Because Scream Factory has been slowly putting them out on DVD and Blu-Ray over the past couple of years I find that I have been working my way through the film produced by Joe D'Amato's production company Filmirage. Until the past couple of weeks I had no idea that this company had existed but their name popped up at the beginning of METAMORPHOSIS (1989), BEYOND DARKNESS (1990) and now WITCHERY (1988). All of these are terrible horror films but I enjoyed them for various reasons that only lovers of Euro-Trash cinema will fully comprehend. Yeah, they're bad but they have something that makes them entertaining in ways that other movies of their level of quality just can't manage.
Looking at the list of 43 movies produced by Filmirage from 1980 to 1994 I can't help but be shocked at how many of them I have already seen. And looking at the descriptions of the others I just want to dive in and see the rest - now! There is bad horror movie gold in there! I just have to see any film called FRANKENSTEIN 2000 (1992) but I may hold off on the drama DIRTY LOVE (1988). Ah, who am I kidding? Joltin' Joe D'Amato making a film about a young girl seeking fame in the big city? It'll be sleazy madness!
One of the most fun (and often funniest) elements of these European produced flicks is the absolutely terrible acting. Each film usually has one competent actor to anchor the proceedings but they are surrounded by people that seem to have never been in front of a camera before someone yelled action five second ago. Strangely, WITCHERY (1988) a.k.a. LA CASA 4 somehow snagged both David Hasselhoff and Linda Blair at down points in their careers meaning that the movie had at least two people on set with prior acting experience. You may smile at the idea of the Hoff as an actor but trust me, he is the thespian highlight of this silly-ass film. In fact, seeing him in this made me deeply aware of how often we see competent acting and brush it aside because it is the standard in what we watch instead of the exception.
Hasselhoff may seem like a TV hack but when you put him in a film with people that can barely emote it becomes much easier to appreciate the skill he has. I'll never wish he was nominated for an acting award but don't discount what he can bring to a scene to make it seem alive and even believable. On the other hand Linda Blair doesn't add much to the proceedings. She doesn't embarrass herself though even when she goes all frizzy-haired Exorcist crazed near the end.
If you have any affection for Euro-Trash I think you'll get a kick out of the Filmirage movies and I'm glad that so many of them are easily available now. Scream/Shout Factory's releases are very good and any chance to delve deeper into these bizarre productions is welcome. They aren't everyone's cup of tea but if you have any curiosity you can dip a toe in with relatively simple clicks.