The Love Witch (2016)


Food: I made some easy homemade tacos for this film. Corn tortillas, black beans, avocado, a dash of salt, shredded cheese and voila! You could also add sour cream and salsa or grape tomatoes.

Film: “The Love Witch” might seem like a lot of things, but it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. This film by Anna Biller is an homage to 1960’s melodramatic paperback erotica, maybe with the flare of 1980’s excellently cheesy horror films. She creates a woozy vintage aesthetic that many liken to a Lana Del Ray music video, calling all the Coachella girls to get into witchy season. Filmed on 35mm, it is an impressively entertaining 2 hour piece that has minimal plot, but somehow does not lose steam.

Samantha Robinson is spell-binding (pun intended) and seductive as Elaine, a beautiful young witch who spends time in her Victorian apartment, ornately filled with her self-portrait paintings, candles, and lots of velour, casting love spells on attractive young men.  Garnished with colorful jewels and a long thick black wig, Elaine goes from place to place desperately searching for a man to love her, but she is consistently unsatisfied with their ability to give her what she wants.

She speaks in bizarre, hypnotic prose about how women need to fulfill a mans fantasy to keep them around. One woman, her neighborly friend, exclaims, “You sound like you’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy!” Elaine saunters around town getting the attention of men, and finding ways to get herself alone with them. However, her spells often backfire, and she finds herself with a weeping, vulnerable love struck sucker, which turns her off immediately. “Who is going to hold me when I cry?” she whines. The sensationalized dialogue is somehow humorous, but sincere.

Leaving a slew of victims in her wave, she gallivants to the next, lunching with friends complaining about another relationship not working out, and spending time with fellow witches at a local burlesque club. There is understated commentary about the desperate search for love, and the misunderstood concept of the idyllic fairy tale ending fed to young women. But mostly, it is a dazed, enchanting horror film that feels hallucinogenic and unique. It may even make one want to don your best satin and fur, vintage pieces and bright red nail polish; adorn yourself in rings and long lashes… and then sit around with your candles and books. ‘Tis the season of the witch!


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