Witchcraft, Part II: The Temptress (NTSC)
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Details At A Glance
Cast & Crew
|Vista Street Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio
||English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio
||Annoying Product Placement
|Action In or After Credits
After reviewing The
Blair Witch Project, I had one thought on my mind when I saw
the dire cover artwork of this film: at least it cannot be much worse.
I'm sad to tell you that while I wasn't completely wrong, the connotation
of this statement that would lead you to believe this film is any better
is also quite false. Sadly, the only improvement in Witchcraft II:
The Temptress is that there is at least a pretense of production
values contained in this dire effort, and I do place a lot of stress upon
the word pretense. Instead of boring you to death with a summary of the
plot (which comes off as being barely long enough to make an eight-minute
short film, let alone an eighty-eight minute one), I'll quote the blurb
on the back of the cover (without correcting the grammar just so you can
see how bad it is): "The search for Satan's kidnapped heir draws close...
from the depths of hell Satan unleashes his angel of seduction, the sultry
'Delores'. Seduction is the key to his return, until then, anyone who gets
in her way will cast themselves into eternal hell... The final confrontation
against the devil's angel must be fought alone..."
Believe me, it is even worse than it sounds. You
know that a format has truly gained universal acceptance when something
as dire as this is allowed to stain it. From this, we can ascertain that
DVD has officially "made it" as a format.
It would not surprise me to learn that this film was
sourced from a NTSC video cassette source, it looks that bad. While it
is nowhere near as dire as Dune or
The Blair Witch Project,
the fuzziness of the transfer is highly reflective of the non-existent
production values. As it is, the transfer is presented in the aspect ratio
of 1.33:1, or Full Frame, which suggests that this film was originally
shot using home camcorders. The sharpness of this transfer is basically
non-existent, and I have seen old video cassettes from the weekly rental
section look slightly better than this. Shadow detail was distinctly average,
with little or no details discernable in the darker parts of the transfer.
Low-level noise may have been present in the transfer, but the film was
shot with such a soft focus that it is impossible to tell the difference
between film grain and noise. The colour saturation was unbelievably dull,
reflecting the limitations presented by having been shot with NTSC cameras
that probably cost less to put together than the still cameras I own.
MPEG artefacts didn't appear in any obvious areas
like the foreground, although some nighttime scenes appeared to exhibit
some minor macro-blocking in the backgrounds. Some vertical lines occasionally
appeared in the film that may have been the result of MPEG compression,
but they were simply too variable in their appearance to determine the
cause. There was an occasional multi-coloured mark upon the picture that
appeared to be the result of poor compression or a digital drop-out. Film-to-video
artefacts didn't appear in the film simply because there wasn't any process
of transferring this made-for-video effort between a film and a video stage.
Film artefacts consisted of some lens flare, and a nice display of white
marks showing up on the picture every couple of minutes to remind the viewer
that the DVD was sourced from an analogue tape.
There are no subtitles present on the disc, which
is probably just as well.
Matching the dire video transfer is a really horrid
audio transfer - not because of any lack of clarity in the dialogue or
the sound effects, mind you, but because the source material is so bad
that it really should never have made it to our beloved format. The audio
transfer is presented in Linear PCM, with no MPEG or Dolby Digital tracks
present. The end
result of the English dialogue being encoded in Linear
PCM 48/16 with a bitrate of 1536 Kb/s is that the cheesy dialogue and music
are very clear and easy to make out. The dialogue is utterly dire, not
because of the transfer, but because it is so utterly ridiculous and poorly
spoken that it makes The Blair
Witch Project look like The Godfather. The dialogue
could have been written by a ten-year-old, it was so stupid and incoherent.
Surprisingly, audio sync was never a problem at any point in the transfer,
although it was hard to discern lip movements due to the shocking state
of the video. It was somewhat like listening to the Three Stooges arguing
on your desktop through the limited frequency response of the PC speaker.
Finally, an appalling amount of background hiss poured out during the presentation.
The score music by Mirium Cutter was basically
a long stretch of often-repeated synthesiser phrases that were more distracting
from the film than anything else. They were a very major irritation, as
they often made it difficult to understand the speech, although I suppose
that this is a blessing in disguise when you think about how insulting
the dialogue is.
The surround presence of this DVD was non-existent,
with all sounds coming out of the stereo speakers to intrude upon one another.
The surrounds did little more than sit around, yawn, and twiddle their
thumbs for eighty-eight minutes. The subwoofer had some signal directed
to it in order to support the lower end of the soundtrack, but this was
little more than an annoying, indistinct rumble than anything else. It
got so bad that I turned the subwoofer off and allowed it to go and play
cards with the surround channels.
A dire, counter-intuitive, and 4:3 menu. Not the worst
of its kind that I have ever seen, but it comes close.
R4 vs R1
This disc is identical the world over, right down to
the pathetic dialogue. I suppose that if you're going to inflict a load
of garbage upon an audience, you have to do it right and inflict it on
the maximum number of people possible. Another disc that would fit right
in with the Hall Of Shame if not
for the fact that the source material is probably just as dire.
Witchcraft II: The Temptress: hideously
bad film, poor disc.
The video quality is on par with that of a home video.
The audio quality sounds like it was sourced from
a reel-to-reel tape.
The extras are non-existent.
© Dean McIntosh (my
bio sucks... read it anyway)
April 12, 2000.
||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109,
using S-video output
||Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite
input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and
||Built In (Amplifier)
||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back
Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer