyde is the least of their problems now. Celeste arrives to inform Lutz that Raven is a hundred times worse than Hyde. Before she can elaborate, one of the dead security guards rises, showing his new vampire fangs. Celeste takes a fighting stance. There's a brief fight, ending with Celeste staking the vampire in the heart with the heel of her shoe.

Raven tells Hyde that they will be prince and princess in her master's world. "You're a very persuasive woman, Raven." They start making out.

Celeste tells Markovec that Raven would have to have a damn good reason to risk busting Hyde out, and it must be connected to Walpurgis. She reveals that Raven is the daughter of Louis Daminelli, the villain from Witchcraft III: Kiss of Death. Louis served a demon from the underworld named Morshenka, and the servants of Morshenka may try to free him at Walpurgis. Raven must need Hyde's help. Why? She must know something about his past. Celeste considers going out on the town to see if she can find any of Raven's vampire disciples, but Markovec tells her she should get some sleep.

At Dixon's home, Lutz runs a bath and examines the painful scratch on her arm.

Celeste goes home to find her live-in boyfriend Harry asleep on the couch. There are flowers in the kitchen and a note telling her that dinner is in the refrigerator. She uses telekinetic powers to pour herself a glass of orange juice.

Meanwhile, Raven and Hyde are having sex.

Harry wakes up and forgives Celeste for working late. She has to get up early, but makes time to have sex with Harry before going to sleep.

The movie cuts between the two sex scenes and Lutz doing a thorough job of cleaning herself in the bath. There is a whole lot of tongue involved in the Raven and Hyde scene, as well as some candle wax.

Lutz exits the bathroom to find Dixon waiting for her with drinks. She accepts a drink and makes a call back to the states. She calls her partner Detective Garner and asks a favor - if she doesn't make it back, tell her sister she loves her. After she finishes the call, Lutz and Dixon bond over their employment history. Dixon used to work for Scotland Yard and was recruited into Bureau 17 after dealing with a case that was out of this world. Dixon has always had a fascination with the occult, mysterious, and supernatural. He even has a theory on Jack the Ripper! Lutz decided to become a cop because her father was a cop. They weren't close, and she thought if she became a cop he would appreciate her more. Unfortunately, he was killed in a gang shootout before she graduated the academy. Dixon is sure her father is proud of her.

Lying in bed, Harry presents a ring to Celeste and proposes to her. She turns him down, but when asked why she won't give a clear answer. She tells him that he doesn't really know her. He storms out. She looks over at a framed picture of herself and the glass cracks.

Raven and her vampire women sleep, cuddled together. Hyde pulls out the Book of Morshenka and starts reading.

In Bureau 17's base the next day, Lutz asks Dixon how many supernatural killers he's dealt with. Dixon doesn't get to see much of that stuff, Celeste handles most of the paranormal work. Fighting fire with fire. Markovec enters and tells Dixon to take Lutz wherever she wants to spend the day, then go visit Celeste. Lutz wants to spend the day searching for Hyde. Markovec tells Lutz to leave things to B17. Hyde isn't their main priority anyway. Lutz and Dixon manage to convince Markovec that her input would be vital to the investigation.

Driving through the city, Dixon has Lutz call Celeste and ask her to meet them at Dixon's place.

Hyde has taken the Book of Morshenka to an abandoned mansion, where he's confronted by a couple men who have been squatting there. He kills one of them, the other offers to serve him so Hyde spares his life.

Lutz, Dixon, and Celeste look through the files on Hyde for references to Morshenka, the underworld, demons, and Walpurgis. Celeste believes that Raven rescued Hyde so he can help her in a ceremony. Judging by Hyde's previous Satanic ceremonies, Lutz guesses that killing will be involved. Celeste reminds her that Satanism has nothing to do with this, they're dealing with something more powerful.

As he has his new servant Mikey do seemingly random tasks, Hyde clutches a knife with a little skull on the end of the handle and continues reading the Book of Morshenka. He remembers that he read this book years ago but had dismissed it as mere fable. A specific passage catches his attention. It says to beware the holder of the Eye of Destiny, if the Eye is used against Morshenka as he leaves the underworld, Morshenka will be banished into limbo and his power absorbed by the Eye or whoever controls the Eye. Hyde seems to like the idea of controlling the Eye.

Celeste puts on her special crimefighting outfit, cape included, and arms herself with a sword. She's going vampire hunting. On her way out, Lutz informs her that Hyde assisted a professor of mythology at Berkeley. The professor taught Hyde dead languages and translated the Book of Morshenka, about the underworld's demon of pestilence. After leaving Berkeley, Hyde moved to a commune where the guru was a Satanist. Three years later, Hyde killed the guru and started his own cult in Texas. Raven must have the Book of Morshenka. Celeste thinks they should get in contact with the professor.

With night near, the vampires awaken. Raven demands to know where Hyde has taken her book. Hyde doesn't tell her and instead accuses her of not telling him everything. "It wasn't Morshenka's wish." It doesn't matter now, Hyde has already planned everything. Tonight will be Walpurgis. He needs the girls to bring him sacrifices and Markovec. To make sure Celeste isn't at the B17 base, they need a vampire girl to act as a decoy.

Lutz is disappointed to learn that the Berkeley professor was killed years ago by Louis Daminelli, who must've stolen the book from him. They're back to square one. Dixon can't help himself, he kisses Lutz. Pulling back, he apologizes. She shushes him, kisses him, and tosses him on the couch. They have sex. They attempt to French, but aren't as successful at getting their tongues to connect as Raven and Hyde were earlier.

Celeste stands on a rooftop and surveys the city. The eyes of Morshenka appear in the sky and the demon's voice tells her to give up, in a few hours Morshenka will be free and Celeste will be the first to feel the wrath. "I will defeat you, demon, or die trying."

