Witchcraft VI: The Devil's Mistress (1994) Witchcraft VI: The Devilís Mistress/Witchcraft 666 (1994) -*

     The earliest VHS copies of Witchcraft VI: The Devilís Mistress circulated with cover art identifying the film as Witchcraft 666. Later editions abandoned that feeble attempt at cleverness, however, possibly because the masterminds behind the Witchcraft series were looking ahead by then to a time when the franchise might actually include 666 installments. Coming after Witchcraft V: Dance with the Devil, this movie can be seen as a return to form for the series, as it moves what passes for the focus of what passes for the story back to official protagonist Will Spanner. One might also consider it a case of getting back to the roots of the franchise in the sense that Witchcraft VI is much harder to sit through than its immediate predecessor, although it does feature a couple of minimally appealing displays of admirably poor taste.

     Thereís a serial killer stalking Los Angelesó what a surprise. Detectives Lutz (Bikini Med Schoolís Kurt Alan) and Garner (John E. Holiday, who would return as a different character in Witchcraft VIII: Salemís Ghost), the investigators in charge of the case, have made no headway whatsoever, and their superior (whom Iíll call Captain McRude on the grounds that writer/director Julie Davis seems not to have given him a real name) has had it up to here with their lack of results. What another surprise. Meanwhile, we are privy to the activities of a blow-dried, muscle-shirted, stuffed-crotched, Monte Carlo-driving creep who will eventually be identified as Jonathan Renquist (Craig Stepp, of Indecent Behavior II and Play Time). I, however, prefer to call him by the handle I bestowed upon him before his true identity came to lightó hey, Iíve got to get my jollies somewhere, and you take whatever small pleasures you can find in a Witchcraft movie. So the first time we see Bertram Von Studmuffin, heís sitting on the trunk of his Monte Carlo, looking like Godís gift to trashy truckstop women. He, naturally, is the killer Lutz and Garner are doing such a stellar job of hunting, and after a moment or two, he pops open the trunk, removes the dead body of a nude girl, and carries it off to dump it in the woods. Then he goes to a diner to pick up a good-looking blonde. Okay. I havenít been laid in nearly two years, but you know what? Even my slack-assed attempts at seduction have a better chance of real-world success than the ridiculous lines this douchebag feeds his target for the night. Nevertheless, she swallows them hook, line, and sinker. The girl takes Bertram Von Studmuffin back to her house, where he groin-grinds her on the kitchen floor for a bit before shooting her up with some green shit he apparently just happened to have on him. Personally, I donít see how you could hide a syringe in the pockets of those jeans without injecting your own nads by mistake, but old BVS presumably has lots and lots of practice. He then takes the anesthetized girl out to his car, locks her in the trunk, and climbs into the passenger side beside his hitherto unseen girlfriend, Cat (Shannon McLeod, from Necromancer and Seduce Me: Pamela Principle 2). After a short conversation establishing (a) their accompliceship and (b) the vital plot point that itís somehow important that the girl in the trunk be a virgin, the two villains begin sim-fucking with a certain amount of persuasiveness right there in the front seat.

     Back at the police station, Lutz and Garner have finally uncovered something like a clue. Garner notices that all of the dead girls had been found wearing gold crosses around their necks, and that morgue photos of victim #2 reveal a pentagram tattooed on her inner thigh, way up near her groin. A similar tattoo turns up on the body of the third victim as well, and the detectives conclude that the killings are part of some kind of ritual. They, understandably, know little or nothing about the occult themselves, so they have their long-suffering receptionist, Betty (Gale Van Cott), bring them lists of both every ďoccult expertĒ who has ever assisted their department on a case and every spiritualist weirdo with any kind of a rap sheet. The former list is for advisors, the second for suspects. On Bettyís recommendation, Lutz selects divorce lawyer Will Spanner (Jerry Spicer, who played near-invisible bit parts in Liquid Dreams and Alligator II: The Mutation, appearing as a character important enough to get a name for once) as their expert, and he and his partner drop in on Spanner at his home the next morning. They do this just in time to get a good, long ogle at Spannerís towel-clad girlfriend, Keli (Debra Betty, from Caged Heat 3000 and Animal Instincts II), by the way. (Not so youíd notice, since itís a different actress in the part, but this is apparently supposed to be the same woman Spanner was living with in the last movie, which goes some way toward explaining why she later puts up with some behavior that would surely send most peopleís significant others running to the hills.) The detectives want Spanner to come with them to the station and observe the kook parade from behind the interrogation roomís one-way glass. If any of them trip his psychic senses, Will is supposed to let Lutz and Garner know. After a whole day of interviewing comic relief nutjobs, the cops finally bring in Charles Savanti (the aptly named Bryan Nutter), whom Spanner fingers as the man theyíre looking for. With the flamboyantly foppish evil act Savanti puts on, itís hard to imagine how Lutz didnít figure it out for himself. Of course, that doesnít change the fact that the cops still donít have even one piece of real evidence linking Savanti to the crimes.

