Witchcraft 16: Hollywood Coven (2016, directed by David Palmieri)

The Witchcraft series comes to an end (?), with this the 16th installment in the bizarrely long-lived franchise.

This one is weird, though.  All of the actors from the previous three installments return.  (The final three films were, more or less, shot simultaneously.)  They’re still playing people named Will Spanner, Lucy Lutz, Rose, Sharon, Samuel, and Garner.  But they’re no longer witches and warlocks.  Instead, they are all actors and production associates who are working on the latest Crystal Force movie.  Crystal Force is a long running series of low budget, softcore films about a warlock.  So, basically, this is a film about the making of a Witchcraft movie but, in this universe, Witchcraft is known as Crystal Force.  Got it?  It turns out that the director of this latest Crystal Force film is a Satanist and he needs to complete one of those overly complicated rituals that are so popular in the Witchcraft films (and apparently the Crystal Force films as well).

Once you get beyond the film-within-a-film aspect, it’s a pretty standard Witchcraft plot but the plot really isn’t important.  Instead, Witchcraft 16 is more of a meta commentary on both the Witchcraft franchise and low budget movie making in general.  When the cast gets together, they talk about the indignities of low-budget horror filmmaking and the fact that no one’s career has been made by appearing in a Crystal Force movie.  (When they say that, you can’t help but wonder what has happened to all the other actors who have played Will Spanner over the years.  Hopefully, they didn’t suffer the same fate as some of the actors in Crystal Force.)  This film is really an elaborate in-joke for people who have a nostalgic attachment to the other films in the series.  Witchcraft 16 is not a film that’s meant to be taken seriously.  It’s also not terrible, which is maybe the best thing that you can say about a Witchcraft film.  It looks and sounds cheap but Berna Roberts does what she can with the role of Lutz and the meta joke works a lot better than I think anyone would expect it to.  It’s actually a clever way to to acknowledge that the Witchcraft movies are never going to be critically acclaimed but that they did have a good run and there are certain people who will have fond memories of checking them out from Blockbuster.

Will Spanner gets zapped out of existence during Witchcraft 16 so I guess the franchise has finally come to an end.  Of course, who knows?  There are still warlocks and witches out there so it could be that the world is going to need Will Spanner again someday.  He already came back from the dead once so who knows what the future might hold.


One response to “Witchcraft 16: Hollywood Coven (2016, directed by David Palmieri)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/19/20 — 10/25/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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