Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Witching Wednesdays - Witchcraft VII: Judgment Hour

Cody finds out what happens when a warlock meets a vampire in the new Witching Wednesday.


Jerry Feifer was a producer on all of the Witchcraft movies, but this one's special - for part 7, Feifer also got a "Story by" credit.

It begins at a mansion. Inside, a swanky party is going on. Well-off men and women in dresses and suits, a waiter carrying around alcoholic drinks on a tray. A man with a long ponytail surveys the crowd and finds a woman standing off on her own in a side room, drinking milk with a straw. "Such a wholesome drink for a woman in your profession," he tells her. "Well, it builds good bones." She offers the milk to him, but he declines. "Never touch the stuff." He sets the glass aside and they start making out. He removes her clothes, having an odd reaction when he sees that she's wearing a cross necklace. The cross is removed along with everything else she's wearing.

The man takes the straw out of the glass of milk and proceeds to dribble milk all over the woman's body. After almost two minutes of that, he bares his fangs, revealing himself to be a vampire. He bites the woman's neck and does what vampires do. A snake randomly slithers around on the floor, wrapped up in the discarded cross necklace.

Later, the woman's sheet-covered body is loaded into an ambulance, which then speeds off through the city.

At the hospital, we meet up with franchise hero Will Spanner, now played by David Byrnes. Will enters the film at just under 7 minutes in, a much earlier introduction than in the last few movies. Will is there to talk to an upset couple whose son was hit by a drunk driver. The drunk is cuffed to a bed down the hall, sleeping it off. Their son is in Intensive Care.

Will is getting some water for the mother when the girl who was bitten at the party, Rachel, is wheeled into the emergency room by paramedics. Her panicking friend grabs Will, yelling "She's my roommate, they can't let her die!" She pulls him into an observation room. The friend, Sally, tells Will that something happened to Rachel at a great party at the Polytechnic Institute, she just found her on the floor. Will informs her that he's an attorney.

A doctor comments that the unconscious, pale Rachel "looks like she's seen a ghost". She starts to flatline and the actress seems to be smiling as the doctor uses defibrillator paddles to try to revive her. He is unsuccessful.

Elsewhere, a girl gets out of a shower and walks out into a hallway to dry herself with a towel. Enthusiastically watching through a telescope is Detective Garner, his partner Detective Lutz smoking nearby. Lutz takes over the telescope to watch the girl get dressed. Garner and Lutz are on a stakeout. These detective characters were also in part 6, but have been recast and look very different. Garner was bald in part 6, now he's got a full head of stylish hair. Lutz was a man in part 6, now he's an attractive blonde female.

The shower girl's boyfriend enters and starts taking off the clothes she just put on. He's Nick Taylor, escaped con from San Quentin, the reason for the stakeout. Lutz calls in backup and goes in to make the arrest. We watch the couple roll around on the bed together for a while, fooling around with a blue light before moving on to blue-lit sex.

As a boom mic dips into frame, the emergency room doctor lets in a priest to give Rachel the last rites while Will continues to watch from the observation room. The priest's cross bursts into flames and he hurries out of the room. Will pulls out his cell phone.

Nick and his girl are interrupted when police kick down the bedroom door. Luckily, they've put their underwear back on. As the couple are led out by officers, Lutz is told over her walkie talkie that she's got an urgent call from Will. "I haven't heard from him in about two years..."

Lutz and Garner meet up with Will at the hospital and he takes them in to look at Rachel's body. Official word is that Rachel died of a heart attack, despite the large bite wound on her neck. Lutz says it looks like a snakebite, Will says the teeth are too far apart. Garner reminisces about a girl he hooked up with in high school who resembled Rachel. Rachel suddenly wakes up and climbs off the gurney, tossing Will and Lutz around the room when they get too close. Garner pulls his gun, Rachel knocks it out of his hand and knees him in the groin before walking out.

