Welcome back to Halloweek! TMP’s annual celebration of all things spooky in the days leading up to Halloween has been extended from four days to seven! Yesterday I shared the ghosts of Horror Half-Weeks past. Today we give Halloweek a proper kick-off with a look at The Love Witch (2016), a comedy inspired by midcentury horror! Stay tuned for more through Tuesday!
“According to experts, men are very fragile.”
Elaine (Samantha Robinson) is a lovely, young witch on the move. After the death of her husband Jerry, she’s leaving town and hoping to start a new life in a Victorian apartment in northern California.
Obsessed with love, Elaine hopes to find the man of her dreams in this new town. She mixes up potions and conducts love spells in her apartment.
But her spells work a little too well — sometimes fatally well. Will Elaine find her love, and even if she does, how many bodies will be left in her wake?
The Love Witch was written and directed by Anna Biller.
One of the most-discussed and most remarkable elements of this film is its aesthetic. From the hair, to the makeup, to the clothes, to Elaine’s car, to the interior design of her apartment, the film is a visual feast.
While it’s certainly worth watching for the aesthetics alone, there’s much more to unpack with The Love Witch. I’ll probably require multiple viewings to truly collect my thoughts on Biller’s exploration of fantasy, relationships, and gender.
The film brings a lot of laughs in its most absurd moments (Wayne rubbing the bra on his face, for example, and Elaine’s narration nonchalantly informing the viewer, “I don’t really mind death! I’ve buried people before”). Had Biller decided to go dark with her homage to the horror and exploitation films of the past, I can see Elaine working equally well as a vampire in a monster movie version of the story!
Between the film’s visual appeal and its script, Biller shows that she has a very distinct voice as a filmmaker and is a genuine multi-talent! I can’t wait to see what else she makes, and to seek out her older work. (She’s announced she’ll be sharing her take on the “Bluebeard” story next, which I’m very excited to see!)
While much credit for the film’s success belongs to Biller, I’ve also got to give props to Samantha Robinson, who is stellar in the role of Elaine — at times dreamy, at times cold, but 100% witchy brilliance.
If you’re a fan of ’60s/’70s horror and have not yet seen The Love Witch, I would highly recommend it!