Lost Signals: Winter of the Witch (1969)
A fuchsia f*cked piece of film residing in the bowels of online obscurity.
Remember those magical days when your teacher would be lazy and just show a movie rather than putting any effort into a lesson? My 7th grade Social Studies teacher showed us BRAVEHEART once and it took up three days. Those were the best three days at school since the OJ Trial. Sure, there’s plenty of inaccurate history to take notes on, but all a classroom full of restless kids wanted to see was Mel Gibson get his guts torn out.
Kids in the ‘60s and ‘70s didn’t have it so good. VHS didn’t exist so they were left with whatever educational reel to reel Mr. Bungle felt like showing them. There were some lucky ones, however, who were shown a tripped out short film that now resides in the bowels of online obscurity. WINTER OF THE WITCH is a 23 minute short produced by Parents’ Magazine in 1969. It appears that acid was a popular drug at their office, for WINTER OF THE WITCH is one fuchsia fucked piece of film.
Young Nicky and his single mom move away from the chaos of the city and into a country house that only cost $500. 500 bucks for a huge Victorian house? What could go wrong! While trying to settle into the cobwebs and creaky floors, a disgusting homeless woman appears – I mean, a witch appears. She’s played by Hermione Gingold, whose name you’ll recognize if you’re 150 years old. She explains that she’s lived in the house for centuries and she’s not budging for these two clowns. Instead of checking their city’s squatter law, Nicky and Mom say “fuck it” and let the old bag do her thing in the attic.
Nicky has no friends (bet he smells) so he pals up with the witch. She states that there’s far too much evil in the world for people to be threatened by her anymore. This could easily have led to a moral diatribe against modernity, but instead it leads to the next best thing: blueberry pancakes. Makes perfect sense! The witch cooks up a batch of her “famous” blueberry pancakes and after one bite, Nicky is tripping balls. The pancakes have the same effect on Mom, so she makes the logical decision to open up a pancake house. What the hell is this movie about again?
Lucky for us, the entire mess is available on YouTube. The best part is that it’s narrated by Burgess Meredith. Is WINTER OF THE WITCH a Halloween movie? Not at all. But it’s worth watching once just to say you have.