Soon after, Lutz drives Garner and Will through town as they ponder what's up with Rachel. PCP? Killer bee sting? Viper bite, driven crazy by the venom? Garner wants to put out an APB, but Lutz shoots that idea down. Rachel has to be around here somewhere, she couldn't have gotten too far... Lutz is going to hold off on filing a report, it sounds too crazy.

A jogger is running through the rain when Rachel joins him, still dressed in nothing but her hospital gown. She runs in front of the jogger and he follows her bare ass out of the rain, off the sidewalk and into a fenced-in, overgrown area. She stops and allows the jogger to catch up with her. He offers her water, she tosses it aside. They kiss and disrobe for some outdoors sex.

Continuing to drive around, Lutz changes her mind and calls in an APB for Rachel.

Rachel sinks her fangs into the jogger's neck. Will spots her as Lutz drives him past the fenced-in area. Lutz stops the car and she and Will climb over the fence, but Garner's testicles are still hurting from being kneed so he has to walk around. Lutz interrupts Rachel's jogger snack, shooting her a couple times. This only puts Rachel down for a few seconds before she's up and knocking Lutz and Will around again. Will grabs a nearby stick and impales Rachel with it. This puts her down for good. Garner arrives when the fight is over. Will is worried, he could get disbarred for killing Rachel. Lutz assures him that she and Garner will take care of it, they'll say Rachel tripped and fell on the stick during pursuit.

At the Polytechnic Institute, police Captain Vontana is telling a P.R. guy named Kent to get a list of everyone who was at the party last night. Kent insists that Rachel was fine when she left, but Vontana demands he get to work on the list and do everything he can to keep his silly butt out of jail.

Kent is called into the office of a man named Costanza. Costanza says Kent was hired because of his expertise in handling situations like this, he needs to make sure that negative press is kept to a minimum. If the merger with Cobalt Corporations falls through, Poly Clinic will be closed due to lack of funds.

Lutz and Garner head to their cars at the end of their busy day at work. Garner's testicles are still hurting but he gives flirting with Lutz a try anyway. She lets him down easy.

Will arrives to find Keli, his girlfriend from 5 and 6, now played by April Breneman, waiting for him. She's been up all night, worrying. She thinks Will was with another woman, and she wants to know who. She wants a name, first and last. Will says it's not what she thinks, but gives a name - Rachel. He doesn't know her last name. The questioning continues, but Will doesn't give satisfactory answers so Keli starts beating him with a pillow. Will grabs her and shoves her down on the bed, leaving as she starts sobbing.

Will goes to a cemetery and visits his mother's grave, where he also starts sobbing. He grabs a handful of wet dirt and rubs it on his face. He asks God to give him strength.

Will returns home and washes his face as Keli sits silently in the bedroom. Face clean, Will joins her on the bed. Keli asks more questions about Rachel. Yes, she was beautiful. But he didn't have sex with her, he killed her. Hearing this, Keli comforts Will and tells him to tell her what happened. "It was this power, Keli, I'd never seen it before." He might be in trouble, he doesn't know from who. Keli wants him to promise not to put himself in danger. He can't promise. "There's some things that you can't avoid even if you want to." Keli tells him that she's there for him and she loves him. "I love you, Keli. I just don't want my pain to be yours." "It is my pain, whether you like it or not. It is mine." "Then help me wash it away." They have sex.

A limo cruises the city streets. Inside rides Costanza and Martin, the vampire from the beginning. Martin is complaining about America's ignorance of opera. He saw La boheme when it was first performed. Costanza, who refers to Martin as Master, acknowledges "That must've been quite a cultural experience." They move on to talking business. The paperwork for the Poly/Cobalt merger will be signed tomorrow at midnight, putting them in control of most of the nation's blood supply. To reward their hard work, Martin deserves some refreshment. The limo pulls over to a street prostitute and Costanza hires her services, exiting the limo as she gets in.

Martin tells the limo driver to take them to some place dark, then starts to kiss the prostitute. Clothes are shed before Martin finally bites her neck and sucks her blood. Bats fly through the night sky, the full moon in the background.

The prostitute ends up in shackles in Martin's decrepit lair, Martin napping on a nearby table with a snake on his chest.

