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ORSON WELLES, PAMELA FRANKLIN & LEE PURCELL 'NECROMANCY'

Pamela Franklin & Orson Welles in NECROMANCY Year: 1972 Rating: **1/2

Exploitation/Horror b-director Bert I. Gordon definitely knew WHO he had for the Rural Satanic Hippie Cult flick, THE WITCHING actually/originally titled NECROMANCY, but he didn't know enough about WHAT he had in his stellar cast including the legendary Orson Welles as the leader of a colorful coven... 

He's yearning to reanimate his dead son using the lovely, vulnerable, and soul-troubled wife of new couple in town Pamela Franklin, married to passive tagalong Michael Onkean as both are semi-seduced into the realm by one of the few women more insanely gorgeous than Franklin...

Lee Purcell in Necromancy with Orson Welles, Pamela Franklin & Michael Onkean

And while actress Lee Purcell does her best, sometimes surrounded by Satan-loving hippie cohorts, there's not enough for the characters to do but continuously discuss their leader's obsession for the titular black magic that, like its primary inspiration ROSEMARY'S BABY (ironically opening with Franklin delivering a stillborn child), needed far more mystery and mystique for the audience to participate in an active thriller that here's more a bleak chiller...

Yet there's plenty to visually experience, ranging from lovely Los Gatos exteriors, colorfully eccentric interiors, another hot hellion in Sue Bernard and our ingenue Pam Franklin's real life husband, Harvey Jason, who provides most of the exposition that should have been left for poor Orson, collecting another dire paycheck and not even getting the best lines — what's really tragic is that his role could've been played by anyone.

INTERVIEW SELECTION WITH LEE PURCELL FROM NECROMANCY

LEE PURCELL ON ACTING THROUGH NECROMANCY AKA THE WITCHING:  And several other titles was an odd little low-budget movie; I think it was only my second film....

As a very young actress I got to work with another legend – Orson Welles. Since I played Orson’s warlock character’s young witch protégé, I had several scenes with him. His voice was such a thrill to hear. I also made some lifelong friends, Lisa James and Susan Bernard. We were later bridesmaids in Pamela Franklin’s real-life wedding to Harvey Jason.

Lee Purcell and Orson Welles in Necromancy aka The Witching

I remember that Orson had a personal chef on the film set and we, the starving young things, would have to smell the delicious aromas of the fabulous meals he would cook for Orson while we ate our awful brown bag lunches of soggy tuna sandwiches and watched Orson being served Cordon Bleu dishes and fine wines! I also remember suffering a lot from having to “drown” in a polluted pond-over and over. No stunt doubles, just me and the pond scum.., I wondered if I would catch a rare disease.

A bit of trivia is that Michael Ontkean, the hunky guy in NECROMANCY, and dear Sam Melville (Bear in BIG WEDNESDAY) were both in the TV series THE ROOKIES together and I had the pleasure of working with them both. What a small town Hollywood is.


Lee Purcell in Necromancy aka The Witching
Pamela Franklin in Necromancy aka The Witching
Pamela Franklin in Necromancy aka The Witching
Pamela Franklin in Necromancy aka The Witching with Michael Onkean
Pamela Franklin in Necromancy aka The Witching
Lee Purcell in Necromancy aka The Witching
Orson Welles in Necromancy aka The Witching
Pamela Franklin in Necromancy aka The Witching
Harvey Jason in Necromancy aka The Witching
Lee Purcell in Necromancy aka The Witching with Pamela Franklin
Pamela Franklin in Necromancy aka The Witching
Sue Bernard in Necromancy aka The Witching
Credits for Bert I. Gordon's Necromancy
Pamela Franklin in Necromancy aka The Witching
Pamela Franklin in Necromancy aka The Witching
Sue Bernard and Michael Onkean in Necromancy aka The Witching
Orson Welles in Necromancy aka The Witching
Orson Welles in Necromancy aka The Witching
Orson Welles in Necromancy aka The Witching
Large-VHS autographed by Bert I. Gordon
Lee Purcell in Necromancy aka The Witching

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