Sorceress (1982)

Rating: **
Review Date: 9/21/18
Director: Jack Hill (as Brian Stuart)
Writer: Jim Wynorski
Cast: Leigh Harris, Lynette Harris, Bob Nelson, Ana De Sade

The evil wizard Traigon pledges his first-born child to the gods in exchange for power and immortality. As fate would have it, he sires twin girls (Playboy Playmates Leigh and Lynette Harris), who are rescued by another wizard before he can determine which one was born first. In order to get revenge for the death of their mother, the twins are raised as boys and imbued with fighting prowess and magical powers. Twenty years later, they join a couple of goofy warriors and learn the differences between men and women - namely, boobs. While the girls are fierce warriors, they're also overly naïve and easily fall into Traigon's clutches. When all seems lost, the twins call upon a flying lion who appears in the sky and snarls at a sinister disembodied head. If that weren't enough to satisfy your fantasy cravings, there's also a bleating goat boy and a weird guy in a gorilla suit.

It's a Roger Corman production, so you know right away that it's going to be terrible. The 2-star rating is solely because the lighting and cinematography are a step up from similar low budget fare, and the production actually looks fairly decent. The Harris twins are terrible actors, but it looks like they had fun with the material and they don't seem to mind showing off their breasts. The other actors are equally bad, and Bob Nelson comes across as a poor man's Dennis Quaid. Ana De Sade is the only one who seems to take anything seriously, and she gives a surprisingly solid and convincing performance as a wicked princess. The film was shot in Mexico for budget reasons, and nearly all of the actors are Mexican. As a result, the English ADR is appallingly bad across the board. The visual effects are awful, and the flying lion is downright embarrassing. The only reason it's in the film is because Corman wanted a flying lion in the trailer and on the movie poster in order to boost ticket sales. It has nothing to do at all with the story. The film is also one of at least a half dozen titles that re-uses James Horner's music score from "Battle Beyond The Stars" (1980), which Horner himself ripped off for "The Wrath Of Khan" (1982) and "Krull" (1983). That creates a whole bunch of confusion when you're watching the film.

As is often the case with B-movies, the behind-the-scenes stories are more interesting than the film itself. Reportedly, director Jack Hill had intended to inject a lot of new age religious stuff into the film, and his original cut was over two hours long. It was so awful that Roger Corman cut the film down to less than seventy minutes, and then added fifteen minutes of random filler material to get it back to feature length. It was the last film Hill would direct, and his falling out with Corman was so severe that his directing credit was replaced with a made-up name (Brian Stuart) and his writing credit was given to Jim Wynorski, who came up with the original story, but didn't write the screenplay. The material definitely feels like Wynorski's style, but there's still some debate and contention over who wrote what. And not surprisingly, there's not a single sorceress in the film. It was simply a title that Corman came up with as a result of asking movie-goers what they thought a cool name for a movie would be. Roger Corman was never interested in making good or honest films. His only interest was to make them fast and cheap, and turn a profit. And much to the dismay of movie fans everywhere, he was very successful at it.