     Itís awfully convenient, then, that Savanti was as aware of Spanner as Spanner was of him, and that he is conversant with the white warlockís history. Savanti isó and tell me you didnít see this comingó a devil-worshipper who hopes to bring about the apocalypse by means of a ceremony of sacrifice. Both Cat and Bertram Von Studmuffin work for him, but they have as yet failed to procure for Savanti the virgin he requires. Frankly, it seems to me that since Bertram sets up his victims by seducing them, it would save a great deal of time and effort to check the girls for hymens first before whipping out the syringe and going through all the attendant rigmarole, but maybe thereís something Iím missing. Thereís a deadline, too, for if Savanti doesnít perform the sacrifice properly before the total lunar eclipse thatís coming up in a couple of days, then heís blown the whole game. For some reason, Savanti thinks it would be beneficial to win Spanner over to the dark side, and so he sends Cat to him in the guise of a woman who wants to divorce her cheating husband. Cat tells Will to look in on her wayward man at his workplace, the Black Cat strip club, where he tends bar and where he is supposedly conducting an affair with one of the dancers. Needless to say, the ďcheating husbandĒ is really Bertram Von Studmuffin, and the Black Cat is owned by Savanti himself. Bertram slips Will some kind of supernatural mickey in his Scotch, leading to a poorly defined subplot that never will get around to having anything to do with the rest of the movie. The important thing is that enough coincidences will eventually pile up to amount to at least the suggestion of evidence, giving Lutz cause to pay more attention to Savanti than he might have simply on Willís say-so.

     Meanwhile, Savanti has somehow become convinced that Spanner is the key to finding him the virgin he needs. Donít ask me. Cat and Bertram Von Studmuffin initially take that to mean that their master wants them to bring Keli to him, but that doesnít seem terribly likely to me, given that just about the only thing we ever see her do is fuck Will in the bathtub. No, Iím thinking they ought to be looking at Spannerís secretary, Diana (Star Commandís Jennifer Bransford), who came to him fresh out of some stuffy Catholic girlsí school, and whose sole purpose in the film so far has been to argue over the phone with her unseen boyfriend about how sheís not ready to have sex with him yet. I mean, if itís a virgin Savantiís looking forÖ

     About the best thing I can say for Witchcraft VI: The Devilís Mistress is that Jerry Spicer at least bears some physical and vocal resemblance to the departed Charles Solomon, and looks old enough and smart enough that it isnít completely absurd to imagine him running his own law practice. Otherwise, this is just another dreary softcore sex flick dressed up with a pointless and meandering plot about scheming Satanists and incompetent cops. The sex isnít even sexy, although the movie does make a good-faith effort to make up in quantity what it lacks in quality. A bit of research reveals that writer/director Davis has made something of a name for herself subsequently with independent romantic comedies like I Love You, Donít Touch Me! and Amyís Orgasm, but youíd never suspect that she had one iota of talent on the basis of Witchcraft VI. Mostly what we have here is a whole lot of too-tight closeups on the actorsí faces (or other partsÖ), a pile of warmed-over ideas that had already been used to equally little effect in earlier Witchcraft installments, and some of the most miserable dialogue imaginable. Thereís a tiny bit of fun to be had from the atrocious special effects during the eclipse scene, and the hallucination sequence in which Spanner bangs Cat on his desk at Keystone Kops speed surprised an actual cackle out of me (I still havenít figured out whether that was supposed to be funny), but thatís about all we get in the accidental entertainment department. Pretty worthless, all things considered.



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