Lutz and Dixon are napping on the couch when Celeste mentally projects herself into the room. Dixon wakes up and Celeste tells him they're running out of time, they need to meet at Bureau 17.

Hyde and Mikey walk along rooftops. Hyde orders Mikey to break in to the roof entrance of one building. He does this very easily.

It's night and a drunk guy is wandering the streets. Linnaca and another vampire girl appear out of the darkness, walk up to him and kill him. Celeste runs up to the man's body lying in an alley soon after. Linnaca and the other vampire stand at both ends of the alley, boxing Celeste in. Celeste and Linnaca fight, but it doesn't take long for Linnaca to get killed. The other vampire runs away.

Celeste senses a disturbance and mentally projects herself into her lair, where Hyde is stealing the Eye of Destiny, tearing the ball off the top of the stalk. Hyde tells Celeste that she's too late, he has the Eye of Destiny and will soon be the most powerful warlock on Earth.

Harry arrives home. Celeste calls his mobile phone, but he sets the phone aside when he finds Mikey going through the kitchen cupboards. Harry lands a good punch on Mikey before Hyde comes up behind him and knocks him out. Hyde mocks Celeste over the phone and takes Harry with him to be a sacrifice.

Markovec is looking through files in his office. Raven and her vampire girls walk the halls of the Bureau 17 base, Raven giving orders: "Kill everyone you see, drain them dry, and bring Markovec to me." The girls attack a couple female employees while Raven goes to Markovec's office. Markovec tells her she's made a big mistake, the place is crawling with his Agents. She won't get out alive. A vampire girl informs them that all of the Agents are already dead. Markovec wards off Raven with a cross, but is dumb enough to turn his back on the other vampire. He gets grabbed from behind and quickly subdued.

Celeste stops by her lair and finds something interesting on the floor.

Lutz and Dixon arrive at Bureau 17 H.Q. and finds dead Agents scattered throughout the building. Entering Markovec's office, Dixon answers a phone call from Celeste and informs her that Markovec's missing. Celeste is coming to the base.

Hyde is pacing with the Eye of Destiny when Mikey confirms he's gotten everything he needs. Hyde hands the Eye over to Mikey and tells him to be careful with it or his life won't be worth living.

Celeste meets up with Lutz and Dixon in Markovec's office. She shows Dixon what she found in her lair: a nightclub matchbook. That's my guess, anyway. The camera never gives us a good look at the object. Dixon says he knows the place. What are they waiting for? It's a trap. Hyde wants Celeste to be there. Celeste tells the others that Hyde has the Eye of Destiny and what he intends to do with it. Celeste then says that before they can leave the base, they have to stake all of the dead bodies so they don't turn into vampires. Her point is proven when a vampire Agent rushes into the office and attacks.

After that vampire is staked, Lutz and Dixon go on a staking mission. It doesn't go smoothly, they end up getting chased through the building by vampires. They manage to lock themselves inside a room, then Celeste shows up to handle the situation. She kicks some vampire ass, blasting one with a magical ball of energy.

Vampire girl Delilah has a willing Harry cornered in a nightclub stairway. She's about to make a meal of him when Hyde interrupts her. He brought Harry there to be a sacrifice, not her plaything. Why does he have to sacrifice the cute ones? Hyde uses his hypnosis trick to tell Harry to exit the building and wait for him.

Lutz and Dixon arrive at the nightclub and scour the crowd for vampire girls. When they spot a couple, Lutz tells Dixon to distract them while she goes searching for Markovec. Dixon dances with the vampire girls while Lutz goes into the club's basement. Celeste also shows up at the nightclub, using magic to open an exit. Hyde knocks Dixon out and an alarm goes off, causing the crowd to empty out of the building.

In the smoky basement, Lutz is attacked by Raven and a vampire cohort. Raven manages to bite Lutz on the arm before Celeste enters and scares the vampires back with a magic light cross. Lutz and Celeste escape upstairs. Reaching the dance floor, they're both quickly captured by vampire women.

Hyde enters, clapping. Raven greets him. Hyde comments that if they had time, they could torture Celeste to death. But they have a date with destiny. "Morshenka will be free." Celeste tells Raven that Hyde is lying to her, he's stolen the Eye of Destiny and can use it to steal Morshenka's power. The vampire girls turn against Hyde, so he stakes one and gets out of there.

This has distracted the vampire girls enough that Lutz and Celeste can get free. A pink haired vampire attacks Celeste and gets decapitated. Celeste then fights off Raven, who retreats with her vampires.

Celeste tells Lutz that they have to follow the baddies before it's too late, reiterating Hyde's plan. They notice that Dixon is missing... Hyde may have him. Lutz's arm hurts and she's afraid that she'll soon be a vampire herself. Celeste assures her that she'll recover.

Lutz and Celeste then rush off to the abandoned mansion that Hyde has his ceremony set up in, where they will have to fight Raven and more of her vampire girls, rescue the several people who Hyde intends to sacrifice, and stop both plans involving Morshenka.

Following the very simplistic part 9, this one had all kinds of stuff going on. It's cheap and enjoyable. The vampire action was fun, especially after Celeste became a costume-wearing vampire hunter and started kicking ass in fights with not-exactly-impressive choreography. This movie may also have the worst acting performance in the franchise. I'm not naming names, but this performance is delivered by a certain male villain. I know he was given some clunky, ridiculous dialogue, but still...

Stephanie Beaton is a likeable actress, and she stuck with the franchise for one more movie after this. She returns in Witchcraft XI, as does Will Spanner. We'll welcome our hero back and see Beaton off (!) in next week's Witching Wednesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment