Burn, Witch, Burn

Filmed on the rugged Cornwall coast (awesome enough, and traditional source of all kinds of mythical-mystical goings on), this low-budget British production, one of the great, little-known thrillers, is the last word on the housewife as witch. Written for the screen by Richard Matheson, the master of horror screenplays responsible for many fine Poe adaptations, Burn, Witch, Burn takes the adage, "Behind every successful man..." away from the kitchen sink to a chilling conclusion: Tansy Taylor (Janet Blair), wife of an English university professor named Norman (Peter Wyngarde), practices witchcraft to further her husband's career. When he discovers the secret of his success, Norman destroys Tansy's instruments of black magic, heedless of her warnings that he has thus left himself vulnerable to evil forces. Which he has indeed. Burn, Witch, Burn was well received, though seldom shown, in the U.S. The New York Times wrote: "Blend(s) lurid conjecture and brisk reality, growing chillier by the minute.... Excellently photographed, and cunningly directed, the incidents gather a pounding, graphic drive that is diabolically teasing. The climax is a nightmarish hair-curler but, we maintain, entirely logical within the context...."

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