In the tenth entry in the ludicrously long-running Witchcraft series, conflicted warlock Will Spanner does not appear. Fortunately, it’s not because he’s dead again. Instead, it’s just because Will lives in New York and Witchcraft X: Mistress of the Craft takes place in London.
Instead, Witchcraft X focuses on Detective Lucy Lutz (Stephanie Beaton, returning to the role after playing it in the previous film). Focusing on Detective Lutz actually makes sense, just because Stephanie Beaton was one of the better actresses to regularly appear in direct-to-video horror movies and she was also probably the main reason why many people were watching the Witchcraft films to begin with. It certainly wasn’t for the special effects or the plots.
In this film, Detective Lutz has been summoned to London because a cult leader named Hyde (Kerry Knowlton) has been arrested by Interpol. Hyde is wanted for a series of murders in Los Angeles and the London police cannot wait to send him back to the United States where he’ll be executed for sure. (Jokes on them. California has one of the slowest death rows in the country.) But before Hyde can be sent back to L.A., they need to fly Lutz over so she can brief them on Hyde’s crimes. I guess email was still a luxury in 1998.
No sooner has Lutz arrived than a vampire named Raven (Eileen Daly) is breaking Hyde out of custody so that Hyde can help her conduct one of those occult ceremonies that every single Witchcraft film seems to revolve around. Raven has an army of frequently naked female vampires to help her out. Lutz only has Interpol agent Chris Dixon (Sean Harry) and paranormal expert Celeste (Wendy Cooper) to help her out.
I liked that this movie tried to do something different with the franchise without totally abandoning the characters. Even though neither Will nor Garner appears in Witchcraft X, they’re mentioned by Lutz so it’s not like Witchcraft VIII where Will’s existence was totally ignored. Detective Lutz is a good heroine and Stephanie Beaton is an appealing actress. I also liked that the film took place in London and that, like Witchcraft VII, it involved vampires instead of the usual shady warlocks. The dialogue is really clunky, none of the other actors are as good as Beaton, and the film looks like it was shot with a camcorder and then edited by someone using a VCR but that’s pretty much par for course for a Witchcraft film.
It’s easy to imagine the Witchcraft series going forward with just Detective Lutz as the lead character. That didn’t happen, though. Will Spanner would return for Witchcraft XI.