Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB
Alternate Title: Hungry Wives
A suburban housewife (Jan White) is plagued by nightmares whose symbolism isn’t too hard to interpret, her husband putting a collar on her and placing her in a cage in some of them, in others there are disturbing images of her stabbing him and still in others she is being attacked by an intruder wearing a devil’s mask. After her friend takes her to meet a self-described witch who reads her future with tarot cards, White becomes interested in the occult, shopping for black candles and cauldrons and beginning to cast spells as a way to deal with her soulless marriage to a husband who is always leaving her at home alone. As her interest progresses, she begins to believe that she is becoming a sorceress but is that true, or is she just finding a fancy way to describe her increasingly unusual behaviour, like having her daughter’s teacher over for mind-blowing sex on the shag rug? George A. Romero often put social concerns into his genre pictures, Night of the Living Dead is about racism and counterculture and his later zombie films would talk about capitalism, here he is jumping on the devil-worship bandwagon created by the popularity of Rosemary’s Baby to discuss the burgeoning ubiquity of the women’s movement in the early seventies. As an examination of a woman trying to define herself in a world that is no longer as anxious to define her by her role as wife and mother, it has its moments and is achieved with strong performances and quite a lot of style (especially given the low budget); as a thriller or horror movie, however, it falls completely flat, moving in repetitive circles that never show the character growing in wisdom or power.