At the police department, Captain Vontana isn't buying Lutz's report that a corpse came alive at the hospital and knocked around two police officers and a defense lawyer. Garner and Will can back her up. Lutz wants the case, Will will work with them for free. Vontana is convinced to let Lutz and Garner handle the case, as long as they keep it out of the press. The mayor is up for re-election, he doesn't need a weirdo psycho killer getting all the headlines.

Sitting in his office, Will makes a call on his old fashioned candlestick phone but takes no effort in directing his voice toward the mouthpiece. He's calling Jack, who works at INS and is the father of the boy who was hurt in the drunk driving accident. The boy is now in stable condition and Jack has gone home to take care of some things, which appears to include relaxing beside the fireplace while reading a book. Will asks him to send over some information on the Romanian guys behind Polytechnic. It's not exactly kosher, but Jack will do it for a friend.

Will meets up with Lutz and Garner and they stop by the Polytechnic mansion. Will slicks his hair back for the occasion. Lutz and Garner ask a security guard about the heads of Polytechnic and get his permission to look around. They've only walked around the corner when they are stopped by Costanza. Lutz introduces her group to him, saying Will is a special investigator. They're here to investigate the murder. Costanza says there was no murder, the girl just had a weak heart. Such a pity. He'll allow them to look around the room Rachel was found in, but doubts there's much for them to see.

At first it seems that Costanza is right, there's nothing to see that those thorough sons of bitches in forensics haven't already checked. Then Garner spots their "ace in the hole" - a security camera.

The investigative trio review the security tape at the police department. They find Rachel on the tape, but there's no sign of Martin. It looks like she's just undressing and writhing around by herself. Garner makes a joke about coitus with the Invisible Man, but Will figures out what's going on quick - "What you're witnessing is a woman in the midst of being victimized by a vampire." Lutz and Garner are not receptive to this idea, but Will is insistent. "That is a vampire doing the deed!" Vampires can't be photographed. Garner: "I find that hard to swallow." Lutz: "That's what she said."

Having been shot down by Lutz and Garner, Will goes home. Keli is waiting for him, in a much better mood than she was yesterday. Jack has not called. Will complains about the police not believing him, then admires Keli's new robe. "What do you have underneath it?" "Why don't you try and find out?" They have sex again.

Vontana informs Lutz and Garner that he's gotten a call from the mayor, who told him they need to lay off the Polytechnic Institute. Someone over there must have some pretty high connections, and Vontana doesn't want anyone messing with his connections to his weekly paycheck. "Nobody messes with my porkchops." Lutz and Garner agree to leave the Polytechnic guys alone, but they still have an unsolved murder. They need to visit Rachel's roommate Sally.

In his lair, Martin does some moves with a sword. Costanza enters and lets him know that the investigation has been stopped. Martin isn't so sure that's the end of it and gives an analogy comparing the police officers' curiosity to that of a boy in the throes of his first hormonal surge. Costanza has found out that Will Spanner is not on the police payroll. Martin knows that Will is the most curious of them all. Costanza offers to have the investigators hunted down and killed, but Martin tells him to have the patience of a spider. Wait for his prey to come into the web.

Lutz and Garner stop by Rachel and Sally's apartment, and through the door hear Sally going through a dominatrix routine for a nerdy client. Listening to Sally berate the guy, Garner comments "Sounds like my ex-wife." Lutz agrees, "Yeah, it does." "How would you know?" The nerdy guy is nothing but a maggot. He's worse than a maggot, he's even lower than a maggot that crawled out of the ass of a worm. Lutz and Garner pull their guns and enter the apartment. The client makes an escape while Sally battles the cops with her whip and a stuffed toy rabbit.

The security guard who the detectives talked to is called in to Martin's lair. For giving the police the security tape, he's fired. The security guard asks for severance pay. "You want severance? I'll give you severance." Martin decapitates him with his sword.

