Synopsis – A neglected, unhappy suburban housewife gets mixed up in witchcraft with unexpected consequences – Season of the Witch
Director – George A. Romero
Released – 1972
For fans of – The Crazies, The Legend of Hell House, Vampyres
Season of the Witch. George Romero’s first film after the cult success of Night of the Living Dead may not be his most fondly remembered (if it’s remembered at all), however, this wonky low-budget feminist thriller isn’t without its redeeming qualities and succeeds at stopping Romero from being pigeonholed for just his zombie movies.
Other than a few nightmare sequences, this isn’t the film for hardcore horror fans, in fact, Season of the Witch shares more qualities with arthouse exploitative dramas than it does horror movies, which will certainly disappoint some people, though personally, I found this to be one of the more surprising and enjoyable aspects of the piece. And when coupled with performances that are better than one might expect for such an independent, regional production Season of the Witch ends up being a lot more watchable than some reviewers have suggested. It also helped that Romero was confident enough to layer his script with unexpected themes such as promoting self-empowerment, female oppression and the issues affected by different generations.
Now, the film isn’t without faults, you may find yourself regularly checking your watch as the plot slowly rambles along at a subdued pace, not helped by the film’s protagonists lacking charisma seen in other Romero pictures, but if you stick with it and give the movie time to find it’s feet, you can soon start to appreciate Romero indulging his artistic sensibilities though the use of exploitative elements including both female and male nudity, while avoiding the overuse of violence or gore.
Overall, Season of the Witch is one of George Romero’s strangest offerings and somewhat eclipsed by his other works, but remains a fantastic time capsule of an era where powerful women weren’t put front and centre in many genre movies. Luckily Romero understood that gritty, low-budget production is supposed to be where the status quo is challenged and he was prepared to do just that. And while it’s not traditionally scary, there is something weirdly nightmarish about the picture.