Monday, May 31, 2010

An Age Of Fantasy And Magic

Jack Hill’s final film to date was not a happy experience. Executive producer Roger Corman fired him during post-production of SORCERESS, while shearing nearly 20 minutes out of the movie. Jim Wynorski received full screenplay credit, though Hill claims the entire screenplay is his alone. Hill keeps producer credit with “Brian Stuart,” the Christian names of Hill’s sons, named as the director.

Is SORCERESS worth the fuss? Hill doesn’t think so, but it’s actually a fun little movie with a sense of humor, although many of the laughs are unintentionally earned at the expense of Corman’s cheap special effects. At this point in New World Pictures’ history, Corman was extremely concerned with keeping costs down. In SORCERESS’ case, he shipped the production down to Mexico, and recycled James Horner’s score from BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (not for the first or the last time either). Somehow, though—maybe because of the novelty of starring 27-year-old twin Playmates Lynette and Leigh Harris, who often perform sans clothing—SORCERESS was a relative box-office success upon its 1982 release, though not enough to resuscitate Hill’s career.

A pair of sexy twins named Mira (Leigh Harris) and Mara (Lynette) grow up as boy warriors in the home of a couple who took them in as babies when their mother was murdered by evil ruler Traigon (Roberto Ballesteros). Years later, their adopted family is killed by Traigon’s goons, and it’s vengeance time for the twins, who discover they have breasts and can even feel the sensation when the other sister is having sex. Other characters include a goofy white-bread Deathstalker type, a Viking, a satyr in an amateurish mask, an army of ape slaves, a winged lion, skeleton zombies, and a floating woman’s head that shoots rays out of its eyes.

No, SORCERESS is not a good movie, and certainly one of Hill’s worst. But there does have some humor to go with its mindless action, as well as hot naked twins—always a plus. The story rarely makes any sense. Perhaps it did before Corman let his editors run roughshod over it, but the major plot point of everyone believing the Harris twins to be male really stretches credulity. If you have less than 80 minutes to kill, SORCERESS fits the bill though.


nyrdyv said...

Interesting that there was some recycling of material from Battle Beyond the Stars for the Sorceress. I will have to check out Sorceress, now, as I consider Battle Beyond the Stars a real classic.


Steven G. Willis

Marty McKee said...

Corman is legendary for his recycling. He was still using footage from HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP and DEATHSTALKER as recently as three or four years ago.

Charlie said...

Hi! Love your blog, I'm a B-movie addict and I work in film. I thought I'd share a doc I saw recently - It warmed my heart seeing "Popatopolis" (I saw it in the theater, but the DVD is out: Popatopolis Trailer ). The film covers Jim Wynorski, one of the most prolific B-movie directors of all time, as he shoots his masterpiece The Witches of Breastwick in three days. The despair of the sound guy who has to keep rolling all the time because he never quite knows whether camera is rolling – the line where Jim goes to rent a light kit and asks for something that is good for lighting breasts (and ends up with all of two lights), and the scene where they fake fire in a dark park using flashlights (“we could get a generator, a light, and a permit” “Yeah, that’d be one way to do it”) had me rolling – especially knowing that Wynorski made more money off of this microbudget film than I’ve made off of all the films I’ve made put together. Sort of puts things into perspective.