Season of the Witch aka Hungry Wives aka Jack’s Wife

Season of the Witch 1973

Written and Directed by George A. Romero 

Jan White: Joan Mitchell
Bill Thunhurt: Bill Mitchell
Joedda McClain: Nikki Mitchell
Ray Laine: Gregg Williamson
Ann Muffly: Shirley Randolph
Neil Fisher: Dr. Miller 

This is a little known gem by one of my favorite directors. I am guilty of being more familiar with his genre defining zombie movies, but have recently decided that I need to delve a little deeper into his other artistic endeavors. Pleasingly enough, I ran across Season of the Witch. I more often refer to it as Hungry Wives, Romero’s preferred title.

The movie begins with a dream like sequence that is somewhat confusing. Joan, riding in a car, following a man through the forest, passing herself swinging, carefree with a smile playing at her lips. The car parks, the man getting out and hooking the collar she is suddenly wearing with a leash and leading her from the car to a pen with other dogs. This beginning sequence sets the tone for the entire movie for Joan’s emotions and feelings about her life. Trapped and trained like a well behaved dog afraid of getting swatted with a rolled up newspaper.

Joan is a woman trapped in a domestic life. A not-unattractive middle-aged housewife in upper middle class society. Expected to play bridge, cook, clean and perform other seemingly menial tasks in her mundane and repetitive life. She sees herself in a mirror as a wrinkled and aging hag. She has come to the understanding that she is a woman past her prime, undesireable to men of any age.  In an attempt to cling to her youth and overcome the old woman in her reflection she delves into an extra-marital affair, witchcraft and murder.

The quality of the film itself is poor and the low budget is evident. Even the sound can sometimes be annoying in it’s constant fading in and out. However, the message, story and relatively decent performances given more than make up for it. If you have a little patience and a love for Romero’s vision on just about any given topic then I would recommend giving this film a watch.

Reviewed by April Oldag



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