Blood Sabbath, 1972
Blood Sabbath (1972) is a sweet love story, in which an ex Vietnam-vet falls in love with a Water-Nymph, loses his soul, drinks blood (at the eponymous “Blood Sabbath”), beheads the local priest, and is run down by Combie Van, but gets the girl before the credits roll.
I am reviewing this film here because Alotta, Queen of Witches, is the Water-Nymph’s rival for the affections of the Vietnam-vet, David. And Alotta and her coven of (usually naked) witches are, emphatically, sexy. But to continue with the back-story: Alotta ensures the success of the crops of the local population. In return they hand over a girl every year; the coven sacrifice the girl’s soul, and she joins the coven. The local “Padre” is in on the arrangement, taking his kick-back in (literally “soul-less”) sexual favours from the witches.
The film starts with David strolling along in the country side with a guitar on his shoulder. Relaxing folk music is playing, a Combie Van passes by, covered in rainbows, astrological symbols; a hippie chick leans out and looks like she is about to hand him a beer, but instead she sprays the beer all over him, and then tears open her blouse and given him a show as the van drives off. Bad hippies!
Later that night, when David is trying to sleep by his camp-fire, the denizens of the Combie are having an orgy. Four naked women decide to pay him a visit and David—the pride of the US Army—runs for his life, eventually falling over in the dark and knocking himself out.
He is revived by the Water Nymph, Yyalah, but the next morning it is all a little unclear to him. He is taken in and fed by a strange bearded man, Lonzo, but David is smitten: he searches for Yyalah, finds her, they look adoringly into each others eyes, walk around hand-in-hand, kiss etc, until Yyalah informs him that he should go away because she has no soul and he must be the same for them to be together.
David does the only sensible thing: asks the local priest how to get rid of his pesky soul. “The Padre” says no, in fact he gets very angry, and yells and gesticulates a lot. He then goes and visits Alotta, who plies him with booze and naked acolytes, but he is still angry and he tells Alotta he has had enough, and all this soul-sacrificing has to stop. As soon as the Padre leave, Alotta makes a Padre pin-cushion (Voodoo-style).
David, meanwhile, still wants rid of his soul, so he asks Lonzo if he can take the place of the latest “sacrifice”; he agrees, David seeks out Alotta to take his soul. As it happens, Alotta has had her eye on David for a while, and already cast a spell to draw him to her, so she she agrees—on the condition he returns to her if the Water Nymph tires of him—then calls up her coven, who dance his soul away. David is ecstatic.
We then have a montage of happy David and Yyalah, followed by the “Blood Sabbath” at which a woman is sacrificed; David drinks the blood of the sacrifice, and returns to Yyalah with blood all over his face. Yyalah runs away, Alotta comes to David and does the sexiest 70s hippy dance you have ever seen, using a glamour to look like Yyalah; then she sends him off to behead the Padre.
Yyalah prepares a potion that breaks Alotta’s spell over David, so Alotta tries to kill him (using her stooge, Lonzo). David kill’s Lonzo, then Alotta, who curses him. The curse takes the form of a possesed Combie—a relative of Christine?—that runs him down. Fortunately, and inexplicably, David either survives or is revived by Yyalah’s magic, and they swim off into the sunset.
Okay, so now you have the whole story, such as it is. Almost everyone dies (David, Alotta, Lonzo, The Padre) or loses their soul (David and Alotta’s coven, Yyalah doesn’t have one to begin with, and The Padre and all the local townsfolk are probably damned too), but the witches are sexy, so it is all good. In one scene we see seven witches plus Alotta but there must be more somewhere; eleven are credited on Imdb. (And assuming the ones we see are eighteen or older, but were about ten when they arrived, then there must be eight under-18s in training). So Alotta is sexy and successful!
Apparently this film was made in ten days during an actor’s strike by “a bunch of pick up people who did it for fun on less than a shoestring … It was an interesting experiment for everybody” according to skipretty, now aged 73, who was involved in making the film. Most of the undifferentiated witches appear on Imdb for this film only (Susan Landis, Samra Harvey, Mary Lind, Felice Darvey, Ramona Timberlake and Francesca Pelli), and those that appear more than once seem to have specialised in soft-porn T&A such as Terror at Orgy Castle (1971) and The Adult Version of Jekyll & Hide (1972) (Jane Louise) or Sexcapade in Mexico (1973) (Lynn Harris, Kathy Hilton and Terri Johnson).
There are a few reviews of this film online (here, here and here) and Imdb has quite a few contributions on it. The interest in the film seems to be largely because Anthony Geary, the nobody who played David, went to make a name in General Hospital (1978–2009). Personally, I am more impressed by the astonishing Dyanne Thorne, who played Alotta, Queen of Witches. Thorne is legendary today for Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975), Ilsa, the Wicked Warden (1977) [a
Jesus Franco film] etc. Blessed with an extraordinary figure (37C-17-33 at age 15, 37D-22-35 at age 40), she also has a fine brain: she has Ph.D. in Comparative religion, is an ordained minister and, according to Wikipedia, conducts scenic outdoor weddings as an alternative to a traditional wedding chapel.
There is no satisfactory DVD of this film. I got my copy from VideoScreams (item L460 here), but it also available from Dvd Source. I suspect both are re-issues of the 2002 Pegasus release (no longer available). Original VHS tapes of the film in good condition are collector’s items and priced accordingly. So, hunt down a copy: not only was 1972, without doubt, the best year for films, but you be a long time looking for a sexier group of witches than the ones above!
UPDATE: 17 March 09: I have corrected the “covenstead” references in the above. Chas S. Clifton (see feedback), who certainly knows better about these things than I do, assures me that this word is used only for a place, not a group of people. I actually thought it could be used for both, but I am happy to defer to Chas.