Synopsis by Cavett Binion
Ulli Lommel's atmospheric chiller opens with a violent prologue in the 17th-century Colonial town of Devonsville, where a trio of local women are accused of witchcraft by the zealous locals and executed in gory fashion by pitchfork-wielding vigilantes. Flash forward to the present, where the arrival of three progressive young women ignites the same superstitious paranoia among the current generation of townsfolk -- who perceive their new visitors' arrival as the culmination of an ages-old curse. The pretty new schoolteacher (Suzanna Love), plagued by ominous visions, consults the local psychiatrist (Donald Pleasence), whose hypnotic regression therapy reveals the true nature of her ancestry -- which finally surfaces when a new group of vigilantes begins the inevitable witch-hunt. Moody and well-photographed (Lommel once studied under legendary German auteur (Rainier Werner Fassbinder), this film tends to cloud its basically feminist theme with some rather exploitative gross-out effects -- particularly the depiction of Pleasence's ancestral curse, which has him constantly digging tiny worms from various parts of his body.
witchhunt [persecution], ancestry, curse, heretic, witch, witchcraft, community, reincarnation, revenge, teacher, demon, demonic-possession, murder