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Witchcraft VI Reviews

There's little to say about WITCHCRAFT 6 that hasn't already been said of this chintzy but inexplicably long-running series of direct-to-video shockers, except that it contains a few more half-hearted stabs at clever dialogue and possibly the thinnest plot of the bunch. Realizing that recent murders of young women are occult-related, police detective Lutz (Kurt Alan) and his wise-guy partner, Garner (John E. Holiday), call in divorce lawyer William Spanner (Jerry Spicer), who, as a child of witches, has helped the cops with similar cases in the past. Despite his objections ("I deal with dead marriages, not dead women") and those of his girlfriend, Keli (Debra Beatty), William agrees to help. While interviewing suspects, William is unnerved by a mysterious man named Savanti (Bryan Nutter), who in turn senses the occult powers that William has been repressing. It is Savanti who has been sending an underling, Jon (Craig Stepp), to abduct the women for sacrifice; he must provide a virgin for Satan before an impending lunar eclipse, but so far none of the victims has qualified. Savanti sends another minion, the sexy Cat (Shannon Leod), to seduce William, while Jon claims more victims (who continue to prove inappropriate for his purposes). He attempts to abduct Keli, who fights him off with a knife, but Cat kidnaps William's virginal secretary, Diana (Jenny Bransford), and brings her to Savanti's altar in the hills. Savanti kills Jon and then begins the ritual, but William arrives, kills Cat, and rescues Diana; Satan claims Savanti in her place. The story line of this nonsensical sequel could have been tidily fitted into a half-hour anthology piece; as it stands, like the previous entry, the film takes 20 minutes just to introduce its hero, William, and nearly half an hour to get its plot rolling. Instead of developing a narrative, director-co-writer Julie Davis seems content to mark time with distractions like the tedious, unfunny series of caricatured occultists interviewed by the detectives. For their part, the police and their procedural scenes have nothing to do with reality and everything to do with TV cop cliches. The horrors are similarly negligible. Despite the woman director, the emphasis here is on cheap thrills of a sexual kind. The filmmakers probably thought they were being clever by making someone other than Keli the climactic sacrificial victim, but the manner in which minor character Diana is shoehorned into the role of terrorized heroine defuses any possible tension. Not much could have been expected from the actors under the circumstances, though Spicer has a distinct lack of presence; even the villains are boring. It's hard to fathom why this cheap-looking, uninspired series has run so long; perhaps video store buyers and their customers figure that any franchise with this many installments has to have something going for it. But they'd be wrong. (Violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, extreme profanity.)