“The Love Witch”: Male Gaze The Movie

In 1990 Mike Oldfield released his magnum opus, “Amarok”. An album with just a single, 60-minutes long track specifically designed to stop Oldfield’s nemesis, his publisher Richard Branson (the founder of Virgin empire) from releasing any single to promote the album. The whole otherwise beautiful piece of music is composed in a way to either change completely every two minutes, or to include at seemingly random moments some disturbing noises (like glass breaking, or vacuuming, or brushing the teeth, or just angrily thumping a rat under a carpet, or purposefully dirty chords spelling out FUCK OFF RB in Morse code) – all to make that one, single listener uncomfortable.

I didn’t fully know what I’m getting into with “The Love Witch”, knowing just that there may be some horror (which I’m not a fan of) and some nudity (which I don’t mind that much) in it. I didn’t know what giallo as a trend in cinema means, having seen the original “Suspiria” only recenty. The movie began and I found myself in a weird timeless place of old cars and semi-modern cellphones, occult-theme-decorated houses with kitsch painting of very naked people, pagan rituals, Renaissance fairs and Victorian teahouses. And it was an early woman-to-woman talk in that teahouse that hooked me in this movie so much that I was in for the ride from that moment on. So much that when a used tampon and urine showed up I was not only not disgusted, but actually loudly applauding the audacity of this wonder of a movie.

“Love Witch” is like “Amarok” but instead of music it’s a 60’s style monster sexploitation movie and instead of Richard Branson its men. All the men. Basically, it’s Male Gaze The Movie, the most feminist film I’ve seen since “Mad Max: Fury Road” and the litmus test for assholes. I want to show it to every guy I know and have spent Bad Movies Nights with watching things like “Zombie Strippers” or “Nekromantik” (the truly worst, despicable movie I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing) to observe their reactions and rejoice. Much like how “Amarok” built the hopes of a decent single with a fragment of amazing music only to destroy it after exactly two minutes, “The Love Witch” takes every opportunity of a sexploitative scene – an occult ritual, a burlesque show or any of numerous sex scenes – and distorts it with something deeply disturbing that would utterly spoil any masturbatory material in all but the most depraved of men.

I expected to see some beautiful women, but I didn’t expect them to be that gorgeous (Samantha Robinson in the titular role looks so much like Lana Del Rey), but what surprised me in the movie is the men, and how each and every one of them is so – it just can’t be put differenty – butt-ugly. Unbelievable how opposite of fair the less-fair sex can be… The movie is also horribly acted, but it took me some time to realize how on purpose this terrible acting was.

This weird, weird movie is a must-see for all men and I’m gonna making it a mission to show them.

You can read this and other reviews on my Letterboxd profile.

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