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  Sorceress Double Bubble Toil And Trouble
Year: 1982
Director: Jack Hill
Stars: Leigh Harris, Lynette Harris, Roberto Nelson, David Millbern, Bruno Rey, Ana De Sade, Roberto Ballesteros, Douglas Sanders, Tony Stevens, Martin LaSalle, Silvia Masters, William Arnold, Teresa Conway, Lucy Jensen, Michael Fountain, Peter Farmer
Genre: Action, Trash, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Some years ago, the evil wizard Traigon (Roberto Ballesteros) was tracking a party through the forests of his kingdom accompanied by his loyal henchmen when they managed to catch up with a young mother who was their quarry. She protested, but he was determined to seize her firstborn child from her arms to act as a sacrifice to his God when there was a snag as he noticed her offspring were twins - so which one was born first? The mother wasn't telling, and that saved both the infants' lives if not her own as Traigon ordered her disembowelled for daring to stand up to him, but just as he turned his attention to the babies who should happen along but the good sorceror Krona (Martin LaSalle)? Just in time to rescue them with his incredible powers!

It was either him or the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi having taken a break from tending to the Beatles, they were practically identical. This was of course one of those productions designed to cash in on the worldwide hit that was Conan the Barbarian, where such producers as Roger Corman set their teams to work on repllcating the formula for Robert E. Howard-esque fantasy and action epics, only on a far lower budget. Sorceress was a shot in Mexico Corman effort, having hired his old cohort Jack Hill to helm it, only once he had wrapped and edited his cut, the producer decided he wanted a different (ie shorter) variation and had it recut. Couple that with Hill's disappointment with the not-so-special effects courtesy of John Carl Buechler, and he took his name off the picture.

Which was a shame, since Hill never worked again as a director, an ignominious end to a stellar career in exploitation movies, and he didn't even get to cast Sid Haig in it either. According to Corman, his version as scripted by Jim Wynorski was one of the biggest hits for his New World studio and he was very pleased with it, though that did not precisely measure up to the audience reaction who would sit fuming that they had wasted their hard earned cash on this low rent pulp, or couldn't believe their luck that they had stumbled upon one of the best comedies of the year. There was no doubt about it - if you approached Sorceress in the correct frame of mind it was fairly consistent in its hilarity, and that's not even factoring in the scene where the laughing gas is unleashed.

Our typically strong Hill leading lady here was actually two leading ladies, a couple of Playboy Playmates called Leigh Harris and Lynette Harris whose unique selling point was that they were identical twins, OK, maybe not that unique while the Collinson sisters were in the world, but it was a novelty nonetheless. What they were not was trained actresses, so they may have been fine for decorative purposes, but when it came to the thespianism they were rather lacking. No matter, appeared to be the order, when things start to flag just have them whip off their clothes, and that's what they did, indeed their first scene saw them starkers if we were under any illusions about why they were hired. Still, they had a lightly endearing quality that amateurism can contain, even if their stunt doubles were absurdly obvious when it came to the action sequences.

But then there was a lot absurd about this, as we catch up with the Harris sisters when they are under the impression they are being trained as fearsome warrior men, a hint that this was not to be taken entirely seriously, which was just as well. Not that you would be laughing much at the intentional jokes as the unintentional farce was far more chucklesome, the material being the sort from any number of Conan knock-offs except none of those imitators had thought to conjure something as preposterous as this. When heroines Mira and Mara see their home destroyed, it's a cue for Traigon (their father, it turns out!) to return and try once again to work out which one is due for sacrifice. The girls wind up as part of a band of warriors including Barbarian Erlick (Roberto Nelson, who gets a worrying scene of potential execution by spike), Viking Valdar (Bruno Rey) and, er, goat man Pando (David Millbern), who bleats constantly and leads a charge of bored sheep and goats for a grand finale featuring a winged lion man. It was that kind of stoopid film. Music distractingly lifted from Battle Beyond the Stars.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Jack Hill  (1933 - )

American writer and director, an expert at exploitation movies. He worked for Roger Corman (Hill was one of the directors of The Terror) before making his own films, beginning with Spider Baby. Come the seventies, he tried "women in prison" (The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage), blaxploitation (Coffy, Foxy Brown) and others (The Swinging Cheerleaders, Switchblade Sisters), but unfortunately his credits petered out in the eighties. He also "discovered" cult favourites Pam Grier and Sid Haig.

 
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