Will and Keli are asleep in bed. Will wakes up and goes downstairs to call Jack. Jack is having sex with his wife, who is enthusiastically riding him with her panties still on. Will's call interrupts them. Will received a package from Jack on the Polytechnic guys, but hasn't looked through it. He wants Jack to fill him in on the skinny of it. Jack says they have a saying down at the INS - if a foreigner's loaded with cash, they're legal. Polytechnic is buying out the Cobalt Financial Group, the main insuring agent for the nation's blood supply. That will give them a procedural control on the blood. Will tells Jack he has to stop the merger.

A bat flies past the full moon and into Will and Keli's bedroom. Looking at Keli as she sleeps, the bat morphs into Martin. He runs his hands over her body, cups a breast, pulls down her nightie. He bites her neck. Drinking his fill, Martin backs away from Keli and she begins touching herself.

Downstairs, Will looks at Martin's birth certificate, which says he was born in 1587.

Martin and Kent hold court at the Polytechnic-Cobalt merger meeting.

Will returns to his bedroom and doesn't notice anything out of the ordinary, getting back in bed with Keli and snuggling up to her.

Lutz and Garner interrogate Sally. The client who ran out was one of her regulars, a major fundraiser for the Republican party. She doesn't know what happened to Rachel. When she heard Rachel was taken to the hospital, she left the Polytechnic party to be with her. When she saw her dead, she ran. Lutz tells her that they have enough against her to put her in a cell with street-hardened bitches for five to ten years, so she better give more details. Sally admits that she and Rachel were hired as prostitutes for the party guests. Rachel was with a guy named Martin. Sally says that she was with Martin too, and that's when Garner notices the bite wounds on her neck.

The Polytechnic-Cobalt deal is going well. While the others celebrate with some alcohol, Martin steps aside to send a telepathic message out to Keli. Keli wakes up beside Will and rolls over, climbing on top of him with a scream. She scratches his chest and licks the blood. Noticing her vampiric teeth, Will punches her off of him.

In the interrogation room, Sally is also getting a message from Martin. She starts spasming and falls to the floor. Lutz calls for backup. Sally goes still and officers rush in, carrying her off for medical attention. Lutz tells Garner to call Will.

Will ties an unconscious Keli down to their bed, vowing to get the man who did this to her.

Lutz loads her gun as Garner tries unsuccessfully to get Will on the phone. "Maybe he went out for a bite with his girlfriend." Vontana walks in and tells them that they're confined to their desks. Sally is dead and he wants an explanation. They don't have one. As soon as Vontana walks out, Lutz and Garner leave.

Keli wakes up and starts screaming and writhing, pulling at her restraints.

Will is stalking around the Polytechnic mansion, carrying a piece of wood that's been sharpened into a stake. Lutz and Garner arrive and encounter Will. They believe in vampires now. Will doesn't want their help, he's there to take Martin himself. He doesn't care what they do with the others.

Will enters the mansion. Over a loudspeaker outside, Garner orders everyone inside to come out with their hands up. Kent rushes into the meeting room, freaking out. He knew this was going to happen, they were never going to get away with killing all those women. Kent pulls a gun and rushes back out of the room. A Cobalt man tells Martin to forget about the merger.

Costanza tells Martin that they should go, but Martin tells him to leave him. He's expecting an uninvited guest for dinner.

It's Will vs. Martin as Lutz and Garner lackadaisically handle Martin's cohorts.

This was a pretty enjoyable entry in the Witchcraft franchise, fast-paced and goofy fun. The softcore sex scenes are silly and do nothing for me, but they effectively pass the time.

One version of the case art referred to Witchcraft 7 as "The final chapter", which does make sense. Martin is destroyed and Keli seems to be back to normal in the end, but Will does not survive his battle with Martin. They end up staking each other, and the last time we see Will he's still dead on the floor. Maybe they were trying to end the franchise here. But Will does return.

Will doesn't return in the next film, though. We have to wait until part 9 to find out how he manages to come back from the dead. From the sound of it, part 8 wasn't even supposed to be a Witchcraft movie, it was made as an original film and just had the Witchcraft title added to it later for marketing purposes. Even so, it will still be discussed here in next week's Witching Wednesday.

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